#SchoolPR Insights

Commentary on school communications, marketing, public relations, referendum planning
and crisis communications from the team at the Donovan Group.

How Does a School Communication Audit Work?

Before creating a communication plan, we often recommend that schools and districts conduct a communication audit. In many ways, an audit sets the stage for more meaningful communication planning.  Through a communication audit, you can gain a better understanding of stakeholders’ perceptions of your school or district, get a sense of what stakeholders think about your current communication efforts and determine which types of information are of particular interest to your stakeholders. It...

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Communicating About Wisconsin’s Phase 1B Vaccine Announcement

On Tuesday, January 26, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that most teachers, school staff and childcare providers will need to wait for several weeks to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. While many schools and districts had expected the vaccine to be available to their staff members sooner than that, we are now hearing that it could be early March until Phase 1B takes effect. Based on our work with districts across Wisconsin, we have put together this template message...

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Our Next Step in Helping School Leaders Communicate During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of communicating clearly and effectively with families, students, staff and school communities.  That’s why we are excited to move forward with an effort to promote honest, transparent, equitable and public health-informed communication in response to COVID-19 resurgence and incidence in schools. Today, the Donovan Group and Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools, together with several key partners, have launched www.EngageEquitably.org. This...

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#EngageEquitably Helps Education Leaders Communicate More Effectively with Families, Communities

The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with underlying inequities throughout our society and across school communities, have underscored how important it is for education leaders to use regular, proactive, and transparent communications with students, families, staff, and local communities. Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools (LAB) and national school communications firm the Donovan Group have created a new series of equity-focused communications resources to help school and...

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Tomorrow’s Crisis is Already Here

Earlier this year, Joe Donovan and I had the privilege of writing an article (“Prepare For Tomorrow’s Crisis Today”) for an edition of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association’s monthly magazine. Like you, we’ve been so busy that we didn’t get around to sharing it with you until now! We’ve all been living in some level of crisis mode since the pandemic began in March. As a national leader in crisis communications for schools and districts, the Donovan Group has been on the front lines of the...

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Tips for Filming a Simple Video Update for Your School Community

One of the simplest, yet engaging, ways you can share key information with your stakeholders is through a simple school video update. In fact, this is perhaps the most common type of school video. The subject—who is usually the superintendent or a principal—sits or stands in front of the camera and provides an brief update to their school community. Below are some tips for filming a simple school video update:   Create a script Know what you are going to say in your school video update...

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How to Record Quality Video Footage with a Smartphone

At a time of school closures, schools and districts are looking at how they can engage their stakeholders from a distance—especially through digital video. This can be as simple as grabbing a smartphone and recording some footage or a video message to students and families.  Recording video with a phone can be a little challenging at first, as mobile devices were not designed for this specific purpose. They do not have an easy place to grip or optical zoom, for example. However, it is possible...

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Simplifying Your Communication with Parents During COVID-19

School closures lasting weeks at a time has been unlike anything parents, students, staff or community members have ever experienced. Especially in the first several weeks of the closures, school and district leaders and teachers had to answer tough questions about e-learning, meal services, technology distribution and canceled or postponed events. This meant communicating frequently through email, social media, the district's website, text alerts and phone calls. While active communication...

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Communicating About Your School District Budget During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This spring, many school boards are in the process of creating and finalizing a budget for the 2020-21 school year. This work is largely taking place via Zoom and other online meeting platforms. District leaders and board members should work to maintain transparency around the budgeting process, while speaking to how the district is planning based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Your stakeholders may have a number of questions about how this process will work. Be ready to field and answer the...

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Alternative Graduation Ideas to Celebrate the Class of 2020

For most high schools across the country, holding a traditional in-person graduation ceremony is looking less feasible by the day. Although some states’ shelter-in-place orders may be lifted or relaxed by late May or early June, it might not be safe for large groups of people to gather for commencement. This leaves an entire class of seniors without the send-off they were expecting to receive this spring. Although nothing can replace walking across the stage in front of family and friends,...

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