Comprehensive Communications Plan
“Achieving Higher Levels
of Excellence in Education:
Great Schools, Great Value!”
Table of Contents
|Introduction and Purpose||1|
|District’s Vision, Mission and Beliefs||2|
|Audiences and Outcomes||3|
|Safety and Crisis Plan Communications||6|
|Crisis Communications Checklist||6|
|Crisis Communications Lifecycle||7|
|Board Policies Regarding Media Relations||7-10|
|Communications Effectiveness Measures||11|
Introduction and Purpose
Benjamin School District 25 is committed to open, honest and continuous communication with its stakeholders. Maintaining a two-way conversation with stakeholders is essential for building relationships. These relationships are the foundation for an effective school system.
The primary purpose of developing this Communications Plan is to establish a comprehensive and integrated communications process for quality communication with all stakeholders. The plan aligns with the District’s goals and is incorporated in the Strategic Directions 2014-2019.
The plan’s focus is to:
- Implement a communications program that directly assists the District to achieve its strategic goals
- Foster productive relationships with District stakeholders
- Provide focus and direction for messages/methods in support of the District’s goals
- Enable the District to present itself meaningfully to various groups
The following principles serve as the foundation of a sound communications plan:
- Effective public engagement is essential to creating an environment in which students, staff, families, and community members participate and contribute.
- Communication is a primary function of leadership and a responsibility of all employees.
- Well-informed employees and citizens are effective ambassadors for developing broad community support.
- Open, two-way communication is critical to maintaining effective public relationships.
- Accurate, understandable and timely communication is an essential component of the decision-making processes of the School District.
- Using a variety of sources and strategies enhances the school system’s ability to communicate effectively and thoroughly.
- Public relations and communications strategies must be explicitly linked to the vision, mission, beliefs, and goals of the School District.
|Benjamin School District 25||1|
Comprehensive Communications Plan ◘ August 2016
District’s Vision, Mission and Beliefs
Achieving high levels of excellence in academics and supporting students in developing 21st century skills, such as collaboration and problem solving.
To provide each child with the best educational opportunity to become a lifelong learner, achieve the highest personal growth and be a contributing member of society.
District Beliefs (Order does not set priority)
- Guiding Principals
- All children can learn
- Education should have the child at its focus
- Education is the collaborative responsibility of students, parents, educators/support staff, and community
- Each child has value and can be a contributing member of society
- Learning is a lifelong experience
- Roles and Expectations
- Parents are the primary lifelong teachers of children
- A well-prepared staff willing to grow professionally is essential for learning
- Children should learn to make responsible choices
- Learning takes place through personal effort, collaboration and taking reasonable risks
- Children need a safe, supportive environment in which to learn
- District 25 participates in a global community of learning resources
- Expectations for Excellence
- High expectations stimulate growth
- All children must learn how to learn
- Each child should be challenged and given the opportunity to individually succeed in an ever-changing world
- A positive self-concept must be fostered
- Each child’s unique learning style should be considered
|Benjamin School District 25||2|
Comprehensive Communications Plan ◘ August 2016
Desired Behaviors and Attitudes
Through the implementation of this plan, the following desired behaviors and attitudes are the focus:
- Take pride and ownership in the District
- Keep informed of key issues
- Work as a high-performing organization whose employees respect and value customer/stakeholder feedback
- Exhibit District values of caring, integrity, trust, and collaboration
- Feel involved and engaged in their public schools
- Exhibit community pride and trust in schools and the District
- Support the School District
The District can more effectively provide consistent and unified messages by identifying and managing all communication. A multifaceted approach to overall communications helps ensure greater impact of messages. The following list details the internal and external communication vehicles the School District utilizes:
Communication Vehicles: Electronic
- District Web Pages
- School Web Pages
- Staff Web Pages
- School Newsletters
- District Newsletters
- All-Call System
- Virtual Backpack Program
- Staff Bulletins (weekly)
- Superintendent's Bulletin (as needed)
- Web 2.0 Tools (examples: Facebook and Twitter)
- Text Alerts
- Email Blasts
Communication Vehicles: Print
- District Newsletters
- Local Newspapers
- Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce Publication Ad
- District Brochure; 25 Reasons Booklet; Informational Brochure and School Year Calendar
Communication Vehicles: Media
- Print Newspapers
- Broadcast Stations
- Local Magazines
Communication Vehicles: Interpersonal
- Administrative Council Meetings
- Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) Meetings
- Benjamin Education Foundation Meetings
- District Advisory Council Meetings
District Goal: Continue to increase the communication about the Benjamin District 25 schools and with stakeholders.
Communication Goal 1: Build and maintain proactive collaborative relationships with all stakeholders to strengthen support for the Benjamin School District 25.
1a) Publicize the accomplishments of the School District, such as academic achievements, staff recognitions and Scorecard Report.
1b) Develop and maintain partnerships with businesses and community leaders.
1c) Emphasize customer service through The Fred Factor book study and related best practices.
1d) Participates in Carol Stream Intergovernmental and West Chicago Council of Governments quarterly meetings.
1e) Participates in Carol Stream Rotary Club.
1f) Participates in Carol Stream Government Directors’ monthly meeting.
Communication Goal 2: Use a variety of media and social interaction to maximize awareness and support of the District’s goals, strategies and programs.
2a) Extend the use of electronic, print and mass media tools to promote awareness and interest in the District.
2b) Continue to interact face-to-face with a variety of stakeholders.
2c) Lobby legislators to inform them of issues and to explain the impact of potential legislation.
Communication Goal 3: Utilize an effective communications plan to enhance internal communications and staff engagement.
3a) Facilitate ongoing training and support for administrators in effective communications with staff and the public.
3b) Encourage the flow of information from parents and the community to the School District (example: sign up stakeholders for District and school Internet list serves.)
Communication Goal 4: Achieve coordinated external and internal communication.
4a) Continually update the District’s safety and crisis plan in collaboration with emergency responders.
4b) Inform parents and community of conducting safety drills and using feedback to improve best practices.
4c) Inform parents and community of education-related issues.
Communication Goal 5: Strengthen a clear identity for the School District and build upon that image and reputation.
5a) Ensure that the message of committed staff, motivated students and supportive parents/community is emphasized in communications with internal and external audiences.
5b) Ensure that the message of the personalized and high expectations learning environment is provided in a cost-effective manner and is emphasized in communication with internal and external audiences.
5c) Continue to market the School District in local publications, such as Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Directory and the Carol Stream Rotary Club Community Map.
5d) Make presentations at local, state, and national education conferences, such as the state’s annual Triple I Conference.
Safety and Crisis Plan Communication
A Comprehensive Safety and Crisis Plan is regularly updated based on feedback from emergency responders. Staff and students are trained to implement the plan, as needed.
The Crisis Communication Checklist (below) and Crisis Communication Lifecycle (on the next page) are for use during a crisis.
Crisis Communications Checklist
Following are key actions in media relations and communications operations you must take during the first 24-48 hours of a crisis:
Before a Crisis Occurs
- Identify and media train spokesperson(s)
- Clarify media relations guidelines with employees. Only designated spokesperson can speak with the media
- Complete all preparatory checklists