Donovan Group Insights

Using Video to Highlight the Great Things Happening in Your Schools

As any classroom teacher can tell you, attention spans are not what they used to be! This is true for people of all ages, which can pose some challenges when school leaders compete for the attention of busy parents, students, staff, community members and other stakeholders.

In our work with school districts across the country, we’ve found digital video to be an important and effective way to reach our target audiences. When executed thoughtfully, video can help share your district’s story, build trust and increase engagement with your school district community. 

With social media specifically, video tends to grab users’ attention when they’re scrolling through their feeds. According to Digital Information World, social media videos generate up to 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined.  

Below are some examples of situations in which you can create engaging school-based videos for your marketing and communication purposes. 


In-school programs and events

If you talk to just about any parent, you’ll hear the same story. Their kids come home from school, and the parent asks, “What did you do in school today?” The standard answer: “nothing.” Fortunately, video gives us an opportunity to give parents a better look into all the great things happening in school buildings each day.

In our work with the Storm Lake Community School District, we helped produce several videos on some of the great things happening in the classroom. Below is one example, focused on early elementary literacy instruction:


Bond and referendum efforts

A successful referendum effort is about more than pass or fail. It’s also about building trust between a school district and its community. Ideally, a referendum will lead to more productive conversations and leave community members thinking about the future of their local public schools. 

According to Insivia, viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to as little as 10 percent when reading it in text. In addition to a variety of other channels, video can help illustrate a school district’s financial or facility needs, and how a referendum would address those needs. 

Last year, we helped the School District of South Milwaukee develop several videos in advance of its operational referendum, which ultimately passed. 


School tours

Families today have increasing numbers of choices when deciding where their children attend school. That’s why public school districts are turning to marketing to position themselves as destination districts. Video is a key component of these efforts. 

Recently, we’ve worked with the East Troy Community School District to create a series of school tour videos in the style of “MTV Cribs.” The video for East Troy’s Little Prairie School explores the incredible spaces available to students:


Snow days

In recent years, we’ve seen school and district leaders have a little fun when it comes to announcing cancelled classes. They often use a fun, tongue-in-cheek approach to these announcements, playing on the fact that there are fewer sweeter words to a kid’s ears than “snow day.”

The great Dr. Joe Sanfelippo of the Fall Creek School District has created some hilarious and memorable videos when making these announcements. (We haven’t worked with Fall Creek, but we’re big fans of Dr. Sanfelippo’s work!) 

Here’s an example:

We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention Missouri Valley Community School District Superintendent Brent Hoesing, who has gained a lot of attention for his awesome “singing superintendent” videos.

Every day, your teachers and staff are finding new ways to reach students, children are reaching new milestones and community members are donating their time and talents to your schools. Give them all the spotlight they deserve by highlighting and sharing their efforts via digital video. It’s a great way to tell your story and keep your stakeholders engaged in the future of your school district.

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