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 In Community Engagement, Data and Measurement, Effective Communication, Leadership Tips

USE DATA TO COMMUNICATE PROACTIVELY WITH EMPLOYEES, STUDENTS AND FAMILIES

Superintendent Ryan Carpenter views high-quality communication as an absolute always action. It’s Estacada School District’s goal to be best-in-class communicators to its community. To meet the needs of today’s families, schools must have a laser focus on how they communicate with stakeholders. This is why, in Estacada, best-in-class communication isn’t just an always action, it’s a core pillar of the strategic plan.

COLLECTING THE COMMUNITY VOICE

It’s common practice for schools to strive to communicate effectively with stakeholders. Yet most of the time, schools focus on outward communication. Instead, Estacada intentionally focuses on listening to deliver best-in-class communication. By collecting the community voice, Estacada develops intentional improvement strategies to make its schools the best place to learn. To do so, Estacada requests feedback from families through multiple tools including satisfaction surveys.

Based on the data, it was clear that the community wanted more communication about the decisions affecting their families. Empowered with this information, the 60-second video series was born. Estacada’s communication team began releasing a quick video update that features the most important information. The videos were a tremendous success with over 600 views per week — even during the summer.

AN IMPROVEMENT CYCLE FOR BEST-IN-CLASS COMMUNICATION

At the end of the first 90-day improvement cycle, the survey data showed a .15 increase – meaningful movement. As the team continued to listen to families, another opportunity to improve was heard. The Estacada community wants to be all-in on the decisions the school district is making. By building on the positive feedback from the 60-second video, a longer and more detailed podcast was incorporated.

In the podcast, Superintendent Carpenter digs into important topics from the videos. This podcast allows the superintendent to communicate proactively with the Estacada community. Rather than respond to hundreds of emails every single day, Ryan answers common questions and topics through the podcast. The All-In for Estacada Schools podcast is an example of a midcycle improvement adjustment. By listening and adjusting based on the evidence, the district continues to improve and deliver best-in-class communication.

This addition of communication channels doesn’t mean Estacada has reached its goal. Superintendent Carpenter and his team will continue to listen to their stakeholders and use data to adjust. Every 30, 60 and 90 days Estacada measures the impact of its video communication. Ryan explains that his district measures the important things because what you measure is what is valued. “We want to make sure the changes we are making are actually improving our system and our organizational culture.”

THREE BEST-IN-CLASS COMMUNICATION TIPS:

  1. Have a foundation in place to collect the stakeholder’s voice.
  2. Don’t just do it because it’s flashy – rely on what the data reveals.
  3. Share the wins and positive stories happening across the district.

 

Hear Estacada Superintendent Ryan Carpenter share the full story by listening to Save Time with Proactive Communication. You can also find more examples from Estacada School District on its YouTube channel and hear from Ryan during our upcoming virtual conference, What’s Right in Education on October 27-28, 2021.

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