Friday, April 4, 2014

Building stronger parent and community relationships: Part 1

An important district goal approved by the Board of Education this year is to build stronger parent and community relationships to increase student achievement. I would like to use several blog posts to share publicly how this goal is being brought to life in the Newton Public Schools.

One of the five activities to build stronger parent and community relationships is to "develop productive marketing strategies in collaboration with the Town of Newton to promote the economic, civic, social, and educational welfare of the town." One of the activities we did jointly this past fall was to produce promotional videos showcasing the best of the town and our schools. Those videos are posted on the town's homepage at newtontownhall.com, the district homepage at newtonnj.org, and the national realtor website at relocate.org.

Working with the town's marketing consultant, the Board also recently developed an eight step marketing plan for the district:
  1. Board and administrators to have booth at Newton Day
  2. Develop a media kit
  3. Participate in a realtor presentation
  4. Plan integrated TDC events for grades K-8 (e.g., field trips, student activities)
  5. Provide better direction to parents so that general announcement messages can be more useful for regular communication (i.e., encourage changing preferences)
  6. Superintendent to post a weekly blog on school and district highlights
  7. Continue to make improvements to the district website
  8. Create a social media committee
While we have taken steps to implement each of the ideas, I am really excited about an initial meeting I had this week with Newton High School student leaders, faculty members, and administrators (20 people in all) to begin discussions around a social media marketing committee. The proposal at this point is to have the students take charge of running social media communications about our schools and district to the outside community. 

This is a great opportunity for our students to shape and drive the message about what's going on in our schools. They are looking forward to making real time connections with the community through media they know well such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The meeting participants were excited and eager to flesh out the logistics so we can put the idea into practice as soon as possible.

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