Lunenburg Public Schools to embrace social media for community engagement

Last night the Lunenburg School Committee held a workshop to discuss how to better engage the .  This comes after a discussion about some of the challenges the District has had in consistently communicating with the community.  There is a recognition by the entire committee that the District has done some things well but also, that there is major areas for improvement.

In our discussion last night we identified several areas for improvement:

  • Preference based communications:  If the school were a private company, I would  describe our communication approach as “spray and pray’. The schools send emails, voice mails, paper forms, paper news letters, have a website,  and use verbal communication to try to reach their key target audience.  The District does not currently provide parents a mechanism to select their preferred communication channel.  In today’s era of the empowered consumer, who has access to unprecedented amounts of data to make informed decisions, must embrace a communication approach which addresses an audience of one.
  • :   We are behind the times when it comes to embracing social media.    Districts around us and across are using , , ,  and other social channels to engage communities.   Like the in ’04…why not us?  Well, we will be dipping our toes in the water over the next couple of months…stay tuned.
  • Website:  There was discussion around improving the overall customer experience with the District and school specific websites.  Several community members expressed frustration with the inconsistency across the websites stating that it can be difficult to quickly find information they need.  There are a couple of approaches we can likely recommend here:  design guidelines and policies for lay out, content management processes to ensure information is up to date.
  • Single view of the student:  Currently there are several locations parents can go to see student information and monitor progress:  Power School, school note, sneaker net (aka information sent home in backpacks).  There is a desire have a ““.  This would be one location where parents can view ALL information pertinent to their children’s world at school.  The good news is that Lunenburg owns the software to make this happen!  We need to explore how to increase adoption of the Power School solution to take advantage of all the capabilities the solution offers.

Their are some long hanging fruit here and some longer term items which will need to be addressed over time.  The most important thing Lunenburg residents need to understand: the schools want to engage the entire community.  The and Lunenburg Public Schools need residents’ help and support to make this a reality.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the following questions from Lunenburg residents:

  • When is the next meeting? (I challenge all Lunenburg residents to find the meeting agendas and minutes)
  • What are you discussing at the next school committee meeting?
  • How can I get an opportunity to speak at a school committee meeting?
  • Why don’t you just send an email, ‘” something or post an announcement to ?  (Check out or )
  • Why isn’t there a where I can watch your meetings on demand? ()

These questions really get into the tactics of how we need to communicate.  Since being elected, I have been thinking about these questions and what they are highlighting. It is time to stop thinking about it and do something.

It is clear to me, we need an up to date, 21st century approach to communicating with the residents of Lunenburg.  As I searched the web, I found many districts have taken a “If you can’t beat ‘em join” attitude to communicating, taking to the platforms to reach their audiences.

In my role as a marketer, I need to determine which I need to reach with my messages working with other marketers to choose the best channels to reach the target audience.  This is a fundamental of communication…right message, at the right place at the right time….So how do we reach our target audience…the residents of Lunenburg?

Well, this will be a topic at the Lunenburg School Committee meeting tomorrow night at TC Passios School.  Your feedback or suggestions prior to the meeting or during our discussion will help shape what gets decided and implemented.