JULY 2, 2020 - COMMUNICATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING NOTES
Communications Subcommittee Meeting Notes
July 2, 2020
A member of the teaching staff suggested that we include a mental health professional as a member of the communications subcommittee because other members don’t have the knowledge of medicine.
A member of the teaching staff preferred that communication not come to the public on a Friday afternoon.
A member of the teaching staff desired that our messaging be one in which we are clear about what our position is on any given topic. Example: State our position and back it up with facts.
A high school student said she prefers communication that comes in the form of emails as well as videos. Also suggest inactive social media communication.
A parent of a middle and high school student agreed that she has a dislike for Friday afternoon letters from the District. She also noted that people take to Facebook commentary, and we should devise a way to correct the inaccurate information.
A District Office staff member noted that our goal should be to control the narrative and bring the public to our District website.
Another District Office staff member commented that Facebook groups become the unofficial sites for information about the District. She recommended that we consider creating a response team to correct such inaccurate information in the community on our website with the accurate information.
It was stated that the District, since March 12, generated a total of 729 forms of communication to the public through July 1.
A parent of a middle school student and high school student then commented that 729 forms of communication is a lot to read for a parent, and that they can easily become overwhelmed by large amounts of information coming from the District. The same parent suggested that we consider communication that is in the form of FAQs.
An elementary school teacher expressed a concern for families that don’t have access to technology devices. She also recommended that our communication be provided in Spanish, and that using videos is a productive way to communicate.
A parent desired communication to be provided in lists, in a bullet format. There were also suggestions to add “executive summaries” to communications that are lengthy.
A Board member said FAQs are important, and to create a robust list of questions for what people might be asking. He also liked the idea to correct inaccuracies stated in social media. He added that the community values information from the superintendent, but that information from the building level, from principals, is helpful to “action” things with the public. A suggestion was to utilize an approach such as a weekly fireside chat at the building level.
An elementary principal noted that during Pre-COVID-19, he utilized a communication method that consisted of a weekly update.
A member of the clerical staff had concerns about social media commentary and the impact it can have on the social and emotional reactions among students. She also liked the listed, bulleted information idea. Her principal sends a Sunday evening reminder about what is coming that week which adds to an atmosphere of calmness among faculty/staff in the school.
A parent added that 729 forms of communication is overwhelming, and that parents may not have the time to read all of these documents being sent. She also felt the format of a bulleted list of information was reader friendly and that all 13 schools need to be consistent with their messaging.
An elementary school teacher stated that people are overwhelmed. She noted that she receives about 40 emails per day, and that many people are asking teachers questions.
A Board member added that a communication that includes specific sections within the body of the letter, based on topics, is reader friendly.
A District Office staff member added that she also likes the idea of communication that includes a bulleted format for the reader as well as a consistent time to send our letters. She also supported the idea of having people on staff, or on our team, help to control and respond to inaccurate information within social media.
A high school teacher stated the main goal should be transparency. He also asked, “How do we get the teachers the information that they can share?” The teacher also noted that the District needs to put teachers in a place where they can get the students the right information in a timely manner considering the fact that teachers are front and center in the classrooms with the students.
A communications staff member felt it was essential to plan to build a plan. Specifically, we need to look at the communication channels we already have in place. In addition, she felt that people need a breather right now following the pace we have been on during the pandemic.
Teachers asked that we have more transparency in communications and that teachers be given advance notice on changes they will be asked to implement.
A District Office staff member agreed, stating that there is so much anxiety, and so much that we don’t know. She suggested that we consolidate, and create a link on the website for Reopening Schools where people could go in order to get all the information they need.
Notes by Marty Cox
July 7, 2020