Parent Ambassadors support Catholic school recruitment

Parent Ambassadors support Catholic school recruitment
Maria Ippolito, director of School Marketing and Communications for the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago, leads a workshop to over 50 Diocesan elementary school principals, advancement directors and parents about the archdiocese’s highly successful Parent Ambassador Program.  The morning-long event sponsored by the Office of Catholic Schools was held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Regional School in Berlin.

Maria Ippolito, director of School Marketing and Communications for the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago, leads a workshop to over 50 Diocesan elementary school principals, advancement directors and parents about the archdiocese’s highly successful Parent Ambassador Program. The morning-long event sponsored by the Office of Catholic Schools was held at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Regional School in Berlin.

Catholic schools have a powerful story to tell parents of prospective students. And who better to share their testimony than a parent of a current student.

At the Archdiocese of Chicago over 75 schools have started Parent Ambassador Programs since 2010. “These programs have contributed to three consecutive years where over half of all elementary school enrollments have become stable or are growing,” said Maria Ippolito, director of School Marketing and Communications for the archdiocese.

That was not always the case when they were losing 3,000 to 5,000 students each year. Currently Pre-K and K enrollments there have increased 12 percent and retention rates in the elementary schools are exceeding 97 percent.

Parent Ambassador Programs are designed to increase enrollment at Catholic elementary schools by using the power that parents of current students provide. Parent Ambassadors are a valuable resource and become part of the schools’ recruitment team.

Parents volunteer a few hours per month depending on their availability. They support enrollment at their school as they build relationships with parents of prospective students. For example, they may give school tours, distribute flyers in the community or help promote registration activities at the school.

Most of all parents have fun as they communicate their values and experiences providing testimonials to the value of a Catholic school.

Ippolito guided the participants through the activities and strategies needed to start a Parent Ambassador Program. They developed communications about the program, planned a “kick off” session and identified ambassador training. Nancy Dixon, advancement director from St. Vincent de Paul Regional School in Mays Landing summed it up saying, “The workshop gave us lots of great ideas and a helpful plan to put it all together.”

For more information or if you are interested in participating as a Parent Ambassador at your child’s elementary school, contact the school’s principal or advancement director.

Rosemary Schamp is School Business and Enrollment Support Specialist, Office of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Camden.

Categories: Catholic School News

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