THE WESLEY SCHOOL
North Hollywood, CA
A co-educational, K-8 school in North Hollywood, California, with a distinctive culture and loyal parents, The Wesley School was at a crossroads. Among the challenging strategic questions to answer: Should the school grow in size and by how much? Should the school expand its existing physical plant and what form should that take? What aspects of the school’s academic, extracurricular and other programs should be expanded, funded and effectively promoted to appeal to current and prospective parents and students? How should the school be positioned competitively in its markets for students? Our job was to help The Wesley School focus and reach consensus about its strategic priorities and plans.
As part of a strategic positioning and marketing study for The Wesley School, our in-depth telephone interviews with prospective parents revealed that the School’s small size and family-like community were both a strength and a weakness. The research also confirmed that as independent school tuition costs had increased so had the expectations of parents about the quality of the academic experience, facilities and other resources the school offered students.
Subsequently, we conducted a campus-wide retreat with faculty and administrators to review the findings, discuss the strategic choices suggested by the research and reach a consensus about the strategic direction and priorities to pursue. The community decided to remain a K-8 school but to expand the size of the lower school from one to two classes per grade, expand the middle school from two to three classes, as well as make significant investments in extracurricular offerings to become more competitive at that level. A benchmarking component of the project that examined other K-8 schools in the Los Angeles area and geo-demographic analysis of markets in Southern California further supported these strategic decisions.
Based on the decisions reached at the community retreat and our strategic marketing recommendations, Wesley’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved these major strategic moves. Now school faculty, administrators and trustees are focused on implementing these priorities and plans.