Welcome to Sabold... The Greatest School on Earth
A few weeks ago and over the course of three days, the second grade team hosted hundreds of visitors at Sabold. The second grade students invited their grandparents into our school to get a very brief overview of what their days are like and what our school is like. Our visitors had the opportunity to see what our cafeteria was like, the hallways, our LMC, and the second grade classrooms. Our visitors stayed for about an hour, so they had a limited opportunity to get a true sense of what our school was like; yet, they did walk away with a picture of our Sabold school. I wondered how our visiting grandparents viewed our school and compared it to the elementary schools they went to a few decades ago.
Over the last few weeks, I have had some interesting conversations about education, educational reform, and the need to promote and defend ourselves even as public agencies such as elementary schools. We provide the service of education, and is important for our consumers to know the quality product they are getting. As agents of these public entities, more than ever before, educators around the country have had to develop some marketing skills so that community members feel good about their local schools. This is not exclusive to any school or district. This is the case everywhere. In an age of accessibility, desires for instant answers, and transparency, organizations are constantly compared to similar entities in close proximity. It is certainly not limited to educational organizations. It happens when we compare cell phones, doctors, restaurants, and anything else we can find on Yelp. It doesn’t matter if we want to be compared to another school, we are... and we will continue to be compared.
Without hesitation, I can admit that I am a competitive person, and I can see the benefit of a competitive world. The competition forces us to resist complacency and strive to be better. When our visiting grandparents settled into their seats in the cafeteria, I had the opportunity to greet them with some opening remarks. I opened with the statement, “Welcome to Sabold… the greatest school on Earth.” The first reason I made this statement is because I mean it. The second reason I said it is because I want our newest Sabold students, our second grade students, to know it. The third reason I said it was because I wanted to sell our grandparents on the fact that this Sabold school, where their most prized posessions on the planet come spend nearly seven hours per day, is the greatest school that they could hope for.
The recent conversations and the Grandparents’ Day “pitch” I made, reminded me of a book I read a few years ago. The book is titled, To Sell is Human, by Daniel Pink. According to Pink, “the purpose of the pitch isn’t necessarily to move others to adopt your idea, it’s to offer something so compelling it begins a conversation.” I thought about the possible conversations that took place when our grandparents left Sabold. Did we "sell" our school well enough to them? Was it a product that they would buy for their grandchildren? Pink says that today there are more opportunities than ever to sell- to get our message out. Yet the traditional elevator metaphor of pitching (the 30 second pitch) is in need of a tune-up.
Pink discusses a variety of pitches such as:
The One Word Pitch- What do you think of when you hear, “search?” I’ll Google it… How about, “priceless?” Pink’s point about the one-word pitch is that our pitch needs clarity.
The Question Pitch- “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Pink suggests that there is power in any pitch that causes one to reflect on their own experiences.
The Pixar Pitch- "Once upon a time____________. Until finally___________." What is the story our school tells? How did our journey begin? More importantly, how does it end?
The Twitter Pitch- The pitch that fits in 140 characters- MacBook Air: “The world’s thinnest notebook.” According to Pink, the Twitter pitch isn’t a replacement for a presentation, but rather an invitation to engage, to take the conversation further. Welcome to Sabold... the greatest school on Earth.
The “pitch” isn’t exclusive to sales. We are all in sales according to Pink, including those of us in education. Last week I was in a class, and someone posed the question, “Could you tell whether or not you would send your child to a school as you walk through the hallways?” The answer should be- You can't judge a book by it's cover; however, the answer is... Probably. I extended this thought a little further and considered how we “sell” our school to visitors. How do we sell Sabold to our students, our parents, or anyone who enters our school? How do we sell it when we aren't even present? How do we sell it even without our words? If someone spent an hour, or ten minutes, or 30 seconds in our school, what would they think of Sabold? What would they see? My vision is simple. I want them to think, “This is Sabold… the greatest school on Earth.” If they do not, then we have work to do.
Here are Some Pictures of How We Sell Sabold:
The Cover to Our Book
Holiday Gift Shop 1-Dec Ends 12/5/14
Home and School Meeting 3 3-Dec Ends 12/3/14
Spirit Day- 5-Dec
Staff Development #5 10-Dec
5th grade Winter Instrumental/Vocal Concert SHS 18-Dec 7:00 @SHS
Holiday Tea 2 & 4 Grades 18-Dec 2nd -9:30 AM 4th -1:30 PM
Holiday Tea 3 & 5 Grades 19-Dec 3rd - 9:30 AM 5th - 1:30 PM
Holiday School Sing-Along 23-Dec 9:15 AM
Winter Recess starts on 24-Dec