Beginning to reverse declining enrollment trend
St. Thomas Community Christian School is beginning to reverse a years-long trend of enrollment decline and has in fact managed to surpass its enrollment goals for the current school year.
Principal Janet Baird attributes the school’s achievement to several factors.
The willingness of the board to take on the enrollment issue full-throttle was important, she says.
“There was just a strong sense on the part of the board that we really want to see this school work, we want to see it grow,” says Baird. “We think we have a wonderful thing to offer and we knew that just sitting around doing nothing wasn’t going to make that happen.”
Two years ago when Baird took on the role of principal at the school “things were not looking good” in terms of enrollment, she says.
While the school at one point had a student population of 150, its numbers had been in steady decline for years, as has been the experience of the majority of schools, independent and otherwise, across the province.
Her first year Baird and six other school representatives attended an advancement conference for Christian school leaders hosted by the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools.
That event triggered a decision by the group to encourage the board to actively pursue strategic planning for the school.
The board agreed the issue was important enough to look into and they began work with a strategic human resources management company, Future Focus Inc.
The school recruited sponsors to fund the effort.
The development plan of a strategic plan has been key to the school’s subsequent success, says Baird.
But she adds that a faith and trust in God has also been a very significant factor.
“The board is praying board,” she says. “I really do believe there is strong trust in the Lord here, to bless and to really draw the children to this place. There’s just a belief that this is where (students) can meet God in all areas of learning.”
From 2006 to September, 2007 the school’s enrollment jumped from 67 to 84.
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