In April 2018, we reported that the IMS Operating Board and the Administrative Team hired Dr. Rick Newberry, President of Enrollment Catalyst, to assess the enrollment and marketing effort and to develop a plan to grow the school. As part of his process, he conducted focus groups and online surveys that involved parents, faculty and students. We had a high percentage of participation for this process and we are grateful for so many who were willing to give their open and honest input into this study.
The following is an executive summary of the results for Iowa Mennonite School:
- Main Reasons IMS Selected – The top reasons parents said that they chose IMS included our academic program, college preparation, Christian focus and worldview integration, faculty, the Biblical foundation of the school, safety and security of the school environment, small class sizes and the cost.
- Power of Word of Mouth – 54% of the parent survey respondents first heard of IMS through word-of-mouth. The primary ways that parents first learn about IMS is through word-of-mouth and their church (if attending a Mennonite church).
- Overall Satisfaction – The parent respondents are either very satisfied or satisfied with the overall experience at IMS scoring a mean of 4.42 on a 5-point scale. This is a very strong satisfaction score from parents and there were no scores in the dissatisfied categories.
Top 5 Satisfaction Scores
4.36 – Interest of faculty in lives of students
4.33 – Caring and nurturing environment
4.29 – Relationships among students and faculty
4.18 – College placement success
4.16 – Academic programs
4.16 – Academic rigor
4.16 – Communication to parents and students
4.16 – Academic credentials of the faculty
4.16 – Experience of the faculty
There were also some areas of growth and improvement identified in Dr. Newberry’s study. Many of his recommendations revolved around improving communication. Improving communication between the board, administration and parents will be something we focus on this school year. Also communicating with the larger community about the cost and affordability of an education at IMS as well as about who we are as a school will be priority. We will also look into increasing our options for electives, vocational and dual credit classes.
Our goal will be to grow enrollment so that we have up to 40 students per grade. To do that we will need to reach non-Mennonite families as well as families in our community. We will be working with a marketing firm in order to help us with some of these things. The board and administrative team will also be working on developing a vision and strategic plan for the school.
Overall, Dr. Newberry identified seventeen strategies that we will be implementing over the next several months. Some will involve the help of our larger community and we will give more detailed information as we work on those initiatives. We are very excited about the things that Dr. Newberry has laid out in the initiatives and our administrative team has been working with him in weekly coaching meetings over the summer. We hope you join us in this excitement and in the work ahead as we look to grow and improve IMS! Please join us in prayer as we work to follow God’s leading for our school.
Director of Enrollment
Iowa Mennonite School