Bonding With Your New Families Over the Summer

Vol. 11 No. 8


Just because an enrollment contract is signed doesn’t mean that the student will attend the coming school year. A lot can happen over the summer months, including families simply feeling disconnected from your mission—especially new families.

It’s vital that you continue to bond with families over the summer break. When you stay in communication with newly enrolled families (as well as your existing families), they are less likely to second-guess their decision.

Summer Bonding Checklist

  • Get new families entered into your database. You should be able to target them not only school-wide, by division, and by grade levels, but specifically as newcomers. They should receive a welcoming letter from the child’s teacher, publications like your parent newsletter and school magazine, and information crafted just for them. Make sure to include as many outlets as possible in your welcoming letter—class blog URL, social sites, photo galleries, etc.—that they can explore.
  • Send summer program information. Taking a class would strengthen the connection between the new student and your school. Point out summer offerings that match the student’s interests.
  • Hold activities during the summer months that put small groups of returning and new students together. Grade-level or division picnics or cookouts, with plenty of get-acquainted activities, give them a chance to bond.
  • Get a head start on “little brother/sister” or “buddy” relationships. E-mail makes it easy, even if students are coming from other states or countries. New students feel more confident when they know there will be a friendly face in the crowd. And, of course social media has opened all sorts of new possibilities for classmate connections.
  • Invite new students to participate in tryouts for band, sports, and other fall activities. Knowing they are already part of a group that shares their interests eases the transition.
  • For parents: Introduce them to faculty, the Management Team, Trustees, and Parent Association officers. These leaders, as they chat and answer questions, can help validate and reinforce new parents’ decision to choose your school.
  • For students: Have your Admission Committee, student government, and school leaders plan sessions on traditions, expectations, rules, and policies. Schedule activities that get students working together, such as creating class mottos or themes, or planning the fall trip. Your goal is for these newcomers to begin vacation as one of your students—rather than being lost in limbo between two schools.

Additional ISM articles of interest
ISM Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 11 No. 6 Exit Interviews and Attrition Surveys
ISM research 2012 ISM Re-Enrollment Survey: Analysis of Results

Additional ISM articles of interest for Gold Consortium members
I&P Vol. 38 No. 6 Seven Strategies for Fighting Summer Attrition
I&P Vol. 33 No. 5 Parent Relations in the Pre-enrollment Period

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