St. Mary’s has embarked on a strategic, comprehensive effort to engage students who have been accepted for admission in the fall – and ideally convince them to come.
A Catholic, co-educational grade 6-12 school in Lynn, St. Mary’s sent out acceptances Feb. 1 to more than 250 students, the majority of whom are currently in the eighth grade. Applications were up about 10 percent from last year.
The 27 accepted students who scored in the top 10 percent on the Catholic school entrance exam have been offered merit scholarships as part of the new St. Mary’s Scholars program.
“We are very excited about the caliber of students who have been accepted to St. Mary’s,” said Grace Cotter Regan, who in her first year as head of school has overseen a significant enhancement in the yield efforts. “We have a great story to tell and we want to make sure our prospective students and their parents hear that story as they make their plans for next year.”
In addition to receiving a traditional acceptance letter, prospective students were sent by e-mail a brief video featuring Regan and five St. Mary’s students. The theme of the video is “I chose St. Mary’s,” with the current students expressing what attracted them to the school and Regan urging accepted students to make the same choice.
The “I chose St. Mary’s” theme has also been used in a radio commercial that is currently airing on Kiss 108, a Boston radio station that is popular with teens and adults. St. Mary’s also has a TV presence this month, with a 30-second commercial airing locally on various national networks through Comcast cable.
“There are no better examples of what St. Mary’s represents than our students,” Regan said. “The ones that participated in the radio and TV commercials make a great case for choosing St. Mary’s.
Those students who come to St. Mary’s will be exposed to several new initiatives that are designed provide them with all the tools to be successful 21st-century learners. Starting in the fall, all St. Mary’s students will be required to have an iPad as part of the school’s Digital Citizenship Initiative.
“We want our students to have access to information and knowledge anytime, anywhere,” said Art Gribbins, Dean of Instructional Technology and Integrated Curriculum. “The iPads will help accomplish that.”
The iPad initiative will also save parents money over time, as many books will be available in e-book format, which will be considerably less expensive than traditional textbooks.
In addition to the courses offered at the school, St. Mary’s students can select from a wide range of courses available through the Virtual High School Collaborative.
Another new feature at St. Mary’s in 2013-14 will be a bus that will pick up students in the morning in Danvers, Peabody and Salem.
“We have heard from current and prospective parents that we need to expand transportation options,” Regan said. “Between the new shuttle bus, public transportation on the MBTA’s commuter rail, carpools and individual parents driving, there is an easy way for everyone who wants to attend St. Mary’s to get here..”
Students have until March 1 to register for the 2013-14 school year.