CSCOE taps school volunteers’ expertise in admissions squad

To support increasing enrollment at Catholic grade schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) launched the Admissions Squad last spring.

Under the direction of Annemarie Hansen, CSCOE’s director of enrollment, the goal of the Admissions Squad is to provide schools with training and support in order to effectively market their school to the community and reach more young families who could benefit from a Catholic education.

“We want to help schools tell their stories in a compelling way,” Hansen said.

Since most grade schools don’t have a full-time admissions and marketing professional on staff, CSCOE encouraged schools to find creative ways to make marketing a priority. One idea involved utilizing the best marketing tool a school has: current families.

CSCOE invited principals to nominate a parent representative to the Admissions Squad. Through monthly meetings, CSCOE agreed to train parent liaisons in the best practices of admissions, enrollment and marketing.

At the Admissions Squad meetings, which take place in four regional locations, members also share ideas, ask and discuss questions, and support one another through prayer and camaraderie.
“We are bringing new ideas into the schools,” said Angie Johnson, Admissions Squad representative of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in St. Anthony. Johnson is a
St. Charles alumna and current parent who now works part-time for the school.

According to Hansen, the Admissions Squad provides a united system of schools.

“There are a lot of families out there, so we don’t feel the need to compete.”

Johnson agreed.

“[CSCOE] is so invested in Catholic schools,” she said. “They are bringing Catholic schools together, making our archdiocese stronger.”

CSCOE recently offered grants to Admissions Squad schools that submitted formal enrollment/marketing plans. Forty-nine schools will receive grants this year, with approximately 64 schools participating in the Admissions Squad.

As a grant recipient, St. Charles will use the funds to produce a school video that can be featured at open houses as well as distributed via email and social media. The school also will host a community-wide concert featuring The Okee Dokee Brothers and begin implementing a more consistent approach to enrollment tracking.

Hansen said members of the Admissions Squad inspire her.

“Every day, I am impressed by their support and commitment in using their gifts to help their schools,” she said.

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