Saturday, August 18, 2012

Catholic School Scores Big Enrollment By Eliminating Supply Lists

Yizzeree, SD: Saint Agatha's Elementary school looks like most other Catholic schools: classrooms, desks, chalkboards, READ posters, crucifixes above the doors, kids in plaid uniforms.

They have one more thing that sets them apart from the rest: giddy parents.

"Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how happy that decision made me.  I got down on my knees and started crying," gushed Mary Ellen Yubish, mother of 2nd grader Catherine.  The decision she refers to?  No classroom supply lists.

"We got a lot of flack last year," admitted Principal Sr. Elizabeth Tierney.  "I believe the last straw was when we had parents fighting in the local Walmart over the last yellow 70 pg wide ruled spiral bound notebook.  Or maybe it was when the prepackaged snacks were returned to parents if they had peanuts, gluten, salt, or air in them.  Oh, honestly, it may have been the 3 page single spaced list itself.  I knew I couldn't go through that again, really."

"It was nuts," said beaming St. Aggie dad Kevin Connor.  "We have five kids and it took my wife three days last year to find all these items. I don't expect the teachers to shell out for this stuff, but something had to be done."

What was done was a return to common sense.  The list, Sr. Tierney announced, would be a large notebook, a pen, a pencil, and $20 for glue and construction paper.  Tuition would cover the chalk and markers.  "And once they run out, its done.  Put the marker caps on, kiddos.  You're scratching in the sand if you don't," she said.

Sr. Tierney said the unexpected side effect is the increase in enrollment.  "I had a woman come in here looking like she had been hit by a truck, but she said, no, she'd just been supply list shopping.  She couldn't find pink erasers, and she saw it as a sign to register her kids in Catholics schools.  She said they were all Zen Buddhists but would consider converting if we kept this policy in place," said Sr. Tierney.  She mentioned enrollment had gone up by 26 students since July, a record.

Public schools superintendent Erica Busbee could not be found for comment, although an administrator who wished to remain anonymous quipped, "You wait--they will eventually remember what a fun community-building exercise supplies shopping is and they will come back in droves."


1 comment:

Lisa Simmons said...

As a former Catholic grade school secretary and mother of three of the students, I laughed so hard I cried at this article. I used to TYPE those lists for EVERY SINGLE GRADE!!!
I passed your article along to the principal and her new secretary!!
I now work at the parish supplies...just Holy Cards... :)