#SchoolPR Insights

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

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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As School Leaders Make Big Decisions this Spring, Summer and Fall, Communication Will Be Critical

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous disruptions for school districts across the United States. With little notice, school and district leaders have had to address a wide range of challenges related to delivering online instruction, providing meals to students, ensuring board meetings can proceed and deciding whether to cancel or postpone events. Most recently, we have seen a number of governors announce school closures that will last the rest of the school year. Unfortunately, we know...

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Keeping Your Community Informed About Graduation During COVID-19

This spring, school and district leaders will need to make important decisions regarding their graduation ceremonies. Depending on where your district is located and the timing of the event, you may need to cancel or postpone commencement—or you may choose to hold a virtual event to avoid a large gathering. For most districts in the United States, this decision will need to be made between late April and mid-May. This article offers some messages you may use to communicate with your students,...

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Examples of Creative Ideas for Engaging Students and Families During COVID-19 School Closures

As school buildings remain closed across the country due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), teachers, staff and administrators are finding creative ways to communicate and stay connected with students and families. These ideas range from daily check-ins via FaceTime to “wave parades” that allow teachers to see their students while maintaining social distancing. Many districts are also exploring new ways to hold school board meetings, creating inspiring videos to share on social media and ensuring...

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Communicating with Staff During a Coronavirus School Closure

As a school district leader, you may be feeling under siege by all the questions you are receiving from parents, staff, members of the media and community members during coronavirus-related school closures. Through clear, proactive communication, you can answer many of these questions from the start, allowing you to maximize your time on other critical tasks during this uncertain time for your district community. Below are some key items you should be communicating to teachers and staff while...

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Keeping Lines of Communication Open with Parents During School Closures

Much in our society has changed over the past two months. "Social distancing" has been implemented across the United States and nearly all K-12 schools are closed nationwide. Parents, students and staff are looking for guidance on what they should be doing while school is not in session. This includes providing updates on e-learning and making sure families know about the resources (such as meal services) available to them while school buildings remain closed. At this point, many states and...

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Communicating a Coronavirus School Closure to Your District Community

Both public and private school districts across the country are starting to close schools for an extended period of time. Many states are now mandating that schools close for at least the next couple weeks. We would like to share a plan of action you can implement to communicate about coronavirus-related school closures to your school and district community. As soon as you have made the decision to close schools due to coronavirus concerns, you should start communicating. In fact, you will...

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