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NFA marketing campaign aims at broader audience

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published November 09. 2012 4:00AM

Norwich - In the new reality of shrinking high school enrollment and the growing trend of high school choice, Norwich Free Academy will embark on an ambitious marketing campaign officials hope will reach potential new partner towns, parents and students.

Three NFA officials working on the "Providing Opportunities, Preparing Lives" marketing campaign presented the plan to about 70 NFA Corporators, members of the Board of Trustees and NFA Foundation Thursday during the annual meeting.

Geoffrey Serra, NFA English Department head and newly appointed director of communications for the academy, said it was important throughout the campaign that NFA present a consistent identity using the campaign slogan. The slogan will be used on NFA printed materials, in radio and newspaper advertisements, in social media and on the NFA website.

Director of Student Affairs John Iovino said that in discussions during a recent NFA open house, parents have told him that they often leave it up to their children what high school they attend. With that in mind, he said, the marketing has to appeal to 13-year-olds facing that decision. He said NFA would be using social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to put the message out and would hand out backpacks and other materials to students at open houses.

Already, freshman orientation includes a race game to find various notable spots on campus.

New banners with a uniform red-and-white NFA logo are also being hung on campus.

The campaign will emphasize the many opportunities students have at the school, including 250 courses, 70 clubs, numerous sports, a new fitness center, a fine arts major, a new marine sciences study program connected with Project Oceanology in Groton, and the eight foreign languages offered. Students struggling academically have access to math and literacy learning labs.

Meanwhile, NFA will open a new facility in late December on Sachem Street that will house the new transitional high school program launched this year that replaced Norwich's alternative high school. The program is being housed temporarily in the Bishop School in Norwich.

The Sachem Street campus also will house a new special education program NFA will promote, officials said.

NFA currently has eight partner towns, including Norwich, which have designated the academy as their regular high school. Windham also started a limited partnership to send up to 20 students to NFA this year.

Also during Thursday's annual meeting, the NFA Board of Trustees elected a slate of officers to three-year terms, including re-electing David Whitehead as chairman, Theodore Phillips as vice chairman, Thomas Griffin as secretary and Lee-Ann Gomes as treasurer.

The NFA Foundation Board elected Glenn Carberry as chairman, Jeremy Booty as vice chairman, Lee-Ann Gomes as secretary and Carol Cieslukowski as treasurer.

c.bessette@theday.com

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