Each year, more than 70 percent of families who inquire about enrolling at Harrisburg Academy say they heard about our school through “word of mouth.” That is both a staggering and an exciting statistic. We rely on members of our school community to act as ambassadors – both formally and informally – and we view these ambassadors as a critical link between the school, prospective families, and the broader community in general.
In November 2011, the Admission Office kicked off the inaugural year of the Parent Ambassador Group. Parents volunteer their time to not only learn more about the Academy – and the occasional “insider’s tip” to new and exciting things going on here at the Academy. Ambassadors then share that information, passion, and goodwill to their friends, family, co-workers, and community members. Again, we know from our statistics that most people call the Admissions Office because someone they know has recommended the Academy. In addition, many of our current parents have said how beneficial it was to be able to talk with a current parent during the admission process.
What else might a Parent Ambassador do? Believe it or not – with the Academy’s increased use of social media, blogs, and other electronic communications, just taking a moment each day to visit our Facebook page, read the Spartan Spirit Blog, or follow our Twitter feed (@harrisburgacad) is a great way to engage in the conversation of exciting happenings here at school.
The group currently has over 30 parents and alumni parents involved and looks to grow to over 50 in the coming school year. Dr. Wendy Dean (mother of Austin ’16 and Caleb ’21) enjoys the group as a “forum for discussion of the range of parent experiences at the Academy. This offers parent ambassadors and administrators alike a regular opportunity to proactively raise issues, discuss strategy, and brainstorm ideas” related to recruitment and retention of students and families. Dr. Dean enjoys being part of the group, which is “a ready pool of engaged, accessible parents for the administration to tap into when volunteers, expertise, or targeted opinions are needed.”
The Parent Ambassador Group supports the Admission Office in these efforts to continue to recruit the best and brightest the area has to offer, as well as explaining each of their personal experiences as Academy parents – and why they are proud to be a part of the Academy community. Parent ambassadors have been active in Admission Open Houses, New Parent Dessert Nights, and First Family events, to name a few.
Meetings are typically held monthly, one Friday morning per month, at the Playhouse Café in Lemoyne. Have a free Friday? Are you a member of our alumni community? An alumni parent, perhaps? Or a current parent looking to get more involved? Please contact Jessica Warren in the Admission Office to learn how you can be a part of this exciting initiative.