Promoting Your Program!
Promoting Your Program!
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Promoting a Program

Congratulations! You’ve decided to go for it and make your students some of the luckiest kids around by offering them the experience of a lifetime. If you are a new program leader your next question is probably how to get kids excited and signed up for the program. No worries, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Read below for all you need to know to promote your program successfully. For a fun way to earn a free t-shirt, take our Promo 101 Quiz once you’ve finished reading.

 

Getting Support from your School Administration:

 

Every school has different requirements for a teacher that wishes to offer an outside learning program. Often it’s as simple as informing your principal, other times it requires board approval. Regardless, Scholastic Expeditions can help you with any presentations to your administration should you desire it. We can even attend board meetings when able, in order to represent our organization and field any questions you may be unsure of how to answer. 

 

Over the years we’ve seen a change in many public school district attitudes from very supportive to a more hands-off stance. Although every educator, including administrators, recognizes the amazing educational opportunities these programs provide, they often pose some restrictions on when travel can happen. As a result of today’s litigious society, and the dependence on Average Daily Attendance funds, school districts have to protect themselves from any potential liability and resist anything that limits their funding. Don’t let this hold you back though!  School districts almost always support these programs when they happen outside of school time. This is considered “Non-School Sponsored.”

 

Although how you promote to your school is dependent upon your school’s culture and rules, there are three basic components to a successful promotion:

 

  1. Inviting/informing your students
  2. Having a parent info night where the parents come with their students to learn about the benefits of the program,
  3. Getting the students signed up and registered.

 

Inviting/Informing your students:

 

Once you’ve defined who you are opening your trip to, it’s best to spend five or ten minutes during class passing out the information letters and parent meeting fliers. If you are opening the trip to all students in a grade level, you may ask a colleague or two to either present the information for you, or allow you to visit the class for five or ten minutes. If available, SchoolLoop and e-mail communication to parents are also critical and successful methods to getting the word out. Some teachers find additional lunch time meetings for interested students to be beneficial.

Depending on your students, some may be worried about cost. As you announce the program, encourage them not to get “sticker shock”. With planning, earning the money is very doable when students put their minds to it and help is at hand. Please see the “Fundraising” section for fundraising ideas.

 

Your Program Rep will furnish you with customized materials including an Info Sheet, Parent Meeting Flyers, Posters, etc, so no additional time or work on your part will be needed. You may also wish to show our promotional video/picture slideshow to help give your students a visual example of what they will experience on their trip.

 

Having a parent info night:

 

For best results, schedule your parent info night on evenings that are free of other school events. History shows that Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays typically work best with a start time of between 6 and 7. Your Program Representative will attend your meeting to field all questions, including those regarding the trip’s educational component, safety and security, and strategies on affording the program.

 

Scholastic Expeditions is committed to helping all students experience this program and to that end will happily help coach any interested parties on fundraisers. In fact, a common time to discuss fundraising is after the regular parent meeting concludes.

 

The parent night is also a great time to show pictures or other prepared materials on Costa Rica. Your Program Rep can also offer customized suggestions on promoting to your students, specific to their age and interests.

 

Getting students signed up:

 

In order to solidify your trip and allow Scholastic Expeditions to keep costs down for your program, it is important to get students signed up and registered early.

 

There is no risk to register. Should not enough students register, all monies will be returned. However, registering early allows Scholastic Expeditions to provide the best possible experience for your traveling students. Teachers should set the expectation that interested parties should register within a week of the parent meeting and it is not uncommon to have many students register at the parent meeting. What is critical is to not allow the attitude of “wait and see” undermine your trip’s momentum. Reminding your students (and parents) often of deadlines will increase your chances of a successful first year.  The first year is always the hardest, for the simple fact that after the first trip concludes, the buzz will be enough to generate interest for the next!  And the next!!

 

Scholastic Expeditions is happy to work out payment plans that work for each family. Teachers can track all payment statuses of participants by clicking “Manage Your Account” in the upper right hand corner of the website. We are constantly adding functionality to help teachers manage and promote their trip, so please explore and check back often.

 

If students do not register at the parent meeting, please explain that it is a two-part process. They must first register their information online, then immediately follow up by making a $250 registration deposit before registration is complete.

 

Once students are registered all the hard work is done and it’s time to get excited about the trip! If your school bans any and all promotion at school, do not give up. Please contact your Program Rep for successful workarounds.