Lewis Carney and Lauren Keates , students in the master's in business analysis program, were featured in a Jan. 27 Arlington Catholic Herald story about how they are assisting Diocese of Arlington schools improve their marketing plans.   See the article below.

Two Catholic U. grad students guide local educators in marketing concepts

From: Arlington Catholic Herald Date: Jan. 27, 2011 A uthor: Dave Borowski

It may take more than a brochure and an open house to get parents to pay money to educate their children in a country known for free education.

Two graduate students from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., are helping the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools evaluate school marketing plans and, if necessary, make them more effective.

Lauren Keates and Lewis Carney began their internship in September. They've visited 19 schools so far and will visit all 38 elementary schools before they finish the project in the spring.

They have a specific goal in mind for the schools.

"We're focusing on recruitment and retention," said Carney.

The students are in the office at the Chancery in Arlington or out visiting schools four days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Their afternoons and evenings are spent in class satisfying requirements for their master's in business analysis.

Although many schools already have a marketing plan, Keates said, he and Carney bring "a fresh pair of eyes" to the effort.

When they started their efforts last year, they sent an e-mail inviting schools to participate.

They start with a survey, asking the principal and the marketing director about target enrollments, current methods of enrollment and recruitment, and school image. When the survey is complete, they set up a meeting with the principal and director of marketing to discuss the results and take a tour of the school. They prepare a report from the data and make recommendations on how to achieve marketing goals.

Keates said they look at strategies that have been successful in other organizations and try to incorporate them into the unique character of a school.

These strategies are often at low or no cost.

Keates said that there are a lot of little things that can be done to improve recruiting and retention, like better communication through newsletters and regular meetings with principals.

After visiting many diocesan schools, both Keates and Carney are impressed with the quality.

"We have a lot of top-flight schools," said Carney.

Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Bernadette McManigal, superintendent of schools, believes that the effort by the interns will help keep the schools functioning at a high level.

"We want to help each school to assess where they are in their (marketing efforts) and to provide concrete suggestions on how to move forward," said Sister Bernadette, who added that feedback from the schools has been positive. The two interns are making an impact.

"What a tremendous help they have been," she said, adding that they are very astute.

Linda Lacot, principal of St. Charles School in Arlington, said the study was very helpful.

"They did a good job of analyzing our current (marketing) process and gave us templates to help us with our marketing strategy," she said.

Lacot said St. Charles is modifying their marketing tools using suggestions made by Keates and Carney. The new materials will be on display at a St. Charles open house during Catholic Schools Week.

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