How did a 120-student school in St. Paul, Minnesota, rip through a stagnant enrollment level to reach 200 students in under nine months?

❌ Challenges

  1. Overcrowded & saturated market.
  2. Families are moving out of the neighborhood due to changing financials.
  3. Wrong perceptions: their programs are not considered rigorous enough.
  4. They only go through 5th grade.


✅ Opportunities

  1. Public school families are looking for alternatives.
  2. Their focus on a safe & nurturing environment has given them an edge during the covid outbreak. They were seen as a trusted solution in these challenging times.
  3. Their small size, adaptability, and openness allow them to be on the cutting edge of educational programs and curriculum compared to larger schools.

Never before have we had so many schools out there.
The barrier to starting a new school has never been lower.

You'd think with so many schools sprouting up left and right, school leaders would pay attention to differentiating themselves.

Curiously, not so much.

Most schools have a massive 'sameness' problem.
Sameness is the combined effect of schools being too similar in their offers, poorly differentiated branding, and indistinct communication.

Most schools also think that incremental curriculum improvements will help them stand out (i.e., "we offer PBL and they don't").


But this school was different. The leadership wanted to capture and own a specific segment of the elementary school market.

Their thinking was clear and crisp.
They were committed to taking it all the way.

We set out to design a narrative that would position the school as the most diverse, inclusive, and transformative Catholic school for PK-5 students in the neighborhood.

We created pocket-sized stories to make an emotional connection with the families in the neighborhood.

The stories revolved around the principal's internal monologues, as she stressed over how to provide a safe environment while ensuring academic excellence.

Here's one:

The Principal lies awake at night.
"It’s not our students' safety that really worries me.
With our committed team, our safety plan is more robust than boarding a plane.
But I wonder if I have done everything I possibly could for the kids."

The results are in…

"All of our participating 5th graders scored with honors on the State Math Exam.
Two of our students received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for service to the community - a tremendous honor.
One-third of our students qualified for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program."

Tonight, the Principal will sleep well.

This ad, along with 47 more, were seen by 37,000 mothers, aged 32-55 within a 10-mile radius of the school. The ads led to a dedicated inquiry page with a gallery of the honor ceremonies.

Fast-forward 7 months, we have doubled their enrollment.
The leadership is committed to deepening their school's narrative and competitive positioning.

Storytelling is a powerful tool and art form. Done right, it engages, captivates, builds connection, cultivates community, and generates social proof—helping you grow your audience and enrollment.