Sample Plan 4:
Contributed Anonymously by a County School System
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"Any County" Public School System
Excellence in Action
The Goal of this plan is to
raise public confidence in the Any County School System by educating key
audiences that we have a strategic plan with measurable outcomes that will improve
Build credibility for the Any
County Parish School System among target audiences.
Recruit support from the business
Recruit students to the system.
The Any County School System is
successfully working to improve the quality of education in Any County.
It is a responsible guardian for
the children in its care.
The school board is a responsible
body working hard to improve the education system in our parish.
The school system is listening to
the community and to key stakeholders.
The system is a faithful steward
of our tax dollars.
The system's leadership is
knowledgeable about the key issues facing education today.
The school board members are
compassionate regarding the fair treatment of system employees.
Any County is a fair employer.
Training tool kits
Video message from superintendent
Training from principals
We will draft a separate
communications plan for parents. This should incorporate all of the routine
methods of parental contact and seek to maximize them for the benefit of our PR
Included will be a "Message from the Superintendent,"
a self mailer to be sent to the parents' homes. We should consider take-home
newsletters, report-card stuffers, parent meetings, school events and other forms
of communication. The goal is to try and better engage parents in the school
system. For the system's most successful schools, public credit should be given
to the parents who are involved.
Website/e-newsletter - We will ask parents to sign up
for an e-newsletter that would give updates on the progress of the strategy.
Morning announcements - We will provide each school
with monthly age-appropriate updates to be read during morning announcements.
Local newspaper's Teen Page - We will set up
interviews with students who played a role in the strategic plan.
Essay/art contests - what does "high expectations"
mean to you?
Homework helper hotline - Could we get the message out
using this vehicle?
Strategic Partner Program -
Grass Roots efforts have always been valuable in building support for schools,
business initiatives and political reform. We will develop a Strategic Partner
Program led by the schools superintendent. This will be done by identifying 20
key community leaders and asking them to become Strategic Partners. These
community leaders will lend their names and support to the effort. They will be
invited to an introductory luncheon where school system leaders will explain
the program and their role in it.
Strategic Partners will:
Participate in editorial board meetings and meetings
with TV personnel.
Appear on morning shows.
in speakers' bureau. - Rotary, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, 100 Black Men,
Chamber, Press Club, Ad Club and other groups often look for community oriented
speakers. We should, at every chance, try and tailor our discussion about how
education (or the lack of it) can specifically affect their group.
Participate in letters to the editor campaign
The communications team will
send the Strategic Partners e-mails twice a month on system news and what
information we need disseminated within their social and business circles. Most
of this information will come from a message calendar that our strategic
planning group will institute and which will be managed by the Communications
Director. In urgent cases, these 20 people will receive a phone call asking for
their input and help.
Quarterly luncheons can be
held, or we may chose to break the Partners into smaller groups of five for
more intimate lunch gathering where they can ask questions, provide suggestions
and get a feel for where the system is headed and how they can help get our
Suggested Ambassadors could
Head of Chamber of Commerce
Junior League President
CEOs of local hospitals,
Publishers of local
Owners/Managers of local TV
- A general brochure that explains in broad terms the strategic plan of the
school system will be produced. This will be used by the Strategic Partners. It
also will be placed in libraries, Chambers of Commerce and the school board
Letters to editor campaign - The Communications
Director will write several letters that address a variety of educational
issues. These letters will all show how the school system is addressing these
issues. The letters will be held "in the can" and will enable us to quickly
respond to articles that run in the newspaper. The letters can be signed by any
of the Strategic Partners.
Meetings with the Media -
Personal meetings will be scheduled with key media individuals to introduce the
work that the system has been engaged in and to ask for assistance in getting
the word out to our community about the positive events taking place in Any
County Schools. Targeted for these meetings will be editors, editorial writers,
station managers, assignment editors, publishers and education reporters. We
might also want to target some of the more prominent disc jockeys who have
large on-air followings.
Media Day to introduce
We will host a media day at
the system office to introduce the strategic plan and specific milestones by
which we will be measured. This can be held in a school auditorium and feature
some classroom tours, interaction with kids, teachers and administrators.
We will periodically release
milestone reports updating progress being made in implementing the goals of our
strategic plan. These can be done as press releases, press conferences or more
of an email newsletter format
We will inventory and audit
all communications vehicles currently being used by the system to communicate
with the target audiences. The goal will be to eliminate redundancy and to
begin to drive message and brand cohesion through all levels of the system.
A master list of these
materials will be compiled by audience so that we can easily identify
communications vehicles when needed.
A 12-month editorial calendar
spreadsheet should be developed that lists all of our communications vehicles
and the intervals that are published. This will allow us to quickly scan all of
our vehicles and strategically place editorial to support message initiatives
for the system and the School Board.
We must understand what other
voices will be heard as we embark on our planning and implementation process.
These include associations such as the teachers' unions and other support staff
groups. We also recommend developing a plan for communicating with these groups
in advance to discover their issues and address them proactively, rather than
working out differences in the press.
Face-to-face meetings early can
often provide the olive branch of cooperation (or at least not active
opposition) that we will need if we are to be successful.
We recommend providing
milestone updates to our key audiences, letting them know that their system has
specific goals and is achieving them one by one.
These milestones can be
communicated via e-mail, newsletter or in paycheck messages from the
Media Training for the System
A Media School will be
offered to key system staff members, School Board members and principals. This
school will consist of a four-hour session focusing on how to handle media
questions, interviews and appearances. Attendees will leave with a good
understanding of how reporters operate, how to stay on message and how to deal
with surprises that may come up in day-to-day interaction with the media.
Message Strategy for Board
School Board meetings provide
an opportunity to generate positive press on the system and our strategic plan.
It can also be a place or disaster when discord and confusion are present.
We recommend developing key
messages for each school board meeting and working with board members to make
sure these messages are clearly conveyed during the meetings.
To the greatest extent
possible, we should try and use the board meetings to proactively communicate
who we are as a system from a positive standpoint and to continually call on
the community to support public education.
Handouts on key messages can
be provided to the board. Informational handouts should also be provided to the
media, reiterating our most important points.
Questions or comments? E-mail Robin Mayhall