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Archive for July, 2013

WDMCS Audits Communication Efforts

As any high school student who has done a research paper will tell you, one of the first steps to completing the project is to do your research.

The same is true when developing a plan to improve communications.

This is why the West Des Moines Community Schools recently conducted a communications audit. The ComAuditPresnetation_3purpose was to assess the effectiveness of the district’s current efforts to provide information to parents, staff, students and community members; see where it can make improvements; and provide recommendations to make those improvements.

There were eight recommendations that came out of the report:

  • Recommendation 1: Reframe WDMCS’ approach to communications to ensure more strategic communication.
  • Recommendation 2: Develop a culture of communication.
  • Recommendation 3: Incorporate marketing/branding strategies to build WDMCS’ reputation as a leading school district.
  • Recommendation 4: Expand outreach to community stakeholders.
  • Recommendation 5: Update crisis planning to include current communication techniques.
  • Recommendation 6: Grow WDMCS’ use of social media as a communication tool.
  • Recommendation 7: Re-evaluate current communication tools to effectively reach internal and external stakeholders.
  • Recommendation 8: Align the communication goals and strategies of the district with Community Education’s on-going communications.

ComAuditPresentation_Slide 6

While the district is already working on many of these areas to make improvements, the audit provides specific focus and suggestions that can be implemented over a two to three year period. In fact, the next step will be to develop a strategic communications plan and timeline to implement the recommendations provided.
Also helpful are the key findings of the audit:

Our strengths are our:

  • Education Programs
  • Strong Teachers and Administrators
  • Supportive Community

Our challenges are:

  • A perceived wealth and status disconnects stakeholders from changing demographics and budget realities
  • Community, parents, staff call for more consistency within WDMCS
  • Increasing engagement of all stakeholders in decision-making processes

The audit was conducted by the National School Public Relations Association (NSRPA) and involved a document review, surveys and focus groups representing the school board, community citizens, parents, students, support staff, administration, community leaders and teachers.

WDMCS Communications Audit Report – Full Report

WDMCS Communications Audit Report – Summary/Presentation

NSPRA Contract

WDMCS Strategic Communications Plan

 

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