Do public school students benefit from PR campaigns?

There are many innovative ways to stay relevant in the changing tide of public education. As more and more charter and/or private schools keep popping up on the nearest street corner we see an increasing demand to focus on what’s new, flashy, and in the airwaves. Does it always need to be what is new or flashy? No, but for the focus of this PR initiative utilizing communication expertise has resulted in a big increase for the district student count. Public school districts receive funding on a per student model. More students = more revenue for the district.

The concept of ‘Building Your School Brand’ could not be more imperative to schools than it is today. This is a great theory put to the test by Austin ISD in building their own unique brand and vocalizing that out to the community the district serves. Only time will tell if this can be a sustained model, but the current short term outlook yields results.

“Austin area taxpayers might want to consider if money spent on advertising and a huge communications staff this is tax money well spent. Austin ISD’s marketing success claim hinges on basic math. However, that claim ignores one very large factor: the Texas city’s growth rate accelerated during the time of the costly PR push.”

Source: Do public school students benefit from PR campaigns? | District Administration Magazine

New CFO Redefines Business Office in Less Than One Year

North Shore School District 112 is experiencing tremendous efficiencies in its business operations thanks to new leadership with a tech-driven approach. Christopher Wildman, District 112’s CFO, has led significant change over the last few months by strengthening the district’s business culture and maximizing the capabilities of Skyward’s School Business Suite, the district’s financial solution. As a result, the district has overcome budget challenges, increased internal communications, and transformed business operations.

Chris uses ed-tech to simplify the business office taking 12 bank accounts to 1.  Less time spent reconciling, more time spent planning the future.

Source: New CFO Redefines Business Office in Less Than One Year | District Administration Magazine

Getting a school’s message across in the new media landscape

While the news media environment has changed, our goal as communications professionals hasn’t—create a simple, accurate and relevant message for quick delivery to parents, employees, students and community.

Messaging has changed from the traditional phone and occasional email into new reach. Through social media and all its power to parent/child school district portals.

All messaging should be concise and directed for interaction.

Source: Getting a school’s message across in the new media landscape | District Administration Magazine

Edtech: The Truss Bridge Theory

There are so many challenges facings school districts today: Budget shortfalls, curriculum, stakeholder engagement, communication, special population ed services, transportation, food service etc. Now, it falls on school leaders to come up with ways to solve problems from years ago, the new ones created today and the ones they don’t even know about yet.

The Truss Bridge Theory

Think of the school district as a toothpick or popsicle truss bridge (k12 science project). Every new initiative or requirement is another textbook added on the bridge.

How many books does it take before the stress and weight crack the bridge and send the challenges… I mean textbooks… straight to the ground?

Focusing on the truss design – weight can be supported from either the top or bottom. All bridges face a point where they start to wear down. Is it due to the systems in place?

Strengthen the trusses

When an administrator looks to strengthen a truss on their bridge, it’s common for he or she to turn to edtech for a solution to one of their challenges. Maybe there’s too much paper cost in a specific area, a workflow could be taking weeks when it could take a few minutes, communication strategies should go beyond an email, building the school brand to be more attractive in school choice, you name it. It seems like before one issue is resolved another one is added on.

WARNING: Apply the glue

The toothpick bridge starts to crack, we remove the books and try to apply glue to the area in need. Glue is great for a simple repair, but to hold more books a bit of glue at each crack isn’t going to be enough to stand the weight of the continuous challenge. On top of the glue, we then try to offset some of the weight bearing load by applying another truss. Now, you’re out of toothpicks from your original box and need to pick up a new box that doesn’t match the old set.

This type of “repair and replace” system can only take you so far if you’re trying to take on all your goals and set yourself up for unexpected future challenges.

Time for a redesign

Plans get outdated and need a fresh perspective, in the case of the toothpick bridge – if it’s cracking at the weight of a few textbooks, it’s time for a redesign. With school systems, it can be the same way.

It’s easy to overlook the big picture when there is a quick fix, simple answer that can address the one crack showing at the time. But too often, all your quick fixes end up being incompatible with one another, leading way to more cracks down the road.

A full redesign means going back to the drawing board and seeing where the root cause for error is occurring. In my edtech experience, your enterprise technology is your truss bridge. Depending on your role in the district, you may feel like all the weight is being supported by your Student Information System (SIS) or your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

The question is – how much glue are you willing to go through?


Check out this resource to learn more about moving on from ERP@EdTechTrevor helps to deliver a better experience to schools by sharing insights and relevant media to all stakeholders.

The State of Personalized Learning

Examining products, practices, and an easy-to-use taxonomy.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP | by Philip Hickman, Ken Eastwood, and Eliot Levinson

CREDIT BLEgroup image.pngPersonalized learning is the edtech phrase of the year and a key concept for how digitally delivered teaching and learning will make the most significant impact on teaching and learning, but what is it? The variety of products and practices that claim to personalize learning differ vastly, making the term hard to understand.

Schools want to provide personalized learning, a plethora of vendors are selling it, and it is required for ESSA beginning in 2018. A few BLEgroup superintendents, staff, and vendors held a discussion to see if we could define a way to understand the reality of the concept. We also conversed with vendors who believe they are providing personalized learning products and services to K-12 schools and with school districts who believe that they are far down the path of…

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