I can’t believe we’re entering the third week of the fellowship! The time has flown by but so far my experience at Columbus Collegiate Academy has been great. My first week at CCA was mostly comprised of learning the ropes and figuring out my role in the recruitment/student retention process because that is the first objective I will be working on this summer. As I mentioned in my last post, Columbus Collegiate Academy is a free-tuition, public charter middle school with two campuses in Columbus. The first CCA School (located on the east side) opened in 2008 and the second school (located in Franklinton on the west side) opened last year. Both schools are relatively new and despite recognition for their high academic achievements, recruiting and enrolling students is still a main priority. I think most people associate high performing charter schools with a lottery enrollment system. While this is sometimes the case, most new charter schools have to concrete evidence of their academic excellence and gain respect and recognition in the community and among potential students and families; and this takes time. In Ohio, charter schools who have reached their total enrollment capacity thus having more applicants than spots by a certain date, I believe its April 30th, must utilize a lottery system. CCA is in the beginning stages of this process and in just a couple years the Main Campus will mostly likely have more applicants than spots. However until that time, recruiting and enrolling students is a huge priority. Along with CCA’s Student Recruitment Manger, Brett MacAdoo, it is my primary responsibility.
CCA West recently acquired Dana Ave Elementary School in Franklinton and will be moving out of The Boys and Girls Club Westside. This is a very exciting acquisition and will give CCA West much more space and flexibility in a building of their own. This news was recently announced so getting the word out to potential students and parents is crucial.
Daily, Brett and I work on a variety of targeted enrollment strategies to recruit students. The easiest way to access large numbers of students is mailings to every outgoing 5thand 6th grader enrolled in Columbus City Public Schools. CCA has sent over 7,000 letters to students and their families and recipients are regularly calling to make appointments. Almost every day we have families coming in to both campuses to take a short tour, learn more about CCA and have the opportunity to turn in an application. With all the work that Brett has done and recently the work I have contributed too, CCA’s Main campus is utilizing a waitlist for 7th and 8th grade and is getting very close to a waitlist for 6th grade. CCA West still has a little ways to go, but we are getting more interest daily. One of the projects I worked on this week was to go door to door of houses we believed had outgoing 5th graders who previously went to Dana Ave Elementary (which is CCA West as of 7/1). Going door to door in Franklinton was an eye opening experience that I enjoyed very much. I went to about 30 houses in all, of which I got 7 or so leads to follow up with. All in all I think it was a good utilization of a targeted strategy and we will see where these leads go to in the next few weeks!