PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- The Pleasantville Union Free School District is the recipient this year of the National School Public Relations Association’s (NSPRA) Golden Achievement Award, which recognizes exemplary work in all aspects of school communications and engagement.
Pleasantville was one of 94 school districts nationwide, and 11 from New York state, to be recognized with the Golden Achievement Award, which looks at comprehensive communications efforts based on research, analysis and planning, communications and implementation, and evaluation.
Pleasantville embarked in the fall and winter of 2014 on building a multi-faceted communications strategy that would provide the community with transparency and outreach, and build trust. A nine-page strategic plan tasked the Board and administrators with three main outcomes:
- Improve the delivery of news and positive messages to families, students, staff, and community members
- Build capacity among the staff to improve communications
- Measure and track public perception and satisfaction with the district
Pleasantville conducted a survey of residents regarding the district website’s look and content, examined the survey results and made improvements to the website, de-cluttering the home page, adding more multi-media, and refreshing outdated material and links.
Using the Communications Plan as a guide, the district also set forth a step-by-step series of improvements to be made in the 2014-15 and 2015- 16 school years. Those steps included a concerted effort to improve District social media communications, produce and publish several videos each year, develop a new District logo and branding standards, and launch a new mobile app.
In addition, a Communications Task Force was convened to meet monthly and ensure that the Strategic Communications Plan was progressing. The regularity of these meetings, and the conversations that have taken place, have proven invaluable in enhancing not only district-wide communications, but the understanding of committee members regarding staffing, time and other factors.
Today, a systemic and embedded communications process is in place, staffing issues have been resolved, and the Strategic Communications Plan has transformed the way the school district reaches out to its stakeholders.