Our Kids
Glen Herbert - Editor

Glen Herbert
Editor/Writer, Our Kids Media

September, 2020

“It’s what you cobble together when you try to figure out this current situation,” says Elena Holeton with a knowing chuckle. I had complimented her on the virtual events she was hosting for St. Clements, which are excellent (and they don’t appear cobbled together at all, despite what she says). The events have been very well attended, though as director of admissions, Holeton admits that it’s been a year of adapting, of growing into some new best practices.

That’s of course particularly true around online, appointment marketing. When I ask if the virtual open houses will continue even once COVID is a memory, Holeton’s response is immediate: “Absolutely.” She adds, “I think we're able to reach a whole different set of people. … there's so many circumstances where people aren't necessarily able to come to our building, and so it helps support a whole other segment of our prospective families.” There are fewer barriers, she says, including travel and time. It’s a softer entry point. The audience for these events is larger, and includes families that might not be best served through traditional means.

All of that is true—the needs and the benefits—of the Our Kids Private School Admissions Pathway, set to launch in just under a month’s time. The initial impulse was perhaps reactionary, as was Holeton’s pivot to Zoom tours. It was first an attempt to navigate the current situation. But it quickly became clear that this isn’t a stopgap. It’s a tool that can and will reach new segments of the marketplace, and it will address them in new, unique ways. It’s a third-party setting, a national commons, if a digital one, set between home and school on what amounts to neutral territory. Through it parents will get a better sense of the landscape, a better understanding of the range of offerings. For some—they’re at home with a cup of coffee, say—it’s a more comfortable interface. They’ll meet more people, hear more voices—including those of other parents—speaking more honestly, asking the harder questions, than they would in a school tour or a traditional trade fair. For some families, it will bring new options to their attention. For others, it will confirm that the decision they’ve already made.

Had the pandemic not happened, we likely wouldn’t be talking about virtual events now. But it did and we are. And what we’ve learned is that they have quickly revealed themselves as important tools that schools and families are increasingly comfortable with, and it’s to our benefit to make use of them. COVID-19 will come and go, but virtual events are rightly here to stay.

To learn more about how your school can participate in the Admissions Pathway, please contact your account manager before this Friday, Sep 11.

For more ...

  • Microsoft has proven its commitment to working closely with Canadian educators, particularly around student-centred, student-directed remote learning. The company has made a wealth of resources available to educators, including professional development (such as webinars on the use of Teams offered on September 15 and 29) detailed supports, and family learning tools. All of this is created with the current context in mind, and with an eye to how needs will continue to develop over the coming months. 

  • Many of the laws applicable to publicly funded educational institutions don’t apply to private schools, and yet private schools face many of the same challenges (and some unique ones as well). Osgoode PD’s Education Law Certificate was developed for leadership teams at Canada’s private and independent schools in consultation with legal and industry experts. The curriculum of the certificate was designed to ensure that key areas to an overall comprehensive understanding in education law are mandatory requirements, while also offering the opportunity to supplement that core curriculum with other programs of interest. The Osgoode Certificate in Education Law is a unique opportunity to gain a more complete understanding of education law, including your rights, responsibilities, and the legal requirements expected of private educational institutions. 

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