Dunbar High School Marketing Campaign Hits the Mark

Dorothy Rowley | 8/30/2012, 11:58 a.m.

Currently, DCPS has an enrollment of 43,000 students - a decline of several thousand pupils over the past two years. Nevertheless, Nadir like his Dunbar colleagues remains optimistic.

"We're living in a very exciting time where there's a lot of reform going on and we're making a lot of gains locally - at Dunbar and across the city," Nadir said. "On the other hand, we're competing for students, but a little competition never hurt anybody. It's just getting back to what the public school has to offer to neighborhood kids who can still go to the school across the street, get a stellar education and move on to a good future - whether it be in college or the workforce."

Audrey Williams, spokeswoman for the D.C. Charter School Board, acknowledged the competition the charters face. But she said it's been a common practice for the individual schools to launch their own marketing campaigns.

"Our role is strictly oversight. We authorize schools, so there are no marketing strategies initiated by us," said Williams. "The board does no marketing at all" for its 57 schools that are spread out among 100 campuses - and which during the 2011-12 academic year, enrolled 31,500 students.

"The only thing that we advertise is our recruitment expo, where we invite parents to come and see what's going on at all the schools," Williams said. "Otherwise, each school is responsible for marketing their own programs."

Meanwhile, Nadir added that there will be more such advertisements centered around Dunbar, especially as the student body continues to grow.

"Right now, we have a waiting list so long that people are fighting to get in the door," he said.