#HowWeGotThis, is a series of conversations with various members of our community in which we discuss the many ways the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted their lives and forced them to pivot and imagine new ways to operate. For this new edition, we meet Mikayla BRENNAN-BURKE and Alain LECLOUX. Both are part of the Admissions team, and explain how they’re adapting to this new normal.
LFSF : Hi Mikayla, hi Alain, could you please introduce yourselves and explain your roles within the LFSF Admissions team?
Mikayla: Hello! My name is Mikayla Brennan-Burke, and I am new to the LFSF Admissions team this year. I’ve been told by a colleague that one of my primary responsibilities is to be the warm, friendly, enthusiastic American on the team. I take these duties very seriously and although I am new to the Bay Area myself, I enjoy being a first point of contact to say a big “welcome to LFSF!” to applicant families.
Alain: I’m Belgian and arrived in San Francisco in 2004. Initially I planned to stay in the Bay Area for one year and then go back to Belgium to pursue my career in the pharmaceutical industry. Soon after settling in, I got lucky enough to get a green card from the immigration lottery program (yes, it works!) and also get a full time job at LFSF! I started this amazing journey with the Admissions team almost 16 years ago. I usually conduct interviews and tours with prospective parents and I’m also involved in database management.
LFSF: How is the Covid-19 health crisis affecting the school’s admissions season? What do you think is the biggest challenge you are faced with?
Alain: The Covid crisis is affecting the admission season in many ways. We are missing the direct contact with our prospective families. For instance, we are not able to tour the campuses anymore, we don’t meet our families in person nor our applicants. It's a bit frustrating for me because through these different meetings, we were able to share what the Lycee really is, its atmosphere, its culture, its ambiance, the essence of our school.
Mikayla: Leading into the back to school this fall, we know that our families were dealing with the uncertainty of Covid-19 conditions. We asked for your trust that the school would do everything possible to provide safe ways for students to return to our campuses. As a school, a primary challenge has been ensuring that we are able to offer the same high quality academic instruction that led families to choose our school in the first place. From an admissions perspective, I believe that one of our biggest challenges and opportunities this year is sharing with prospective families how we are navigating the Covid crisis in order to build the same trust.
LFSF: In response to these new circumstances, how are you adapting to this new normal? Would you say that there are lessons to be learned from this experience?
Mikayla: The conditions this year have encouraged us to get creative. The Admissions team has adopted the LFSF mantra #pivot #adapt #anticipate and found new ways to connect with prospective families during this time. Since we have not been able to conduct our typical in-person tours, we have designed new ways to reach families with our monthly webinar series, 360 virtual tour, and informative videos. Instead of our traditional playdates, we are asking early learning applicants to submit videos so that we can “meet” our youngest applicants virtually. However, greater than any individual update to our process is the team’s willingness to embrace new ideas. I appreciate how the Admissions team has viewed the present challenges as an opportunity to reimagine how we can best serve our prospective families and our school community. This willingness to adapt will serve us well in the years to come.
Alain: I couldn’t agree more with Mikayla. This situation forced us to be creative and responsive in all aspects of our work. I believe that we have shown a great adaptability to provide the same quality of service to our prospective families. It is obvious that we will take advantage of this situation. For instance, it’s a great opportunity for us to redesign the future Admission seasons by integrating more media support like virtual tours, webinars, videos of our classes in sessions, videos of our applicants ...in our procedures.
LFSF : How do you see the rest of the school year for your department? What are the main dates or important moments to come?
Alain: We will continue to be vigilant in providing the best service to our prospective families and help them throughout this very particular admissions season. From my perspective, the most important dates for us are our current students’ re-enrollment season that takes place mid-february and also the new students’ acceptance dates that occur mid March. Those are always very hectic and exciting moments at the Admission department!
Mikayla: The most important date is January 31! That is our extended application deadline. Make sure to submit all application materials by that date. We will also continue our monthly webinar series throughout the winter and spring, so stay tuned for more ways to connect with our team throughout the year.
LFSF: Mikayla, for you, this year is also special as you are joining a new team in the midst of a global pandemic. How are you adjusting?
Mikayla: It is an atypical time to move to a new city and a new community! I started 2020 in Athens, Greece and moved to San Francisco over the summer to begin my work with LFSF. Joining the team at this time has allowed me to learn how our process operates in a normal year and help adapt our practices for Covid-19. I have been grateful for the wonderful humor of the Admissions team members to guide me through the adjustment.
#HowWeGotThis is our series of testimonials showing how our teams and community are pioneering, reinventing themselves and imagine new ways to operate in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.