Corona, CA: Corona-Norco school board calls for marketing effort

The Corona-Norco Unified School District needs to do a better job marketing the quality of its schools as more private, charter and even neighboring public school districts try to lure students away, some board members say.

Ontario Christian School and new, nearby schools in the Chino Valley Unified School District have been delivering brochures in Eastvale, depicting public schools there as overcrowded because they are on year-round schedules, Corona-Norco school board member Bill Newberry said.

Newberry said he recently spoke to about 30 people in Eastvale who didn't know that one Corona school, Santiago High, was No. 188 on Newsweek's recent list of best high schools in America; that the district has dual-immersion programs in which students can study English and Spanish; or that the district has a school for students with special needs from preschool to adult, Victress Bower School.

That information is on the district's website, but board member Michell Skipworth said the district needs to send it to parents and the community. She suggested emailed newsletters.

Superintendent Kent Bechler suggested Newberry and Skipworth serve on a marketing committee with staff.

Skipworth said she thinks home schooling, charter schools, private schools and other districts are attracting students from district schools, and getting the state revenue. Based on average daily attendance, that's about $5,200 per student for Corona-Norco.

In 2009, the Alvord Unified School District sent postcards to families in a Riverside neighborhood touting the advantages of Lake Hills Elementary School. Lake Hills attracted new students from private and charter schools, more than covering the cost of its $2,125 marketing campaign, Alvord officials said at the time. They said most students coming from private schools were behind academically when they got to public schools.

Skipworth said she meets parents who home-school their children because they have what she called incorrect perceptions about Corona-Norco schools.

If parents knew about the options and successes within the district, including alternative high schools and magnet schools, they would be less interested when they hear radio commercials about charter schools or decide they can easily take their children to a Chino school on their way to work, Skipworth said.

The district's test scores and graduation rates continue to be better than county and state averages.

About 10 percent more of the students with disabilities are scoring in advanced and proficient on standardized tests. The graduation rate is 92 percent, and more students are meeting admissions requirements for UC and CSU schools, Deputy Superintendent Greg Plutko said.


EastvaleMom said...

We are now going to look for a charter school or home school arrangement for our child because all of the Eastvale Elementary schools are FULL. I was surprised to come across this article about needing to advertise to keep students in their Eastvale schools when we have been fighting to get our child in and can't eventhough we have lived here for 6 years because of overcrowding. They have offered to bus our child over city lines to a Norco school. I did not buy in Eastvale to send my children to Norco.

Frustrated Home Owner

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with EastvaleMom and my family is in the same position. I have been told several different things by the school district and as of this morning was told that my child will not be assigned to a class because there is no room yet they have no idea what school he will go to because all schools in Eastvale are overcrowded. I am just supposed to drop him off in the office on Monday and they will figure things out then. It is hard enough for a 7 year old to leave is friends but then to be shuffled around is worse. Not to mention, friendliness of the school staff is lacking.

I am surprised and disappointed that the author of this article didn't bother to investigate or mention that the schools are so overcrowded children aren't able to attend school in the city.