You’re a Superintendent with magnet schools. We know that the specialized programs and curriculum attract a diverse group of students and should be celebrated within the district. Since the purpose of a magnet school is to attract students, what steps are your district (or magnet school) taking to ensure that the message of a magnet school is memorable?
With February being Magnet School Month, it’s a great opportunity to remind your community of what your magnet school offers students. Here are Five Things Every Magnet School Promotion Must Have:
Clear Mission. Of course, you already know that a clear and well-defined mission statement is a must. But the work to develop it must be displayed. Not only should the statement outline the school’s educational goals and objectives, but it should be visible on your website. It should serve as a guide for all decision-making and planning. Oftentimes, magnet programs offer exciting and unique curricula and the promise of what students will learn inside these classrooms. Can you see evidence of the brand promise? Make the mission visible to all who enter your school and visit your website.
Brand Story. As a magnet school matures into implementing its philosophy, a brand emerges, usually distinct from the district brand. We see this in other arenas, too. Coca-Cola, for example, is a perfect example with its iconic red logo. They have various other brands, like Dr. Pepper and Smart Water, that have their own separate brand logo, colors, and stories. Your district and the magnet school that is part of it are no different, just like any other school in your district. As a new community is built as part of the magnet school, they, too, deserve markers to identify themselves like logos, fonts, and colors – all of which goes to reinforce the idea that the mission is being met daily. When used regularly to communicate the magic of a magnet program, you are telling your brand story.
Tell Your Story. Magnet schools, like all schools, have incredible teachers and staff. Make sure that you are featuring their stories. We find the most engagement on social media when students and staff are featured in photos and videos. That doesn’t happen by chance; that happens by planning. (Or in the words of this firm: a strategy!) Not sure where to start? Perhaps your district doesn’t have a full-time communicator on staff, but you have some employees who are excited to tell the story. Some districts have created their own ‘Brand Army’, including stipends, additional duties, or a program for students to get involved. After that, it’s time to put the plan into action by having the Brand Army capture what is happening through photos and videos that can be used on the website and social media to capture what is happening in the district.
Need more help with this? Check out this easy activity designed to organize events, activities and promotions throughout the year. All you need are chart paper and markers!
Okay, I've had a couple of you ask how I inventoried my colleagues PR needs. Prepare for a thread on the why and how…if you've asked, then you've been tagged. I am also calling out @ezigbo_ ,@knorstromcte & @EddieMack to offer their insights on participating. #schoolpr pic.twitter.com/7hiXGFwxHU
— Lesley Bruinton, APR 🥋 (@lesleybruinton) May 1, 2018
Sell Your Story. Any district with a magnet program understands that there is a degree of recruitment that is involved. Not only is it important to find teachers and staff to buy into supporting students in this unique learning environment, it’s just as important to help families understand how a magnet program is not better, just different. Do you have a prospective families page to highlight programs? A designated page for families can answer questions for when magnet school staff is not available to answer them, show off your specialized curriculum, unique features of the magnet school, and highlight awards. Check out Wake County Public School System for an example.
Promote the Partnerships. A magnet school should have strong partnerships with businesses, community organizations, and other educational institutions. These partnerships can provide students with valuable real-world experiences and opportunities, and can help to ensure that the school’s curriculum and programs are aligned with the needs of the community. Using your website, social media and newsletters, provides an opportunity to not only celebrate partnerships but also open the door to new ones.
If you’d like to discuss strategy, how to develop logos, or communication plans for your school system, feel free to reach out. We are here to help and can develop a custom, bespoke solution for you.