This fall I have had the pleasure to meet with so many new-to-Baker families, hear their stories and learn how their transition is going. Our new families are a diverse cohort from Chicago, Evanston, Wilmette and surrounding areas, each with their own story about what initially drew them to the school. For those who came to Baker mid-program, there is a common thread of relief at ‘having their child back.’ One parent told me, “I am enjoying watching as the full potential of my child is now emerging.”
There is an interesting framework that independent schools are using to think about the reasons why families choose a school, and it comes from a framework initially introduced in the Harvard Business Review, the Jobs to be Done framework. The basic premise is that parents “hire” a school to do a particular job, and consequently, they “fire” a school if their particular job isn’t being done. Research through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) highlights four main jobs that parents hire schools to perform:
Job #1: When a school is failing my child, either academically or by not providing a safe learning environment, help me find a school that will address those obstacles so that I can ensure that my child will not fall further behind and will eventually thrive in school.
Job #2: When I have a child who is intelligent and emotionally mature, help me find a school that will ensure my child’s continued growth so he or she will fulfill his or her potential, mature, and be prepared for college.
Job #3: When a school is focused almost solely on test scores and academic curriculum, help me find a school that will focus on my child’s social and emotional development, so I can be sure that my child will be a well-rounded and productive member of society.
Job #4: When my child has talents that must be cultivated and I have a select set of acceptable colleges, help me find a school with an excellent academic program and outstanding reputation so I can ensure that my child gets into one of the select set of schools and fulfills his or her potential.
What is your story for coming to Baker and how has it made a difference in the lives of your children? I’m also curious about which of the four Jobs to Be Done resonates most with your reasons for choosing the school. Please share your story with us! You can email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org, Director of Communications & Admissions Outreach, and also let her know if you would be willing to share it with a prospective family.
In this season of giving and receiving, I hope that you have found joy in both during your time at Baker. I am grateful for all of the many ways each of you give – to the profound culture of community and to experiences that deepen our children’s learning.