System Builders

Parent Systems

 

Parent Systems

Children may be your students, but their parents are your customers and, therefore, the primary source of your revenue and income. For that reason—and many others—you should want them to be involved in the life of your school because that will benefit everyone.

During the last two decades, a growing number of martial arts schools have evolved their structure and operations to be nearly identical to an academic school. Many martial arts businesses have clearly earned the name of “school,” elevating their reputations and integrity throughout their communities.

One of the ways you can help your school develop an even greater reputation is to form a parents organization that is similar to the traditional parent/teacher association affiliated with your local academic schools.

Parents benefit from such an organization because you’ve provided them with an opportunity to be involved in their children’s activities, which is the goal of most modern parents, since work takes so much of their time.

That increased involvement means parents are likely to understand your school, its mission and its value for their children better—and that also benefits you.

Your students benefit from that involvement because their parents will tend to be more supportive and committed to their children’s advancement, making sure they come to class and practice at home. A parents’ organization typically results in a vibrant, active martial arts school where children want to learn—and learn more.

As parents and children benefit from a parents’ organization, you will benefit from an improved retention rate, more upgrades, increased referrals and a greater attendance and participation at your events.

Lesson One: Planning a Parents’ Organization at Your School

You may be one of many MATA members that think a parents’ organization could result in losing control of your school and a variety of challenges you don’t currently face. That could happen…IF you don’t carefully plan and structure your parents’ organization.

When you set boundaries and specifically list the activities in which you would like parents to participate, you have established your authority to control “problem” parents and receive support from the other parents to do so.

In almost all cases, careful planning will eliminate “problem” parents before they can become problems, so the organization and its members can focus on making positive contributions.

Assignment One: Plan Your Parents’ Organization

Start by creating a list of activities in which you would like parents to participate. These could include helping at school events, such as parties, graduations, community involvement projects, demonstration team performances, etc.

Parents can also provide assistance in the marketing of your school: maintaining a prospects’ database, developing relationships with local academic schools and communicating with nearby businesses to propose and manage co-op marketing opportunities.

Next, approach a few parents of your students that you know are already very supportive of your school and its programs and ask them first to review and provide feedback about your plans for a parents’ organization.

Then, invite them to assist you to implement the organization. You may want to ask one of them to act as the temporary secretary, taking notes of your planning meetings and putting the entire plan in writing, which could be distributed to all other parents at your first organization meeting.

Although you could ask these parents to lead the organization, you don’t want to appear as if you are “dictating” who should be the leaders. It’s better to recommend that the entire group of parents that attends the first meeting should have the opportunity to vote for an organization president and other leadership roles.

You can also ask your advisory group of parents to help you devise methods and policies to address problem parents. For example, it’s
better to schedule an individual appointment with a parent who wants to complain during a parents’ organization meeting than allow the meeting to turn negative.

Finally, with the help of your advisory group of parents, plan, schedule and announce your first parents’ organization meeting. Ask these parents to spread the word among the other parents. You can also write a letter to all parents, send them emails, put an announcement on your website, etc.

Download the PDF to view the MATA action checklist.

Download: Parent Systems