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Year in Review: Highlights of Our School Communications Work in 2018-19

Here at the Donovan Group, we are reflecting on what has been a historic school year for our firm and our clients. We have been humbled by the opportunity to work with an increasing number of school districts and talented school leaders throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Georgia.

Below are a few highlights:

Outlining the facts on e-cigarettes

As the school year progressed, we noticed a growing (and troubling) trend: the increasing prevalence of e-cigarettes and “vaping,” especially among teens. We thought there may be an opportunity to help school district leaders get ahead of the issue, which is why we developed this fact sheet providing the facts on the hazards of vaping:

Several of our school district clients have now used the flyer, which we can adjust to reflect each district’s unique logo and branding. In addition, we have developed letters to parents and staff to help start important home/school engagement on this issue.

Creating dynamic digital videos

This year, we’ve also expanded our digital video capabilities on behalf of schools and districts. We plan, storyboard, film, edit and post videos on a variety of subjects, from tours of new school facilities to visualizing a district’s needs in advance of a referendum.

Check out a couple examples:

Video is critically important for communication and engagement. In fact, social media posts featuring video get up to 1,200 percent more shares than posts updates that only have text or images.

When inclement weather hits

In Wisconsin and Iowa, like much of the Midwest, this past winter season was an especially brutal one. Some school districts we work with had to cancel classes as many as eight times due to heavy snow or extremely low temperatures. We found ourselves regularly helping school and district leaders communicate about school closures and delays, as well as the scheduling of make-up days.

Making schedule changes in the middle of the school year has the potential to cause considerable confusion among parents, students and staff. We commonly recommend reinforcing these key pieces of information:

  • The date of the last day of school (even if it has not changed and no make-up days are required)
  • How any future snow days will affect the school calendar
  • Whether the date for graduation and other events have changed due to school closures

We’ve found that, during these times, clear communication from superintendents and principals can go a long way toward preventing confusion and stress for a school district community.

Looking forward to 2019-20

While school may not be in session, we know that school district leaders and staff will be hard at work preparing for the upcoming school year. Summer is a great time for us to assist with communications planning, as well.

At the Donovan Group, we have a lot to look forward to as we continue to work with more school districts throughout the Midwest and across the country. We recently launched our national crisis communication service, through which we are offering assistance with the communication around urgent and crisis situations for district leaders nationwide.

From all of us here at the Donovan Group, we hope you have a great summer. And here’s to a wonderful 2019-20 school year!

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