Elmira City School District. Every Student Succeeds. Communication Plan Elmira City School District 951 Hoffman Street Elmira, NY

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1 Elmira City School District Every Student Succeeds Communication Plan Elmira City School District 951 Hoffman Street Elmira, NY 14905

2 2

3 School Communications C ommunication is defined as the exchange of ideas, opinions and information. It is a two-way process, intended to give all parties the opportunity to share their knowledge and insight. School communications, then, provides all school district stakeholders parents, school personnel, taxpayers, students with important information and allows them to provide input into the educational process. Table of Contents Our Mission... 4 Introduction... 5 Ongoing Communications Efforts... 5 Communications Plan: Student Achievement...s 6-7 Student Attendance... 7 Student Behavior... 8 Community Support...s 9-10 Staff Support Conclusion... 10

4 Our Mission: Respect, Integrity, Dignity Team Work Welcoming Environment Hard Work Every Student Succeeds Safety and Security Creative Thinking Community Connections Self-Confidence High Expectations Embracing Diversity Our Beliefs: Everyone learns at different rates and in different ways. High expectations maximize results. Achievement inspires self-confidence. Laughter and a sense of humor enhance learning. Creative thinkers excel in a changing world. Learning is life long. Diversity is an asset to be celebrated. A safe, secure and welcoming environment promotes learning. Teamwork requires each individual s commitment, responsibility and accountability to the larger community. The dignity of any individual must never be compromised.

5 Introduction This communication plan was developed based upon a recommendation of the Center for Curriculum Renewal in its audit of the Elmira City School District. Its purpose is to outline both current and future communications efforts as they relate to the district s mission that Every Student Succeeds. Ongoing communications efforts The Elmira City School District communications program includes the elements common in most school public relations programs. The following activities are performed continuously, some every day: Promotion Students and staff work hard each and every day, and deserve recognition for their efforts. Communications personnel publicize this hard work by encouraging the media to focus on these achievements; attending events, taking photos and writing about good news in district newsletters and on the district web site; and by designing certificates of recognition. Media relations Professional interaction is crucial to developing a positive, open relationship with local newspaper, TV and radio reporters. Communications personnel serve as the primary school district contact for reporters and assignment editors, providing background information, answering questions and arranging interviews. A strong relationship with the media is also important in promoting district, student and staff accomplishments, described above. Graphic design/writing The look and voice of school district publications should be consistent, easy to understand and pleasing to the eye. Communications personnel design and write newsletters, handbooks, calendars, brochures, flyers, etc. that are concise and maintain a consistent visual image. Web site maintenance Parents and community members increasingly rely on the internet for up-to-date information about school events. Communications personnel maintain the district web site, updating the front page several times a week with fresh news, updating the calendar and working with other departments on new features. Community relations Communications personnel assist local non-profit organizations wishing to promote their activities to students and staff members by approving and distributing flyers, and including information in the staff newsletter. Support Communications personnel are always available as a resource to school personnel who need assistance, editing school newsletters, writing letters about sensitive issues or helping with any number of communications needs. Crisis communications In times of crisis, open communication with parents, community members and the media is vital to prevent panic and the spread of misinformation. Communications personnel handle media and parent phone calls, write letters to parents and autodialer messages about the incident, and send out news releases with timely information.

6 Communications Focus: In its Greater Expectations education plan, the Elmira City School District outlines goals and targets in the areas of student achievement, behavior and attendance, among others. This communication plan lays the framework for communications efforts to support these goals. The effectiveness of these communications strategies will be measured based on the targets for student performance, behavior and attendance outlined in Greater Expectations. Expectation: Improved Student Achievement Objective: Standards-based reform will improve student performance. Communication strategy: Increase understanding of and support for standards-based reform. Include feature in District Dialogue each month that explains the pieces of reform and how they fit together., Communication strategy: Provide educators with resources to improve student achievement. Include links to resources developed by Elmira educators on district web site. Include links to resources from other educational institutions on district web site., Judy Carr, Judy Carr Objective: Smooth transition to middle school will improve student performance in sixth grade. Communication strategy: Familiarize fifth-graders with the expectations and routines of sixth grade. Meet with current fifth-graders to discuss sixth grade Middle school counselors, administrators Communication strategy: Build parent support for revised middle school model. Meet with fifth-grade parents to discuss middle school transition; include planned presentation and time to address parent concerns. Develop and distribute via Wednesday folders a brochure that explains the sixth-grade model. Middle school counselors, administrators

7 Objective: Appropriate field trips will reinforce the curriculum, improving student achievement. Communication strategy: Provide teachers with resources for planning appropriate field trips. Develop a field trip-planning guide that includes guidelines for transportation, emergencies, communication, etc. Objective: Consistent, appropriate homework will improve student achievement. Communication strategy: Provide teachers and parents with information about appropriate and successful homework. Develop a homework policy that sets guidelines for appropriate amount and type of homework at each grade level. Design a homework handbook that educates parents about homework policy and provides suggestions for encouraging students to complete homework. Joe Hochreiter, Building Planning Team Expectation: Improved Student Attendance Objective: Parent involvement will improve student attendance. Communication strategy: Make parents aware of students attendance patterns. Continue use of autodialer to communicate student absence. School administrators Develop brochure about ParentConnect program and distribute to parents via Wednesday folders. Include occasional reminders about ParentConnect program in District Dialogue and on district web site.,, 7

8 Expectation: Improved Student Behavior Objective: Common behavioral standards will decrease behavior problems. Communication strategy: Revise and communicate dress code that is clear about appropriate student dress. Revise current Code of Conduct to clearly specify in plain language clothing that is not allowed. Chris Mecke, Code of Conduct committee Develop posters that explain dress code and place in hightraffic areas. Make dress code an easily accessible page on the district web site. Plan back-to-school fashion shows that demonstrate appropriate dress. Include dress code reminders in District Dialogue., School administrators Communication strategy: Identify and reward appropriate behavior. Develop a theme encouraging strong character Develop posters that highlight the theme and encourage students to behave appropriately. Hold back-to-school assembly that introduces theme and reinforces behavioral expectations. Develop awards programs at school level that recognize students who have demonstrated strong character. Include names of award winners on district web site and in District Dialogue., Ray Bryant, School administrators School administrators, Communication strategy: Provide teachers with Win-Win Discipline strategies to deal with common behavioral disruptions. Include strategies in Staff Report. Include strategies on Staff portion of district web site. Kat Love, 8

9 Expectation: Community Support Although not specifically referenced in Greater Expectations, community support is vital to improving climate and morale in the school district. Objective: Community awareness of district events, initiatives and policies, as well as Board of Education activities, will increase support for the school district. Communication strategy: Develop a network of Key Communicators who will receive important information via newsletter, and autodialer. Recruit community leaders to join Key Communicator network. Ray Bryant, Joe Hochreiter, Build database of Key Communicator phone numbers, mailing addresses and addresses. Include Key Communicators in all communications during times of crisis, and for important district meetings. Tom O Hara, Tom O Hara Communication strategy: Communicate important actions, discussions and upcoming events of the Board of Education. Include Board meeting summary on district web site after each meeting Include regular column by Board member in District Dialogue. Board of Education, Objective: Elmira City School District will become a district of choice for potential home buyers. Communication strategy: Provide Realtors with positive factual information about the school district. Review and revise current Welcome Packet for newcomers to the area., Include all information in Welcome Packet on web site. Mail Welcome Packet to all local Realtors. Host tour of schools for Realtors.

10 Objective: Fundraising will provide additional funds for extras in the school district. Communication strategy: Enlist alumni support for district programs. Develop a database of district alumni. Form Alumni Association. Form district committee to determine needs that could be supported by fundraising dollars., working with Harris Publishing, Ray Bryant Begin mail campaign to solicit monetary support from alumni. Expectation: Staff Support The support of faculty and staff also is vital to improving climate and morale in the school district. Objective: Staff awareness of district events, initiatives and policies will improve implementation and performance. Communication strategy: Develop a districtwide strategy to communicate important information about policy changes, initiatives, etc. Develop an communication network to reach every staff member. Utilize Staff Report to communicate information. Include important information on Staff portion of district web site., Conclusion This communication plan is simply an outline for communications efforts in Should the district s needs change significantly during this time period, this plan will be altered. This plan will be updated each year to reflect progress and new goals. 10 Respectfully submitted by:, Community Information Specialist

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