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Leadership Through Communication

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by

Christine Splichal

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Leadership Through Communication

A Failure
to Communicate
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
- George Bernard Shaw
Board of Education
Supports NSPRA
Communications
Audit in 2007
Strategic
Communications
Leadership
Through
Communications

To Do List -- 16 Recommendations
Develop a communications plan
Develop a plan for finance elections
Commit to visible leadership & build trust
Enhance internal communication
Increase parent/community communication
Create a key communicators' network
Build relationships with elected officials
Expand community outreach
Enhance district web site
Create "one clear voice" - branding
Revitalize Supt.'s Communications Committee
Draw attention to student/school successes
Staff orientation that stress importance of communications
Professional development opportunities
Review and update crisis management
Plan for minority and non-English speaking families
Who are We?
What's the Plan for Today?
District Overview
A Desire to Be Better
NSPRA "To Do" List
Key Topics:
External Outreach
Web Site Overhaul
Let's Win a Bond
Budgets Made Basic
Crisis Management
Internal PR
What Else?
You Tell Us!
3,000 Students
3 Elementary Schools
One Middle School
One High School
An Online Middle/High School
25% Low Socioeconomic Level

External
Communications

Web Site Extreme Makeover
& Social Media
Growth & Development
Information Central
2011 Bond Campaign
Budget Takes Center Stage
Hire a Communications Professional
Internal Communications
Staff Information
Crisis Management
Extreme Makeover – Web Site
80 people participated in focus groups
Input was used to shape the site, navigational scheme
All photography and content provided internally
District servers host site
The site now has more 200 editors for its 2,500+ pages
All schools, teachers, sponsors, coaches have pages/sites
Customized admin system has a built-in approval tree
Trends and user data is tracked via Google Analytics
Extreme Makeover – Web Site
Social Media Takes Hold
Social Media Takes Hold
Females from 25-44 years old are key audiences.
Social Media Takes Hold
Facebook use began in March 2011
Today, 800+ stakeholders follow the page
The tool is used primarily to drive traffic back to the district’s web site (our home base)
Finding ways to engage and communicate with younger parents is imperative
The power of Moms is clear!
Social media has changed the rules of engagement
Women are now the lead adopters for every single kind of technology and are on the Internet 17% more than men
Extreme Makeover – Web Site
Extreme Makeover – Web Site
Challenge: A 10-year-old web site, limited editors, and no flexibility to change the basic structure
Recommended to the board to completely overhaul the site to better represent the district and schools, and enhance ability to share and store information
Utilized funds from a technology grant to pay for initial cost of site -- $60,000
Contracted Paradigm New Media Group to assist with the project
Social Media Takes Hold
By monitoring data, post preferences are determined & content tailored.
We are growing at 4-5% annually!
Following the audit, 50+ stakeholders gathered to
create a strategic plan for the district, including a communications action items.
Mission: Be the Light!
Regularly scheduled town hall meetings are held to ensure a
two-way flow of communication with families and patrons.
Transparency
Information Central
Skyward Family Access
Families can log on anytime to see grades and more
Email messages can be sent by teachers and schools,
Used to share news, and always links to the web site
Utilize Notification System
Email, phone and text capabilities
Used at district level, rolling out to schools soon!
Communications regularly meets with office personnel to give recommendations and training
Media contact has evolved from weekly tip sheets to email alerts and social media posts, all centrally coordinated
Google Alerts has been used for tracking since 2010
GOAL: Transparency! Building trust is key.
Question 6:
Should the district charge an activity fee for students? If no, select zero. If yes, please select an amount.

$0 = 17%
$10 = 11%
$25 = 22%
$50 = 35%
$75 = 15%
 
The BIG Picture
More than 150 staff members and 200+ community stakeholders participated
Results shared instantly and then online
Survey showed 200 considered it extremely helpful, 114 responded somewhat helpful
Data gathered was used by board members to make decisions
Budget Takes Center Stage
Unprecedented cuts in state funding and more on the horizon meant budget communications were imperative
Goal: To explain the 2010-11 budget and garner input regarding possible cuts and revenue enhancement
Target audiences: Parents, staff and community
A BIG idea was developed by Business, Communications and Technology Depts. in conjunction with superintendent
Rolled out at public meetings and online in Spring 2010
The BIG Picture
2011 Bond Campaign
Market research survey conducted
Results used to tailor messages
Utilized email, web site, direct mail, social media, media contact, signage…plus candy and a Clifford costume
Made more than 80 personal appearances in 3 months
Vote Yes campaign ran parallel to district campaign
Spent only $10,000 for campaign materials & survey
Passed the bond by a record 10% margin!
2011 Bond Campaign
Much-needed bond to address classroom capacity, technology upgrades and maintenance issues
Difficult economic times and previous unsuccessful bond and capital outlay campaigns
Stakeholder committee met multiple times and made recommendations
Board approved a $39 million bond issue in March 2011
Aggressive multi-tiered campaign was underway, vote slated for June
Growing Together, Growing Strong
Annual enrollment growth: 4-5%
Needed to communicate district plans and updates to realtors, developers and landowners
Support their efforts
Realtor Resources web site – marketing materials online
Personal contact with prospective families
Email updates to list of 100+ key contacts
Results:
Continued strong growth in dismal economic times
Land donation by developer worth $1.1 million
Celebrate the results at groundbreaking, open house and dedication events -- maximize publicity and involve the community!
State of the District
Annual Breakfast started in 2011
Nearly 80 attendees from key areas
Event highlighted successes at all levels
Significant student involvement
Themes: "Why Spring Hill Schools?" and "Small-town Values, World-class Results"
Bonus: Proceeds benefit the Education Foundation and our students!
Crisis Planning
All buildings & district-wide crisis plans are in place
Director of Communications is PIO for all emergencies
Coordinates with local emergency management
All media contact is centralized to ensure consistent message
Meeting tragedy face-to-face
Losing a student, national topic of interest
Sharing the lessons learned (KASB, MoSPRA, KanSPRA, other school districts)
Focusing on student safety in the district
Updated suicide prevention response
Provided parent resources during tragedies
Communication regarding drills in schools to keep parents informed and avoid issues
Staff Information
Newsletter created to enhance staff communication - a district goal
Originally sent out as a PDF, now posted on intranet
Staff survey was completed in 2011, minor changes were made
More than 90% of staff members consider the information useful
Critical to meet with staff, share important updates and gather input
Key communicators for district
Open conversations have included:
Bond campaign
New elementary school boundaries
Staff assignments
Safety & security
Leadership Through Communication Award
Focus Group Feedback
What's Next in
the Spring Hill School District?
www.usd230.org/ltc
Decided to enter after last year's AASA conference
Excellent reflection
Utilized a strategic plan over time
District staff & patrons feel they are kept informed -- and heard!
Ongoing commitment to customer service
Willing to go the extra mile
Maintain personal touch as the district grows
Focus on long-term growth and development opportunities
Questions?
Dr. Bart Goering & Christine Splichal
Spring Hill School District
Full transcript