THIS WEEK: “Think ‘out of the box’ to keep your school program fresh and innovative.” NGPAM 601-1, para 6-5
NG PAM 601-1 Chapter 6
ARNG Schools Program
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a single-source guidance document, combining regulatory requirements and successful techniques and ideas to assist the RRC leadership and the RRNCO in building and maintaining an effective school recruiting program (SRP). Appendix F provides a school calendar-of-events and significant activities to ensure ARNG presence in all secondary schools; school ownership is the goal. This chapter should also assist in the training of new RNCOs and serve as a reference guide. The techniques and programs contained in this handbook have been proven to be successful throughout the ARNG. They are time-tested techniques and if properly implemented, can assist the RRC in developing, implementing, and maintaining a viable SRP.
The objective of the ARNG SRP is to assist RRNCOs with programs and services so they can effectively penetrate the school market. Schools present an opportunity for contact and exposing the ARNG to large numbers of high quality NPS leads. Successful RRNCOs rely on schools in their area for large numbers of NPS enlistments. This chapter offers ideas to develop and implement a viable school program, thus maximizing a vast NPS resource. While much of the information is focused towards high school, the same general principles apply to other types of schools, colleges, and universities. There is no formula for success that will work in every school. Each RRNCO must take the basic principles discussed in this chapter and formulate a plan of action that will work within their respective schools. The goal of the SRP is school ownership that leads to a greater number of NPS enlistments.
RRNCOs must first establish rapport in the schools. This is a basic step in the sales process and a prerequisite to an effective SRP. Maintaining this rapport and establishing a good working relationship is next. Once educators are convinced of our sincerity that we have the student’s best interest in mind, the SRP can be effectively implemented. When developing the annual work plan, always include the major activities for each school programmed for recruiting activities. Competition from other service branch recruiters, schools, businesses and industries will make recruiting difficult. Additionally, the certainty or uncertainty of each student’s personal goals and aspirations, it should become clear that a well thought of work plan is essential. You ensure the chances of student contact through planning, follow through, and accurate record keeping of all acquired school information.
Establish, execute, and maintain the SRP.
The SRP is the cornerstone of NPS mission accomplishment. Without a strong high school program, you cannot have a strong NPS recruiting program. Successful development of the SRP requires that the RRNCO apply a continuous and conscientious effort year round. The RRNCO that has a solid, results-oriented SRP will be successful in the schools. Establishing, executing, and maintaining the program is ultimately the responsibility of each RRNCOIC and RRNCO. The SRP consists of four distinct phases: summer, fall, winter, and spring, and its successes are dependent upon the development and implementation of a sound school plan. School objectives should be established at the State level and include procedures for establishing school priorities, ASVAB testing goals, and a matrix which lists mandated activities which should be completed on a monthly basis by each RRSGM, RRNCOIC and RRNCO. All RRC leadership and RRNCOs should continually assess SRPs and other related prospecting activities to determine what the impact is on production.
6-3. School Relations
The relationship between ARNG and educators within your area of assignment is critical to your success. It can become the cornerstone of success for all parties involved or a source conflict and pain for both parties. Before you should expect any type of assistance from school officials, or to be accepted by the students, you must first establish rapport and credibility. You must first convince officials that you have their students’ best interest in mind. They need to know that your interest in their students goes beyond enlisting them and extends to a genuine concern for their future.
6-4. Establishing and Maintaining Rapport
Establishing rapport with school officials is a key step in maintaining access to schools. To effectively work the school market, RRNCOs must maintain rapport throughout the school year (SY) and develop a good working relationship with key influencers. Listed below are guidelines that RRNCOs should follow when working with their school market. Apply a measure of flexibility in your approach. School boards (or board of directors) regulate administrative policies and academic standards in school districts; however, the principal is provided a high level of autonomy in his/her school. Structures and organizational climates vary from school to school. RRNCOs should apply a measure of flexibility in tailoring their approach to effectively work within the different schools. As the school administration changes so does the approach in dealing with a particular school. Ask school officials what service and/or assistance you can provide to them or their students. Don’t be looked upon as someone always asking for something and never giving back to the school. You will jeopardize your welcome in the school. Uphold the seven Army values. Absolute professionalism and personal integrity is demanded. Remember that you represent the ARNG. A school’s officials, staff, and students are influenced by their impression of you. Create a relationship that renders you indispensable in a school’s ability to provide an appropriate educational experience for all students. Become a part of the school scene. Be in constant demand for those things that only you can do. Establish yourself as the SME for anyone wishing to join the military service in that they call you first. Ensure that the school administrators, counselors, and teachers understand why school recruiting is so important, not only to the students themselves, but also to the defense of our nation. Many do not understand this and will hinder your ability to establish an effective school program. In addition to personal meetings with administrators, giving presentations to groups of school officials is an effective way to present the message of how serving one’s country is important to the education experience. Schedule a courtesy visit with the principal of each assigned school before the beginning of the academic year. Do so as early in the SY as possible. Remember that at this time of the year the principal is very busy. However, he/she will appreciate your effort to establish this communication link. This will set the tone for the school year concerning your involvement in the school. The RRNCOIC should make every effort to accompany all new RRNCOs to their schools on their first visit. Make early appointments with the counselors and teachers as well in order to get on their calendars before other military services. Cultivate relationships with teachers, coaches, and other assigned staff. Never rely solely on the guidance counselor to administer your school recruiting program. This ensures a complete saturation of the ARNG message and increases the face time with a greater number of students. Never react negatively towards school officials when they do not allow you to conduct a presentation or program. Identify an alternate way to accomplish your mission. Reacting negatively will only damage the rapport you have with the school. Understand school policies and protocol concerning access to students and staff. Collect this information as soon as possible to ensure there will be no surprises. Remember that on occasion a school’s policies and protocols will change. Ignorance is no excuse for violation of school policies and protocols. Always keep school staff informed when you have a student processing during school hours. Notify the school, as far in advance as possible to ensure the student is not placed in a situation that his/her schoolwork will suffer. If at all possible, prevent other ARNG RRNCOs from visiting your school without you. You want school officials to know you as “their” ARNG RRNCO. If it is necessary to have another RRNCO visit the school, always call ahead and ask permission to prevent any confusion. Utilize the ARNG school entry vehicles (SEV) to the fullest extent possible. The promotion of the ARNG SEV’s, such as Career Direction or the GEAR (Guard Educators Achieving Results) school program, is the responsibility of the assigned RRNCO under the supervision of the RRNCOIC. All SEVs are practical tools that are easy to present to the schools and meet the needs of the students. Attend as many school functions/events as possible. This includes career days, awards days, sports competitions, and other activities. By doing so you will gain the confidence of the school staff and students you support. These actions build a bond that cannot be achieved with words. Call and set up appointments with the school staff. Be sensitive to the fact that school officials will be very busy and may resent an early “invasion” from you and other services. Prepare yourself in advance with a clear and concise goal in what you want to accomplish. Calling and setting up appointments with the school staff is highly recommended in that they are expecting you and you will know how much time they will make available to you. School recruiting efforts are designed to build interest in the ARNG and gain high quality NPS enlistments. The ease and success of these efforts will depend in large part upon the ARNG’s image within the community at large, the school’s attitude towards campus recruiting efforts and perceptions of whether recruiting efforts add or detract from the educational experience of the students. The factors which may affect the school recruiting efforts include:
- Type of school (public or private).
- Traditional attendance-based high schools.
- Vocational-technical and trade schools.
- Community colleges.
- Alternative and adult education centers.
- Private, parochial, and specialized schools.
- Demographic area in which the students live.
- Educational, work, and life goals.
- Compatibility of the school, students, and faculty with the ARNG situation.
- No experience or past experiences with military recruiting personne
6-5. Preparation for the Upcoming School Year
The following is a list of activities that each ARNG RRNCO needs to accomplish prior to the beginning of the SY. Prioritize your schools. Evaluate the type of school, the needs of the unit, and the potential market for both PS and NPS prospects. Enter a priority for each school in the priority field under school information in leads-reports 2000 ARISS computer workstation. The priority you assign will be one of the following:
- Priority 1 – highly productive.
- Priority 2 – large or potentially productive.
- Priority 3 – small and productive, or minimally productive based on distance from the supported unit,
limited interest due to a specialized curriculum, student body composition, or other special factors.
- Priority 4 – unproductive, distant, impenetrable.
- Review the school plan for the upcoming year.
- Initiate school program management documentation in your RWS.
- Begin contacting upcoming seniors.
- Obtain faculty list from all assigned schools.
- Contact RRNCOIC about any new high school programs and support.
- Contact counselors, teachers, and any other school staff.
- Schedule a faculty COI breakfast or luncheon to show support and present information.
- Attend some summer school activities.
- Receive refresher training on ASVAB promotion and interpretation.
- Schedule all assigned schools with the SASVAB.
- Replenish all RPI displays/replace and/or set up new ones.
- Contact all ROTC and/or JROTC programs.
- Inform all assigned schools of any changes in ARNG programs.
These are the basics, the obvious, and the things you need to do without thinking. You need to look critically at each of these items and make them a part of your school program. Think “out of the box” to keep your school program fresh and innovative.
6-6. Faculty Expectations
It is reasonable for the faculty to have expectations of an ARNG RRNCO to: encourage all students to stay in school to graduate. Encourage the participation in the SASVAB testing program and aid in the interpretation, contact the students IAW school policy and protocol. Present clear, accurate, and complete information to students, giving honest answers on both positive and negative aspects of the military, so that students can make informed decisions. Make appointments in advance for visits with school officials and/or students. When requesting records from the school, have written permission from a student or a parent, if the student is a minor.
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