By JULIE B. MAGLIO
BROOKSVILLE, Fla.– David R. Voss Associates gave an update on developing the district’s five year communications plan during the Dec.10 school board workshop.
He remarked that the changes being made are beyond just a logo redesign.
“This strategic communications plan is a big package deal. It includes some design work that was first, but it started with the market research… ”
He emphasized that it’s everybody’s job to communicate what is happening in the schools.
“Every single person involved in the school district needs to see themselves as a key communicator.”
He also mentioned that there are key communicators within the community that they’ve helped setup.
The creative team is composed of Gregg Laskoski, Mike Lastra, Richard Linkul, Michael Maine, Angela Shepard, David Voss, Ian Wald, Karen Jordan, Marissa Davis and John Stratton.
“It’s a real nice mixture of people, principals, community folks with expertise in this area.”
The team determined that there is a need for district branding, which will be gradually phased in.
“Our job was to create a brand and provide guidance and leadership on how to implement it.”
The rebranding will also involve a website redesign.
Before any design work was done, the team developed a “District Brand Promise.”
“We thrive on memorable learning experiences. We offer wide-ranging opportunities, taught with heart and a sense of service to community. We encourage individual pathways toward the goal of graduation. We spark and sustain success through innovative teaching. The result is college bound and job-ready students and economic advantages for Hernando County.”
Website improvements would include online galleries for photos and videos so parents and community members can learn about the projects in schools. Only School district personnel would be able to upload the images on the site. The challenge now is for staff to contribute to the website.
“We’ve done this in 14 districts now with varying degrees of success- it’s all about participation.”
One way they are trying to improve communication skills of staff is through professional development with social media, public speaking and media relations workshops.
They are also looking to establish a ‘key communicators network’ to generate “word of mouth truthtellers in the community… people who influence others and play in the workplace, civic, government and social media space.”
“So something happens at a school- good news or bad- the superintendent sends out an email so there’s good communication out in the district. This is to feed the word of mouth meter. We want to dispel bad or false rumors and we want to start good rumors.”
Voss says that they will also be proactive in speaking to community groups to spread the district’s message.
Voss and associates is launching the communications plan in January 2020. He says there will be a relaunch in fall of 2020 for the beginning of the new school year, because that is when more attention is paid to the school district.
During the Dec. 10 regular school board meeting, the contract between David R. Voss Associates and the school district was extended until Dec. 31, 2020. According to the school district agenda item, “The extension of the contract should not exceed $66,000.00, with $34,500.00 paid from the General Fund and $31,500 paid from the Title II fund. David R. Voss Associates, Inc. will continue to provide Market Research and Communications Review, a Strategic Communications Plan, Professional Development, Video Enhancement, Policy, Guidelines and Services, and Productions Services. David R. Voss Associates, Inc. will be available “on call” for communications consulting services during the term of this contract.”