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Founder's Source - May 2013

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MAY 15, 2013
Teacher and Student

When Parents Choose, Anything is Possible     

Unfortunately, there is no text book for new charter schools on how to best market themselves and recruit students. And each school is unique in itself that often times, one size does not fit all.

Don't reinvent the wheel. There are many people across the country that start new charter schools each year. Find out who is successful and what techniques they are using. There are discussion groups you can join on blogs and social networks, such as LinkedIn, where people connect and share ideas.

Research conducted by The Berline Group indicates that in the southeastern MI market, printed mail and postcards can be ineffective, where TV and radio can be one of the most effective methods for engaging the community right after your door-to-door engagement activities. The key to all of these techniques is how you message your school at the end of the day. Your message should be a succinct yet powerful statement that parents and students easily understand what makes your school unique from your competitors and briefly describes what you will implement within your program to accomplish this.

Another effective approach to market your new school, (once you receive your school code and building code) is MAPSA's new parent engagement website. The website is an enhanced benefit that is now included with MAPSA membership for operational schools. Schools will be given a profile on the new website which will offer many exciting and enhanced features, such as allowing parents to search by focus area, grade levels served, location, enrollment, etc. The website is designed to be simple and user-friendly, and will also feature a mobile version for parents to quickly access on their mobile devices. Empowering parents with the tagline; "When parents choose, anything is possible," the site has had over 1,000 visits just in it's first week of operation. Parents are encouraged to look beyond their neighborhood traditional school, and find one that meets the needs of their child.

The goal of the new site is to educate and empower parents and drive interest in charter schools, ultimately resulting in increased enrollment for you, our member schools!

FAQ's about Starting a Charter School


What is the difference between being authorized by a school district or a university authorizer?
The primary difference is that being authorized by a local or intermediate school district is that you can only serve students who reside within the districts geographic region in addition to taking advantage of school of choice for those out of district. If you are authorized by a university, you have no geographic restriction other than the state of Michigan. Traditionally schools that are authorized by districts are specialized schools that would not compete for students, whereas university authorizers pretty much authorize any type of charter.

The best advice that can be given for those who are shopping around for an authorizer is to do your research. If you are looking at current authorizers, research who is currently in their portfolio and how they perform. You may also want to look into what services or support the authorizer has traditionally offered to it's schools. Most authorizers have a separate website in which you can find information on. You can apply to more than one authorizer, however, make sure they are organizations and boards that buy-in to and support your mission and vision of your school.

  Inspirational Video of the Month

Recently, PBS hosted a Ted Talk on Education. The inspirational keynotes provided thought-provoking ideas surrounding education in our nation today. Hosted by John Legend and featuring some of the most recognizable names in education reform, the event was no doubt, motivational and reaffirming for those who are in the education reform business.
One highlighted keynote, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, spoke about how grit is a predictor of success. What is grit? Find out in her TED Talk, in which Duckworth explains that grit is a better indicator of personal  success than IQ, family income and other factors. Click here to take the grit test.

Click here to view the video.

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School Marketing
Inspirational Video


May 22
Founder's Forum

June 19
Charter Connection Welcome Event

July 16

Grant Writing Workshop

August 19
Walton Startup Grant Due

October 10 & 11
Walton Interviews

Nov 4 & 5
16th Annual MI Charter Schools Conference



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