Sizing up the Private School Competition: What every school needs to know! #PODCAST

August 20, 2015 Peter Baron

The pressure for private schools to stand out from the competition grows more intense each year.

It’s no longer a question of independent schools crossing applications with other private schools. Now they see increased competition from charter schools, online programs, and low-cost private schools, to name a few. Plus, more parents are taking it upon themselves to build an “educational and extracurricular menu” in an a la carte manner.

SSATB’s new report, Sizing up the Competition: Exploring Educational Choice in Today’s Independent School Market, grew out of the need to understand and respond to these competitive challenges.

In episode 13 of Blackbaud K–12’s Get Connected Podcast, Heather Hoerle, Executive Director, SSATB, joins me to break down the report’s finding and share recommendations for your school.

Written by Jonathan E. Martin (a regular contributor to Blackbaud K–12’s blog), SSATB’s report distilled the competitive landscape and frames it for the private school community to better understand what they’re facing.

More importantly, the report is prescriptive. SSATB makes 11 recommendations on how to adjust/respond to the competition.

In my mind, it’s a must download.

For a breakdown of what we covered during our conversation, make sure to check out the episode notes below.

You have a few listening options. Download the episode, listen to the podcast below or subscribe to our channel on iTunes!

If you’re a fan of the podcast, please do us a favor and rate and review the show on iTunes. Your support is very much appreciated!

Episode notes:

  • Heather Hoerle introduces us to SSATB and it’s evolving mission.
  • Considering that competition is nothing new for private schools, Heather shares what prompted SSATB to dive more deeply into the topic.
  • Heather defines competition as it relates to the report and talks about the methodology used to size up the competition.
  • In the section on Academically Rigorous Schools, SSATB spotlighted Basis Independent Schools. Hear Heather talk about how BASIS has been able to separate their program from their private school competition and some of the main lessons to learn from BASIS’ success.
  • In the section on Deeper Learning Schools, the report profiled High Tech High in San Diego. Heather explores why a parent would choose HTH over an area private school.
  • When the report explored Personalized Learning, AltSchool was the focus. Heather shares what they found in examining AltSchool’s program and approaches to personalized learning.
  • When commenting on AltSchool, Jim McManus from CAIS said, “Today’s parents are looking for an à la carte menu for their children.” Heather talks about what this approach means for private schools and how the competition is responding.
  • The report makes 11 recommendations to schools on how to counter/adapt to the competition. Heather dives into some of her favorite approaches and shares how SSATB developed the recommendations.

About the Author

Peter Baron

Peter Baron is the Chief Member Relations Officer at the Enrollment Management Association. Prior to joining EMA, Peter served as a senior product marketing manager, for Blackbaud K-12. Peter is the founder of edSocialMedia, a community-driven site dedicated to exploring the role of social media in education. He regularly contributes to various online communities and education conferences like NAIS, CASE/NAIS & SSATB to explain the importance of providing modern, user-friendly experiences for school constituents. Peter also serves as a trustee for Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School and is an Executive Committee member of TABS’ North American Boarding School Initiative.

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