Extensive website a top promotional tool, says principal
Timmins Trinity Christian School (TTCS) experienced a jump in student numbers at the beginning of the school year, increasing from nine students in June, 2007 to 19 in September.
Principal Dave Jenkinson says the school has had an up-and-down pattern to its enrollment numbers, reaching a student population of 50 at one point and dipping as low as last year’s nine.
“(Our numbers) are probably indicative of where we are as a school in terms of our community,” says Jenkinson, stressing that demographics must be taken into account when looking at the school enrollment issue in general.
He points out that the generation that follows the boomers is just now marrying and having children with some of the offspring beginning kindergarten, a phenomenon that undoubtedly has had an impact on enrollment at both independent and public schools.
“There’s a tendency to interpret demographics as something causal,” says Jenkinson, noting that parents may consider a decline in enrollment to be a reflection on how well a school is doing in terms of its teaching, administration, programming and so on when it may be largely demographics that are responsible for the decrease.
At the same time, he concurs that school activity can have an impact on enrollment. He points to several factors that could be linked to the Timmins school increase this past year.
A major one is prayer, he says. “We had a lot of folks praying for the school.”
Being available and following up with families who express interest in the school has also been key. Jenkinson notes that he always makes a point of responding to requests for information, even throughout the summer when the school might be otherwise closed.
The principal and staff are the active recruiters at TTCS, while the board plays a primarily supportive role.
The school also operates on the philosophy that whether families attend the school should not be contingent on finances.
“Finances should be the last reason a person should not consider Christian education,” says Jenkinson, adding the school makes its rates affordable for all through a tuition assistance fund.
“God has been faithful to take care of those additional needs,” he says.
The school has also launched an extensive website. Jenkinson says it is probably one of the school’s best promotional tools.
The movie clips add a dimension not found in still photographs, says the principal. He strongly encourages all Christian schools to use their website in a promotional sense.