Name Your Math Program

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

It really is a good idea!

These children are about to learn math not just any ordinary way, but instead using a program so special it has a name.

Making sure everyone at your school knows the name of at least some of your academic programs should be a priority. Not convinced? I offer these two anecdotes for your consideration:

#1: As you know, you can learn a lot from touring other schools. When I was on a tour of a competitor school a while back I noticed a trend: the administrator leading the tour named various programs the school offered. It wasn't just, "Inside this classroom is a third grade math class." Rather, it was "Here's a third grade math class. At this school, we use the B math program, which is a superior program because Y.”

#2: Several years ago, a new charter school was creating quite a buzz in the neighborhood and a lot of our own parents were talking about its "rigor." As proof, they cited the charter school’s X math program. I'd never heard of it. Turned out, our very own school was using the same math program, they just weren't actively marketing it.

In both these scenarios, naming the programs seemed to give them instant credibility. Perhaps it seemed like the program was deliberately chosen, or seemed a bit more prestigious. I noticed parents at the tour nodding in approval and some writing the name down. Identifying curricula programs also helps establish a school's identity. For example, when a parent comes home from touring and is asked by a spouse or friend, 'what is that school like?' they have a specific feature to mention.

Giving programs labels also helps with retention, which you know is vital. By explaining the curricula and why it is valuable, you reinforce why families made a good choice in your school. It also gives current families a specific talking point when discussing your school with family and friends.


1. Choose your best. Make sure you label at least some programs and be selective/strategic—obviously point out programs of which you are most proud. If you have a so-so science curricula, you don’t have to mention it.

2. Learn about them. Explain why these programs are good. You must be prepared to talk about any programs you choose to emphasize.

3. Don’t go overboard. Even if you have a ton of great programs, don’t point out all of them. This lessens the impact and none become memorable.

4. Labels not just for tours. Be intentional about emphasizing named programs and benefits to current not just prospective, families. For example, explain them in your weekly newsletter or at parent meetings. 

Happy labeling and learning! So you know to label some programs on tours, but have you read about how to handle your school's negatives?