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Communicating about communicating. How can we help?

One area we are most easily recognized is assisting school districts in communicating with their communities regarding potential referendums.

Some districts have facility needs beyond what can be covered in the annual budget. Other districts have operational costs that require funding boosts to maintain or enhance the staffing and programming offered.


Regardless of the type of referendum, when these challenges emerge, we help districts communicate their needs, thoughts, and ideas and measure the level of support the community has for the proposals being considered. This way, school board leaders and district administrators can implement plans that reflect the feelings of local families and community taxpayers.


Our third-party, independent role is critical. We are not in the business of seeing a referendum pass or fail. Instead, we get you the data you need to understand your community’s perceptions. In other words, we are the vehicle.


All that being said, we do a heck of a lot more than referendum-related surveys.


Communicate beyond when you need money.

We have a wide range of survey tools that help you gather planning and satisfaction data from all your key stakeholder groups.


Our parent surveys help you understand parents’ perceptions of communication, the overall school climate, the depth of their child’s learning, and their connections to the school.


Our staff surveys help you understand employee satisfaction and retention by allowing staff the platform to communicate areas of strength and areas in need of improvement. You will come away with a better conception of your staff’s workday, environment, and support.


Our student surveys help you understand your students’ day-in-and-day-out school experiences, whether they have a positive connection to at least one adult, and whether they have the social and academic supports they need to thrive. After all, students are why educational professionals open the doors daily.


Communicate your post-COVIC adjustments.

Our research highlights a trend across most districts, particularly post-COVID: questions related to communications have either declined relative to previous scores or are among the lowest areas across the entire survey.


This has been a topic of discussion within our School Perceptions team and with district leaders we talk to every day. One hypothesis is that, after hearing from district leaders daily with COVID-related communications for over two years, staff and parents are adjusting to a more “normal” level of communication. Others theorize that, in this instant information age when so much information is available with the click of a button, educators will never be able to communicate enough for some staff members and parents.


Communicate in ways people want to be communicated with.

Regardless of the root cause of communication concerns, we will help you hone in on and address the challenging topic of communication so that you can more strategically communicate with your staff, community members, and families you serve.


This is why we recently revamped our Communications Survey. This tool helps give you more specific feedback on the following questions:

  • How effective is your current communications approach?

  • How clear is your current communication approach?

  • Are your communication efforts too long or too short?

  • Are your communications efforts too often or not often enough?

  • Where do parents and staff presently go to get information from you?

  • How do parents and staff prefer to hear from you, and what avenues are they seeking to give you feedback on how things are going?

  • How about your website? Your website has a lot of information, and you spend a lot of time maintaining it. Is it easy to navigate, and is the right information available to the people who need it most?

Districts put so much time and energy into communication efforts. We are here to help you assess the effectiveness of that time and energy.


Communicate when leadership changes.

When districts have a change at the superintendent or district administrator position, communication is often the key to smoothing that transition.


That is why we developed our new Superintendent Transition survey. This tool can be used in a variety of ways.


Some of our educational partners use it to gather input from parents and staff on the priorities they seek in the district's new leader before that leader is chosen. This helps narrow the pool of candidates, their skills, and their abilities to better reflect the wants and needs of the district.


Other partners use this communication tool to gather information immediately following the leader’s selection so that they have a list of top priorities parents and staff want addressed within that first year or two.


Still other districts use the Superintendent Transition survey toward the end of their new leader’s first year to measure how things are going. This data protects the areas of strength and prioritizes the areas needing improvement.


Whatever your communication needs are, know that your partners at School Perceptions are here to measure what matters and help you assess and enhance your current efforts.

 

The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Daren Sievers, Project Manager.

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