Continuous Enrollment: Set it and Forget It!
Last year, 95% of eligible Houston Academy families returned to our school for this current year. We tried to make the re-enrollment process as user-friendly as possible, but we weren’t quite satisfied. We challenged ourselves to do better. We wanted to make things even easier for HA families and reward such great school loyalty. And that’s what led to this year’s launch of Continuous Enrollment.
What is Re-Enrollment?
Re-enrollment is an annual data collection process that schools use to update enrollment records of the current student body. This information is used as the school makes plans for the following school year. Basically, the simple question is: “Are you coming back to school next year?” For our leadership team at Houston Academy, we need to know how many students we will have on the first day of school.
Why does Re-Enrollment matter? And why do we go through this every year?
HA leadership does a lot of planning to ensure that we’re prepared to fulfill our mission excellently every year. Until HA families “sign on the line” that they’re coming back each year, we can’t make solid plans for staffing, programs, materials, curriculum and facility usage. We take the stewardship of tuition dollars entrusted to us every year very seriously. We want to invest these tuition dollars wisely so that we can provide the best education possible for our students.
I have no plans to change schools – and almost everybody comes back every year anyway. Can’t I just stay at HA until I notify the school otherwise?
Up until this point, re-enrollment has been an “opt-in” program. We annually ask every family, “Are you coming back?” In a sense, we’ve been penalizing the vast majority of families by forcing you all to go through this process every year. Last year, for instance, we retained 95% of our student body. So EVERYONE had to go through re-enrollment for the sake of the 5% that, for one reason or another, left our school community.
By signing your Continuous Enrollment contract, you will be flipping that script. Rather than an opt-IN annual re-enrollment process, HA’s annual re-enrollment will become an OPT-OUT process. In other words, if you’re coming back after signing your “Continuous Enrollment Contract,” you’ll never have to worry about this again.
So after this year, what will “Re-Enrollment” season look like?
Once all of our families are on the “Continuous Enrollment Program,” the typical re-enrollment season (January through March) will simply be a communication reminder from the Admissions Office informing the families that might be thinking about leaving our school to notify us, in writing, prior to the 1st of April. If last year is any indication, this means that 90+% of HA families will have the convenience of ignoring this message and doing absolutely nothing!
What’s the penalty if I break this contract?
You will have from February 1st until April 1st each year to notify the Houston Academy Admissions office, in writing, that you are opting out of enrollment for the next school year.
If you breach the contract by ending the enrolling of your child after any given April 1st, as to the next school year, you will be contractually obligated to pay the full tuition for the entire next school year.
But what about unique circumstances? I’m planning on keeping my kids at HA until college. What if there are unforeseen plans for my family?
We’ve built flexibility into this contract. So, for major life changes/unique circumstances like moving 50+ miles away from our school, or if HA can no longer meet your child’s educational needs, if we ask your family to leave, or if there is some unforeseen circumstance that our Board of Directors approve, there will be no financial penalty.
So how is “Continuous Enrollment” different from the process we are used to?
Continuous Enrollment is a once-and-for-all process. Once you sign your Continuous Enrollment Contract, you’ll never have to deal with re-enrollment again (unless your family plans change). Again, “Set it, and forget it!” In the event that things do change, you’ll have until the1st of April every year to simply notify the Enrollment Office and face absolutely no penalty.
What will the Continuous Enrollment contract look like?
- I hereby opt into continuous enrollment. This means that my HA students will return to HA every year unless I inform the school otherwise.
- I understand that I have from February 1st to April 1st every year to notify the Houston Academy Admissions Office, in writing, that I am opting out of enrollment for the next school year.
- If I breach this contract by ending the enrolling of my child after any given April 1st, I understand that I will be contractually obligated to pay the full tuition for the entire next school year.
When will this take place?
Continuous Enrollment will start in March of 2018. Contracts are due by the end of April of 2018. We look forward to serving HA families in this way and making the process even more convenient!
What do I get out of this?
Guaranteed placement. With increasing enrollment, we are either at or near waitlists in many of our grades, placement in next year’s class is an increasingly sought after spot. By opting into continuous enrollment, you’ll be locking down that coveted seat for your child until graduation.
Ok great! How do I sign up?
All current Houston Academy families will receive a written contract for the 2018-2019 school year, which includes the continuous enrollment clause agreement. Each new family will receive a written contract for their first year of enrollment, which will also include the continuous enrollment clause agreement.