Friday, October 16, 2009

Niche Marketing

This summer, at the Townie Fair right before Art Fair, one of the local private schools--Ann Arbor Academy-- had a table, with a big picture of a brain. It was part of advertising how their school deals with ADHD kids. I was surprised, but I guess I shouldn't have been. The way that private schools--and charter schools--compete is often by marketing to a specific subset of parents. That is very obvious with private parochial schools like Gabriel Richard High School, but it is sometimes a little less obvious with the charter schools (aka public school academies). Nonetheless, it is there.

Consider: Honey Creek--"The mission of Honey Creek Community School is to provide an education of the whole child emphasizing the integration of thought and experience by centering learning on themes and projects in a multi-age setting."
Consider: Central Academy--"Central Academy also has a strong ELL department that helps newcomers.  The school offers Arabic as a foreign language, a full day kindergarten, advanced classes, and a required dress code."

On the other hand, when a public school district tries some of its own niche marketing: alternative education programs like Community High School, magnet programs, or gifted and talented programs there is often some push-back. 

To me, that is a conundrum, because lots of families are looking for the "niche." People like me.

1 comment:

  1. We definitely need/want more choice in schools. In a society that can choose everything down to the ring tone on their phone, schooling geared at the mainstream masses makes no sense. One of the things that has happened with charter schools is that students are moving from one school system to another -- sometimes multiple times. It is very disruptive. Better to have it under the same umbrella. I know a junior in high school who has switched high schools 4 times trying to find a good fit.