The Advance Testing Fees strategy offers students the opportunity to save on their grading fees by paying them off in advance. If your fee is $40 per exam and a green belt has seven exams to pass before the black belt exam the student will have $280 in total fees. You can offer them the opportunity to pay for them all in advance for a non-refundable discount of up to 50%.
How much of a discount is up to you, but you want to make sure the student understands that this offer is non-refundable. This helps to motivate them to stay in class should they consider quitting.
You may want to limit this offer to certain ranks or clubs such as the Black Belt Club. Or, you may want to target students who have reached or are near your highest drop out rank.
For instance, if you tend to lose students at green belt, getting 50% of their exam fees may actually be more than you would have received if you waiting for the students to test and pay 100% since some of them will drop out and never pay you another fee again.
Also, a student may be leveraged to keep training rather than drop out because he or she has paid the advance testing fees.
An Intent to Promote form, addresses two areas of each student’s life outside of the martial arts. There is a place on the form that must be circled YES or NO by the teacher to indicate if the student is performing satisfactorily and acting with respect at school.
There is another place on the form where parents may evaluate the child’s behavior at home. If a student does not get a YES from the teacher and from their parent(s) then the student wait until the next belt promotion. This gives them time to think about it, and time to correct the problem.
Parents love it. Teachers love it. Children are being held accountable, not just for what happens in the martial arts school, but for his/her behavior and attitude at home and school.
The use of this form has had a remarkable impact on the public perception of our martial arts schools. I couldn’t have imagined the paradigm shift that was going to take place in the minds of teachers as a result of this tool.
Some teachers, who had previously thought we were teaching kids violence, are now recommending our program to parents. Not only because of the Intent to Promote form, but also because of the change they have seen in these young martial artists.
Like many martial arts programs, we get our share of parents who are bringing their children to us hoping to fix their discipline problem(s). These are frequently the same kids who have a rough time getting a YES on the form from their teachers (and sometimes their parents). It gives the teachers and parents a tool. Many kids change their behavior permanently after one three-month waiting period.
What really impresses teachers about martial arts is seeing improvement in the problem student that they have had all year – after they had tried everything they could think of to no avail.
We must receive back every Intent to Promote form, or not promote the student. If we don’t get one back, then how do we know they got it okayed?
Understand, that if we don’t make them wait, and the teacher circled the NO, then we lose credibility. We must follow through. This follow through is what makes the entire Intent to Promote program work.
It’s difficult to raise a disciplined child in today’s environment. That’s why so many frustrated parents are looking to us for help. If we can teach children, in cooperation with parents and teachers, to respect boundaries and authority figures then we have not only done a huge service to that parent, but we have changed a child’s life in a positive and lasting way. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?
We are also doing a teacher appreciation night once per year in the spring, and getting a very high turn out. I think largely because of the awareness created by the Intent to Promote forms.