Responsive Education Solutions is a Texas-based CMO—the largest in the state—with an aggressive expansion plan, reflective of the growth of the CMO market in the charter school industry as a whole. ResponsiveEd developed a growth agenda and recognized the strategic importance of enrollment growth as its source of revenue. Before ResponsiveEd could enroll new students, they first had a major hurdle: how best to recruit students.
“We saw an increase in first day attendance of 24% over the previous year for our Texas College Preparatory Academies who use [PowerSchool Registration]. That is significant. It shows our post-lottery recruitment communication with families over the summer was effective. We implemented those marketing strategies only because we can, now that we have [PowerSchool Registration].”
Project Manager, Responsive Education Solutions
ResponsiveEd sought to implement an online enrollment management system to support its aggressive expansion plans. Although they had the technical resources to build their own enrollment management system, they quickly realized the benefits of outsourcing to a provider with more expertise.
ResponsiveEd sought a leader in the enrollment management industry that could meet their key needs:
In 2014, ResponsiveEd signed with the only provider who matched their requirements for enrollment management: PowerSchool Registration. Robert “Grif” Griffin, Chief Communications Officer for ResponsiveEd, led the enrollment solution provider search process. Grif shared, “We selected [PowerSchool Registration] as our enrollment service provider because we wanted to find a vendor that would become our partner, as we partner with our families. We have found that in [PowerSchool Registration.”
ResponsiveEd hired Phil Skirvin as Project Manager for the enrollment implementation project with PowerSchool Registration, setting goals of boosting recruitment to support their enrollment growth plans and enhancing the family enrollment experience. Together, Phil and PowerSchool analyzed ResponsiveEd’s paper enrollment process, spoke with different departments involved in enrollment, and designed the enhanced enrollment system. Family engagement, ease of use, back-office functionality, and vendor support during the enrollment process were primary focuses throughout the project.
Launched in mid-2014, 7,500 students successfully enrolled in 29 schools, the highest enrollment ever at ResponsiveEd’s Texas College Preparatory Academies. PowerSchool Registration made enrollment simpler for families with its easy-to-use format, document upload capabilities, and conditional SmartForm™ logic to ensure that only relevant questions were asked and all required data was collected.
Better Communication, Data, and Compliance
Recruitment has traditionally been defined as engaging potentially interested families to apply for enrollment before a charter school runs its lottery. However, ResponsiveEd has discovered that recruitment does not stop at the lottery. PowerSchool Registration set up an enrollment system with communication tools and tracking which enabled ResponsiveEd to strategically improve its recruitment, marketing, and first day attendance figures. Phil expanded, “Simplified communications with families in English and Spanish was key as we were able to keep families engaged throughout the summer. [PowerSchool Registration’s] robust toolset plays a big role in identifying who needs to be contacted, when, and for what reason.” Phil and his team used PowerSchool Registration to send families reminders, invite them to events, and follow up with those who still had documents missing over the summer of 2014. They also directed families to Facebook and Twitter to build a social media following—another point of family engagement, contact, and exposure that can help with recruitment, pre- and post-lottery.
PowerSchool Registration reporting provided ResponsiveEd with timely and accurate data that enabled them to improve marketing ROI, target their marketing efforts, and ultimately increase enrollment. “We saw an increase in first day attendance of 24% over the previous year for our Texas College Preparatory Academies who use [PowerSchool Registration]. That is significant. It shows that our post-lottery recruitment communication with families over the summer was very effective. We implemented those marketing strategies only because we can, now that we have [PowerSchool Registration],” explained Phil.
ResponsiveEd continues to focus on recruitment initiatives. “This year we will offer ‘Enrollment Events’ to accommodate families without PCs or Internet access. We see this as an opportunity to engage and welcome families onto our campuses. The enrollment tools that [PowerSchool Registration] provides help us foster relationships with prospective families and advance recruitment efforts,” shared Phil.
Moving to a centralized online enrollment system helped promote a cohesive enrollment workflow across all schools, increasing compliance. Accurate, complete student enrollment data was available to be electronically delivered to ResponsiveEd’s student information system, eliminating an intense two week period of manual data entry, saving extraordinary labor costs and employee stress. Furthermore, PowerSchool Registration’s auto-tagging feature instantly flagged students’ records with ESLs, address changes, at-risk students, missing SSNs, IEPs, 504s, disciplinary issues, legal alerts, and more. This enabled ResponsiveEd to immediately identify students who needed to be contacted; in the past, it took hours to identify them, given the large number of students ResponsiveEd serves. Phil shared, “The back-office functionality and built-in workflow of [PowerSchool Registration] is very dynamic and easy to operate. Over the next couple of years, we will save hundreds of hours in operational costs, realize significant labor cost savings, while improving the quality and timeliness of our enrollment process.”
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