All communications shall be effective and appropriate in terms of content, style, choice of technique, distribution, targeting and cost.

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1 The Director of Education for is dedicated to providing open and honest information in a timely fashion to all of the Board s stakeholders. The Director is also dedicated to supporting essential relationships with both internal and external audiences. All communications programs, projects and activities shall help achieve the overall goal of providing the best education possible for every student enrolled in the system. They shall also focus on and support the following relationships: relationships with students; relationships between schools and student families; relationships with potential students and their families; relationships with school councils; relationships with the Limestone Learning Foundation; relationships between schools and their neighbourhood communities; relationships with the Board of trustees; relationships with the media; and administrative relationships among internal audiences. All communications shall be effective and appropriate in terms of content, style, choice of technique, distribution, targeting and cost. As a guiding principle, the Board will follow the rule of performance before publicity. That is, communications should draw attention to effective action, not be a substitute for it. Wherever appropriate, avenues shall be provided for two-way communications, both to and from various audiences DEFINITIONS Media, for the purposes of this procedure, is defined as print and electronic news and information outlets. Print media are mostly comprised of daily, weekly and monthly newspapers, magazines and journals. Electronic media are comprised of television, cable and radio outlets, as well as on-line news publications. Each medium is governed by its unique time, space and visual requirements. It is the role of the communications department to understand and work within these media requirements for the benefit of the school district. Administrative Procedures Manual 100-1

2 1.0.2 A crisis, for the purposes of this procedure, is defined as any event which seriously impacts the school district s ability to conduct business in a normal fashion COMMUNICATIONS RESPONSIBILITIES All system administrators, principals, teachers, and other staff members have a role to play as effective communicators. The communications department shall provide advice, support and coordination for communications activities The prime responsibility for communications related to Board policy for shall rest with the Board of trustees The prime responsibility for communications related to the implementation of Board policy, all administrative procedures and overall management of the district, as well as internal communications, shall rest with the Director of Education The prime responsibility for communications related to individual school activities and programs shall rest with the principal and staff of each school APPROACH The district should reflect a general policy of openness in the conduct of its affairs. Exceptions to this approach may apply to confidential matters related to purchases of land, contract negotiations, discussion of tenders, individuals, firms or specific groups, and information regarded as private and confidential under the law The Director of Education and system and school administrators will engage in appropriate consultation with concerned and interested internal and external audiences from the district shall not make derogatory comparisons of schools, either directly or indirectly, and shall not cause personal or professional embarrassment. Administrative Procedures Manual 100-2

3 3.4.0 All communications shall reflect a professional, business-like style and avoid jargon Publications and productions such as cable television shows, radio features, and external and internal newsletters shall have clearly defined and complementary roles. These communications shall be coordinated by the communications department PLANNING System administrators and all schools in the Board shall have a plan in place to improve and guide their communications programs and activities. The communications department shall provide support for these planning activities. committees may also be established in each school DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS The Director of Education supports the concept of in-service training, workshops and coaching sessions to help all staff members develop and improve their communications skills PERMISSIONS AND RELEASES When dealing with requests for photographs or interviews, all staff members shall respect the personal privacy of students and staff and shall obtain appropriate releases or permissions before proceeding. Permission shall also be obtained before publication of student creative works CRISIS ISSUES It is important to promote balanced news reports, to the greatest extent possible, through timely and accurate communications with the media. To that end, the following media relations directives have been identified, along with the designated spokespersons appropriate to the issue or type of media inquiry. Administrative Procedures Manual 100-3

4 7.1.0 When a major issue arises, the Director, with support from the communications staff, will consult appropriate system and support staff to produce a communications brief. This brief is to be circulated to system administrators and trustees, and in some cases, managers, principals and/or division heads on a need to know basis. The intent of the brief will be to provide the current factual background and key messages surrounding an issue In addition to procedures outlined in Administrative Procedure 140 Safe Environments, the supervisor of communications and/or communications officer shall be informed of any crisis issue so that accurate information can be provided, as appropriate, in response to media and public enquiries The Director, in consultation with appropriate staff, shall inform staff members and trustees of official communications and issues which are of major importance, prior to their release to the media and public The Director shall determine which staff members will have input to crisis communications related to procedural issues. The chair of the Board shall have input into communications about Board policy issues The communications department will function as press secretary, taking incoming media calls and coordinating interviews. A central clearing point ensures spokespersons are fully briefed and prepared prior to interviews Media will be expected to contact the Director or the supervisor of communications or communications officer, as designated by the Director, with a first request for a school visit, interview, photograph or background information. If media first contact a school directly, the principal and teachers concerned shall notify the Director or designate and have an opportunity to discuss the appropriateness of such visits or interviews before proceeding The Director of Education is authorized to issue such measures as may be necessary to implement this procedure. Administrative Procedures Manual 100-4

5 8.0.0 INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS Internal communications shall promote high morale and ensure that all staff members are kept up-to-date on matters which affect their ability to do their jobs well As the foremost method of internal communications, supervisors shall be expected to keep their staffs informed of all relevant work-related matters. This information may be supported by communication vehicles such as internal newsletters, bulletins, and memoranda SCHOOL NEWSLETTERS Each school shall publish regularly a school newsletter to keep parents and other readers well informed of school programs, class activities and student achievements As the continues to build a universal corporate identity (standard artwork for newspaper ads, Board information flyers, and individual school print materials), schools shall include the LDSB logo, or the name in their printed materials. This will help identify schools as a Limestone District school to the community and beyond TELEPHONE System and school administrators and supervisors at all Board facilities shall ensure that telephone reception is prompt and courteous RELATIONS WITH THE NEWS MEDIA The communications department shall provide support for media releases All media shall be treated fairly and openly, consistent with the processes detailed in this administrative procedure. In addition to providing assistance to reporters working on specific stories, the Director or designate shall also offer background briefing sessions for reporters and editors to help ensure that they have a full understanding of complex educational issues. Administrative Procedures Manual 100-5

6 The Officer (or designate) shall serve as the first point of contact and primary resource to media and may arrange interviews, provide approved information, and confirm routine matters of fact. He or she shall not act as a spokesperson on behalf of the Director or Board of trustees, unless requested to do so. Legal References: Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Administrative Procedure 516 Advertising Last reviewed December 2007 Administrative Procedures Manual 100-6

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