Meeting Agenda/Notes May 24, 2018

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State College Area School District


State College Area School District

OUR MISSION:  To prepare students for lifelong success through excellence in education.


May 24, 2018 Board Communications Committee Meeting
11:45 a.m. - Meeting Room A
Panorama Village Administrative Center
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA  16801

I.     Call to Order

II.    Communications Review
           A.  Reflections on 2017-18 Communications
           B.  Considerations for 2018-19
           C.  Possible Future Communications Audit

III. Public Comment

IV.  Future Agenda Items

V.   Adjournment


May 24, 2018 Board Communications Committee Meeting Notes
11:45 a.m. - Meeting Room A                                                           
Panorama Village Administrative Center
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA  16801

I.        Call to Order
Mr. Leous called the Board Communications Committee Meeting to order at 11:53 a.m.
Present: Committee Members: Lori Bedell, Amber Concepcion, Jim Leous, Laurel Zydney (arrived at 12:01 p.m.)
Others:  Amy Bader, Gretchen Brand (arrived at 12:29), Randy Brown, Mary Kay Montovino, Robert O’Donnell (left meeting at 1:14 p.m.), Nabil Mark, Chris Rosenblum

A copy of  all materials distributed to committee members for discussion is included with the official notes, unless otherwise indicated.

Communications Review
Reflections on 2017-18 Communications

         •Checklist review - Mr. Mark shared that the checklist came about during the Easterly
Parkway emergency situation.  It is used to keep track of notifications and/or contacts in an emergency situation. This can also be modified for non-emergency communications.  Parents always call them for information, need to keep them informed, don’t want them to improvise, and they need to know what to say. Committee member said she looked over the checklist trying to think of anyone else that should be on that list, but couldn’t think of anyone.  Mr. Mark said there are a lot of items on the checklist, many follow-ups needed, and the need to follow protocol. We need to communicate something immediately even if it’s not everything that needs to be said, but it’s the best communication practices in crisis situation. Anything is better than silence. Checklist guides us like a compass with getting prepared, being prepared, delicate situations, how to handle, and what can be said.  Working closely with local law enforcement is crucial, follow their lead, especially for what to say and when to say it.

A discussion occurred of past incidents, what was done, how can we improve on the communication, what can we fix going forward. Committee member suggested an “after” checklist as well as a “before” checklist, possibly a wrap-up parent meeting, recap with parents, the public felt satisfied the way it all ended up and the way it was handled and resolved, development of the checklist was a good thing this year.  

         •Annual Report has been out for awhile, delivered to area realtors, one local realtor requested more copies because they ran out, in Schlow library, Linda Barton has volunteered to be a liaison with Global Connections and will distribute them, and Mr. Rosenblum will follow-up with her.  The next Annual Report, Mr. Rosenblum would like to develop our reach on that, include the strategic plan, Affinity was able to do that for a small fee. It is evolving from year to year, liked the suggestion to have some human interest stories in the Annual Report, trim down some of the stories from the year, integrate them into the different sections of the annual report, continue to collaborate with the design, making it a modern report. The PSBA “State of Education” document was shared with the Communications team, shows infographic for easy comparison.  Our brochures are living documents, constantly adding, STEM, CTC, changing as programs change and added.

Suggestions for parents when looking to compare SCASD to charter schools and have brochures for parents so they know what to look for in a school. Have a Charter Schools page on the website so parents can see comparisons between SCASD and charter schools, FAQs,  a possible comparison survey provided that could give a result at the end.

Mr. Brown shared information with the committee of the PENSPRA Awards received by our Communications team - electronic newsletters, promotional videos, news videos regarding the senior parade at elementary schools, special purpose category - strategic plan.  He offered congratulations to Mr. Rosenblum and Mr. Mark on these awards.

Committee discussed the need for consistency with the way emails are sent. Parents not seeing emails from Principals, ignoring them, i.e.  is full name appearing, including titles, etc., to make emails more noticeable by families. What kind of information do you use your email for? People queuing in on certain communications, some Principals are sending emails for the PTO and it looks like it’s coming from the Principal, consistency would be appreciated.  Mr. Mark said they have an email ready to send asking all staff to have a consistent email signature with what to include for consistancy across the district. This email will be sent in the fall, when staff returns for the new school year.  

Committee member questioned what we are planning to do to replace the cancelled elementary groundbreaking ceremonies. Are we going to do something now, wait until the fall, or wait until a ribbon cutting?  Dr. O’Donnell suggested that Board visits be scheduled to the 3 schools in the fall and have a celebration, congratulations on the projects, thanks for sticking with us during the construction, have a great year, and possibly include parents.  Ms. Zydney asked if Principals could take a picture of the present 5th graders in front of the construction site since they won’t be there in the fall.

Question was asked regarding a High School Open House during Arts Festival weekend and the possibility of another Open House over Thanksgiving break.  A lot of alums will be in town, especially for Arts Festival and a good time for developing relationships, annual campaign. How do you get the word out? Could advertise in the Arts Fest magazine, social media, through the Alumni Association eNewsletters, and Town & Gown.  Advertising costs in CDT and Town & Gown, etc. are costly.

Committee members discussed the process of the Special Meeting being held on June 4, 2018 concerning the Wonderland Charter School renewal process.  

Committee member discussed and offered suggestions for Ed Fuller regarding better numbers on surveys returned, principals sending out the notification, a “thermometer” showing number of participants that keeps rising as surveys are completed, a need for numerous touches, and can remind people on social media. The link to complete the survey must come through email so that it is only completed once/person.  Any further suggestions, please send to Ms. Zydney.

III.      Public Comment
There was no public comment.

IV.       Future Agenda Items

         •Considerations for 2018-19
         •Possible Future Communications Audit

V.        Adjournment
Ms. Zydney adjourned the Communications Committee meeting at 1:22 p.m.

Submitted by,


Mary Kay Montovino
Acting Board Secretary