Welcome to Communications

  • Welcome to the Westside Community Schools Communications Department! The goal of our team is to ensure all staff, families and community members are aware of the opportunities and events taking place in our school district thanks to the investments and support of our community.

     

    Background

    The Communications Department oversees and implements strategic communications to advance the mission, vision and values of Westside Community Schools.

    Westside has been communicating in one way or another with stakeholders (community members, students and parents) since the District’s inception in 1947. Newsletters, mailings and meetings have been used to disseminate information. Media (television, newspaper, and radio and more) has been an important partner over the years. For decades, news media was the only way to reach masses of people simultaneously. Typically, these communications have been largely one-way, with schools doing the communicating. In the past decade, however, school communication has changed dramatically. 

     

    Status

    Today more than ever, Westside’s school communicators are building a dialogue based on transparency with the District’s stakeholders. Serving as a media liaison remains important, and now Westside also has the tools to communicate directly with stakeholders. From our District website to social media, from newsletters to calendars, from online surveys to text messages and email alerts, Westside can now speak directly to and receive information from its community. Dialogue is furthered in a way to enhance the culture of Westside and to advance its mission, vision and values. There are challenges with this process. The Communications Department maintains a “rules of engagement” document to set boundaries on social media. Careful thought and attention is given to content for a variety of online and printed publications. In daily interactions with staff, leadership and the Board of Education, the Communications Department provides advice and assistance on a variety of issues. Many other items and tasks come under the Communications Department:

    • Crisis management, including internal and external communication to proactively respond to challenges
    • Coordination of all mass messaging including email, texts, phone calls, push alerts, and app updates
    • Numerous printed publications including ongoing COVID-19 guidelines and pandemic plans, Safer & Healthier Foods plan, annual printed calendar and updated District policies
    • Strategic initiatives to boost option enrollment, stakeholder engagement (including our increasing population of empty-nesters or taxpayers without children), and community support
    • Design and production of graphics, posters, fliers, programs and handouts for departments and buildings throughout the district
    • Coordination of the Community Council, an important parent group that provides thousands of volunteer hours annually
    • Coordination of dozens of special events each year to celebrate students and staff, including emcee responsibilities and script writing
    • Special columns and messages in cooperation with the Office of the Superintendent
    • A monthly districtwide newsletter and bimonthly staff newsletter
    • Grant Writing
    • Organization of nominations and financial support for monthly Royalty Cup honors
    • Support for the Westside Foundation and Westside Alumni Association including written articles, mass messaging support, and social media support
    • Advocacy and information sharing through social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram)
    • Video production
    • Guest and speaker assistance
    • Community engagement resulting in partnerships, internships and donations
    • Calendar maintenance and organization (electronic and printed)
    • Website updates including written articles, photo submission and maintenance
    • Generating and monitoring media coverage across all TV, radio, newspaper and print mediums

     

    The Future

    In the future, the Communications Department looks forward to expanding and improving the dialogue with Westside stakeholders. We will evaluate new tools that become available to ensure we are providing the best and most up-to-date communications to our stakeholders and employees.