At SchoolMint, we have the unique opportunity to witness and document how K-12 schools across the country are using technology to create sustainable futures. In the wake of the 2020 COVID pandemic, student enrollment has continued to decline across every state and county (some by as much as 4%). Public K-12 districts were among the hardest hit, having lost a disproportionately large amount of kindergarten students. That’s why we looked back at 3 public school districts who have reversed negative enrollment trends through positive innovation to create successful enrollment strategies.

Positive Engagement – School of Extended Educational Options 

Like most public schools, the School of Extended Educational Options (SEEO) was forced to move their students into extended distance-learning due to closures in 2020. With a curriculum focused on advanced placement and college preparedness, SEEO needed to extend their management and monitoring of student engagement into the virtual classroom so as to maintain the progress that their students had already made. 

SEEO recognized that strong enrollment strategies focus on more than just getting kids into classrooms. Instead, districts also have to focus on maintaining year-over-year student retention rates. The best way to do that? Keep students actively engaged in their activities.

In order to maintain student engagement in virtual learning, SEEO adopted an integrated behavioral-management software and communication strategy. This program allowed SEEO teachers and administrators to track student progress, reward engaged behavior and communicate with students and families to secure proactive involvement in the learning process.

Technology Integration – San Leandro Unified School District

Long lines and missed opportunities. That was the state of San Leandro Unified School District’s enrollment process, so it’s no surprise that enrollment was suffering and funding was being jeopardized as a result.  2 years later, enrollment-based revenue was up by $4 million and steadily rising. What caused this reversal? San Leandro Unified School District recognized the value that technology could play in creating successful enrollment strategies.

Through the integration of a sophisticated online enrollment platform, San Leandro Unified School District eliminated previous enrollment barriers. By providing access via a phone number instead of just email (as most families owned a smartphone), the district provided broader and more equitable access to the enrollment process. Additionally, the online enrollment platform provided all students and families with access to the same information—including in their own native languages.

As a result, the district was able to quickly reverse their declining enrollment trend. Within the first year of implementation, they successfully increased student enrollment and funding. This funding allowed the district to support greater gains in student achievement and become competitive with other districts.

Data Management – Miami-Dade County

One of the most overlooked, but powerful, enrollment tools that administrators have at their disposal is data. While many districts view data as a cumbersome mess of figures and values, Miami-Dade County saw the powerful role that data aggregation can play in forming comprehensive enrollment strategies.

As the fourth largest school district in the United States, Miami-Dade County schools offer a robust selection of programs to their students. However, with more than 300 programs to choose from, administrators were struggling to manage the enrollment of a large student population in both an equitable and accessible manner.

With help from SchoolMint, Miami-Dade County successfully integrated student data from an existing student information system to pre-fill enrollment applications and save time for both administrators and parents. Additionally, they provided parents and administrators with “Single Sign On” accounts to help reduce the number of username and passwords for pre-existing users. To further support administrators, Miami-Dade County developed customized parent tutorial videos as well as a series of user manuals in both English and Spanish so administrators could reach more families through automated outreach.

The result was that over 300+ programs were seamlessly integrated into one unified data management system, which helped serve over 300,000 public K-12 students.

Combining Solutions For Improved Enrollment Strategies

While the success of each individual enrollment approach is readily apparent, the school districts that experience the most success often utilize a combination of enrollment strategies. 

A combined approach doesn’t have to be a complex endeavor. With the help of a comprehensive technology and service platform, such as SchoolMint’s Strategic Enrollment Management Partnership Program, districts are provided with a full suite of enrollment, marketing and administrative programs that help their schools achieve successful, sustainable growth. To learn more about the benefits of strategic enrollment management, visit our Strategic Enrollment Partnership Program page.

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