Ask your questions or leave your comments regarding recruitment/enrollment for high school.
Eric, can you share some more of your strategies regarding recruitment of high school students. I loved the story you shared under the motivation thread and I think it also fits well for those who are looking for ideas around recruitment/enrollment.
I think my history with recruitment started when I was a school social worker. I had relationships with families in the low income housing areas in the community. I knew where young people were and went there looking for them, like the basketball courts in the park. (Without the relationships with families, I’d have seemed pretty creepy.) I’d observe who exhibited leadership skills,maybe not always positively, but they were leading other young people. I’d approach them and say I observed their leadership and ask if they wanted to learn more skills so they could improve their leadership and help the community at the same time. My main competition wasn’t other programs, it was older gang members (who are very good at recruitment - building relationships, sense of belonging, etc…)
I’d do the same with young people who said, “my friends always come to me with their problems”. I’d comment on how they must be well trusted and good listeners, and how would they like training to better handle those situations? If they were interested, they’d be trained as peer conflict mediators and outreach workers by our social worker and the county public health and social services departments.
Also, recruiting the members of the most popular high school band and hip hop groups to music business and event planning programs was huge. They brought in other young people by the 100’s and they learned skills for music careers.
Thank you Eric. I started my career with youth as a Social Worker for a housing authority.
The U of MN Youth Studies program for youth workers is housed in the school of social work.
Recruitment? Meet the students “where they are”! The lunchroom, library, churches, etc….. During lunch periods, see if you can get a few tables in the cafeteria to distribute your information.
Does your program have specific colors? Mine does: Black/White/Red. We choose a specific day called “Gateway Day” where students who were in the program the previous year(s) wear those colors to support and promote our program.
Are you able to hold a program pep rally? how about a ‘Flashmob”? For five years in a row, we held an annual Gateway Academy Flashmob in a different part of the city where our program operates (Yonkers). Onlookers, our students, government officials, everyone was able to spread the word about our program and get our students excited for the program year.
Incentives help! Donations, Donations, DONATIONS!!! We received tablet donations and distributed them to the top 25 students with the highest attendance and overall improvement (grades/behavior)....they loved that! We also were able to get food donations from time to time and surprise the kids with dinner.
We hold an annual Students versus Teachers basketball game that is more regularly attended than our school based sports programs!!! Everyone comes out!!! but…. there’s a catch…. you must be a regular attendee of our program to participate…. needless to say, the kids/staff come out… (it could also be that the students and teachers chide each other a bit as to who will win…)