Andrew Trzaska | July 30, 2012
With less than one month until teachers report for training and just over a month until students arrive, the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System board received a progress update from Mosaica Education regarding enrollment efforts.
Mosaica president Gene Eidelman and numerous other players in the school system transition acknowledged earlier this month that a top challenge for reaching its 1,250-student enrollment goal would be to inform parents that their children’s enrollment in Muskegon Heights Public Schools would not automatically transfer to the charter district. Students must be re-enrolled in the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System.
Mosaica reported an enrollment of over 250 students as of last Monday.
Tom Shields of Marketing Resource Group (MRG) in Lansing Michigan, speaking on behalf of Mosaica, expanded on the company’s marketing efforts to spread this message.
Mosaica’s investments include eight billboards, and a series of four-page advertisements in the Muskegon Tribune. Direct mail and robocalls will also be utilized, not just for residents of Muskegon Heights but an additional 3,000 to those with children in surrounding communities. A web site and Facebook presence are already maintained and a Twitter presence for regional vice president Alena Zachery-Ross is in the works. Yard signs are available at the Board of Education building for families and supporters to take and use, and banners are being made for placement on each building.
The number displayed in all marketing material is Mosaica’s centralized call center in Atlanta, which handles Mosaica’s entire enrollment across all schools.
Shields spoke to justify the Mosaica/MRG strategy: “I believe image is everything and I think we need to step it up and let people know that things are better.
Shields stated that Mosaica’s past recruitment experience indicates word-of-mouth referrals are their most successful ways to get new students. Shields asked for community members and Mosaica staff to become advocates for the system.
“We have got to be ambassadors… we have to go out and share what we are doing to help these children.”
Shields also tentatively announced August 11 as the system’s Enrollment Day, a “day of celebration” with a “carnival-like atmosphere” by Shields. Plans for staff, coaches, local businesses and even the marching band are in the works.
Mosaica and board members both spoke to public comments that suggested new plans of attack and criticized decision makers for not getting the word out enough yet.
“Every time we hear concerns, you’ve seen the board and Mosaica respond,” said Alena Zachery-Ross, regional vice president for Mosaica Education, citing yard signs and church visits that happened this past weekend.. “Please continue working with us, because we want what’s best for the students and we’re in this together.”
Board president Arthur Scott echoed Zachery’s comments, saying: “We’re new at this. We’re still learning too.”
Comments from the audience that saw positive response from the board and Mosaica included increased door-to-door campaigns, more specifics in the media about all aspects from athletics to uniforms, and more church visits.