Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Start-Ups"

I've started teaching quite a few new students in the last couple of months and I found myself scrabbling to get all the start-up paperwork together each time.  Of course, I've been super busy, but I finally took the time to put together packets and thought I would share what I do.


First of all I put everything in a file folder.  I later use this file folder to store all the information on the individual student.  Here are the forms I use and that are included in each packet:

Application for Enrollment - I'm sure that you all have these, but I thought I would share a bit about what I put in mine.  After the obvious name and contact information, I ask questions about the student's past music experience, questions about the student's learning style and practice commitment.  Then I specifically ask parents some questions about their commitment to their child's learning.  I also ask about the type of piano the student will be practicing on and then I obtain emergency contact information.  I also attached 2 business cards to the application - mine and the business card for the piano tuner I recommend (who by the way has been responsible for referring 4 of the students I now teach!)

Studio Policy - I include this and go over this at the interview with the parent.  In my policy, I cover my teaching philosophy, my experience, my expectations of the student and the parents, my tuition and enrollment fee costs and what they cover, my "missed lessons" policy, supplies that are necessary, expectations at my studio, group workshops, recitals, and what happens should I have to terminate a student.

Information about the Enrollment Fee - This is simply an informational sheet that details what that one time expense covers. Putting this form together saves me trying to remember everything!  It also helps me to evaluate it to make sure I'm charging an appropriate amount.

Computer Station Letter - This is a letter that explains and offers additional learning at the computer station in my studio.  Right now, this is an option for my students - not a requirement.

Photo Release - This is a quick form explaining to my parents that I have a blog/website and would like to include pictures of their children participating in activities I do in the workshop.  They are asked to sign the form and indicate whether they consent to allowing their child to be included.  I never include photos of a child without this signed form.

Studio Referral Program - This is a flyer letting my parents know about my referral program.  If a parent refers another student who starts lessons, they are given 1/2 off one month's tuition.  I tell them that I'm willing to "hire" them to help me market the studio and that I'm happy to pay them (or in this case, charge them less!)!

...and lastly (finally, right?) I include:

Studio Calendar - This is obvious, but thought I would let you know that I include when the studio is closed, when the recitals are scheduled, when I have my group workshops, year-end evaluations and when my summer camps will take place.  My returning students get this in August and all new students get the calendar at the interview.

This may seem like a lot of "stuff", but I have found that parents appreciate how thorough it is.  I always take as much time as they need to go over everything so that down the road there is no question as to what I expect and what they can expect from me. Right now I have 6 packets all ready..."just in case". 

 Are there other forms/information that you include?

1 comment:

wendy stevens said...

Hi Sheryl,

Your documents look nice and professional! I know it makes an impression on how parents and students treat us when their first impression of us is a professional one.

One other thing that I include in my packets is "Where Does Your Tuition Go?" brochure. This helps parents understand all that they are getting for their money and can help if you are setting up a tuition structure rather than "by the week" payment structure.

Teachers can print and use this document here: http://www.composecreate.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/where-does-my-tuition-go.pdf

Wendy