Retention Tactics and Sample Letter of Intent to Register


  1. Distribute a “Letter of Intent” to re-register for the next school year

An example of a Letter of Intent is available for download in the upper right hand corner of this page. This form is a simple yes or no question and answer form sent home to parents to understand their intent to continue at the school for the next year. There is no fee required.

This task should be completed before December in order to avoid confusion with real re-registration. When completed and returned, a family is considered “pending” registration. This tactic gives a school a fair assessment of which families will be easy to re-enroll and which might take additional effort.

  1. Tiered fees to incent early re-registration

A common myth is that families will not re-register until they know what tuition for the next year will be. Many schools are able to incent families to register early by creating a tiered fee based on the date a family chooses the re-register: the earlier the re-registration, the less expensive the fee.

  1. Tie re-registration to parent-teacher conference

Finding ways to tie re-registration to ongoing events at the school and properly engaging staff can make the Principal’s life easier.

Teachers are the front-line ambassadors of the school and should feel comfortable asking parents to enroll and re-register. Ensure that the faculty has knowledge of re-registration forms and processes. Consider incentivizing teachers who are able to achieve targets in re-registering existing families.

In some schools, grades compete with one another to see which class can completely re-register first.

  1. Recognize the families that re-register on time

Ensure that parents understand their importance in the community and that their re-registration is much appreciated. When a satisfied parent receives a phone call from either the Principal or the teacher of their child, they are likely to communicate that exchange with other parents. If they understand the importance of their investment into the school, they can become passionate and effective advocates for re-registration.

Also producing the names of families that have re-registered early into the newsletter can incent other families to do the same.

  1. Implement “Continuation Grants” from pre-K to Kindergarten to keep the pipeline strong* (It is critical to first analyze the financial stability of this practice at a particular school.)

A continuation grant is a scholarship that is used over the course of multiple years, for example:

A family receives $3,000 to attend the school. $2,000 is put towards their first year’s tuition and $1,000 is allocated to the second year’s tuition.

  1. Step-Up Time
  • Plan to hold step-up days between Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • All students “step up” one grade (8th graders can accompany Pre- K to Kindergarten)
  • Highlight some great activity associated with that grade (e.g.; cursive, using microscopes, or a new specialty class)
  • Make sure there’s a “take home”
  1. Breakfast with the Principal
  • Focus on grades that need it most
  • Be strategic in planning the program – What are parents most interested in learning?
  • Be ready for criticism
  • Have a follow-up plan
  • Group classes when it makes sense
  1. Parent Survey
  • Give your parents a voice and acknowledge their opinions
  • Do it at the same time every year so you have consistent, longitudinal data
  • Report back – here are the 3 things you think we’re doing right; here are the 3 things you think we need to work on (then do it)
  1. Reward word-of-mouth promotion with $$$
  • Ask current families to refer new families; if the new family registers, current family gets $250 off tuition (or some other meaningful financial incentive)
  1. Don’t forget the summer!
  • Stay connected with your registered families:
  • Do an occasional one-call or school reach with purpose
  • Host a fun event- family cook-out, movie night, back to school bingo
  • Have current families act as ambassadors to new families – a win on both sides.