Meeting Agenda/Notes - April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015 Board Communications Subcommittee Meeting
8:30 a.m. – Board Room
131 W. Nittany Avenue
State College, PA 16801

I.    State High Project 60% Feedback Forum
         Wednesday, April 22, 2015
         Time: 6:00 p.m.
         Location: State High South Cafeteria
         Discus draft agenda

II.  High School Project: Construction-related Communications

         A. Community members will be able to sign up to receive High School project-specific updates via web form: e-mail, text and phone (School Messenger system). Phone only for emergencies. High school faculty, students and staff will be required to receive    emails, can also sign up for text.
         B. SCASD Tech Department developing registration interface
              Rollout: Week of April 20, 2015
         C. Promotion of sign-up forms
               Email and/or mail to stakeholders
                  a.  all parents/guardians
                  b.  all faculty/staff
                  c.  people subscribed via “Keep Me Updated” form
                  d.  CEAT members
                  e.  Municipal managers
                  f.  Centre Parks and Rec
                  g.  Emergency personnel (police, Alpha)
                  h.  Other neighbors (OLV, Westerly Parkway Plaza management)
                  i.  Realtors
                  j.  Alumni
                  k.   Email to people that will be automatically signed up
               Social media: Facebook, Twitter
               Advertisements: CDT,, Gazette
               Meetings with nearby neighborhood associations (including manual registration)
               County 911 (one-time notice of sign-up form)
         D. Questions for feedback:
             What other stakeholders need to be informed about signing up for updates?
             Would direct mail be an effective strategy for notifying high school neighbors?
             Based upon your experience with the High School Project, how can we obtain email and/or mailing addresses for these stakeholders?

III. High School Project: Ground Breaking Ceremony Plan

         A. Planning Document
         B. Document Overview
         C. Communications
         D. Media Press Release ahead of date
         E. Report to Full Board: Presentation
         F. Social Media

IV. High School Project: Updating Project Web site
         A. Current Challenge: Content Management
         B. Solution: Template Shift
         C. Request: Feedback via Focus Group Participation

V.  “Document the State” Initiative to Capture the “Old” State High through Images
         A. Collaborative with students, faculty and staff
         B. Goal: Generate stakeholder involvement & historical record
         C. Timeline
            April 6-10: meet with State High students, teachers, advisors
            April 13-17: refine/finalize plan
            April 20-30: promote. April 20 is first day of promotion.
            May 1-15: assess effectiveness of promotion, adjust as needed. May 15 is last day to submit for a prize.
            May 18-22: evaluate entries, determine winners
            May 18-29: build site displaying entries
VI.  Public Comment
VII. Adjournment

I. Call to Order
Jim Leous called the Board Communications Subcommittee meeting at 8:35 a.m.
Present: Sara Brennen, Amber Concepcion, Mike Hardy, Jim Leous, Mary Kay Montovino, Bob O’Donnell, Ed Poprik, Chris Rosenblum, and Laurel Zydney
II. State High Project 60% Feedback Forum
Being held Wednesday, April 22 , 2015, 6:00 p.m., State High South Cafeteria. The subcommittee members discussed the draft agenda. Committee members discussed three planned breakout sessions: general, music and performing arts, physical education and athletic spaces.
Dr. O’Donnell noted that the Forum will talk about the design process and how decisions will be made through the Board. Physical education teachers want to make sure they have enough instruction space, athletics people would like to have at least status quo or better facilities, and Crabtree architects will need to explain why certain athletic and performing arts design features are alternate bids.
People are welcome to come to the forum so they know what’s going on and to share their thinking. They need to understand what’s going on first and there are misunderstandings out there from people who might not have been following or paying attention to what has been discussed. The members discussed posting online design feedback comments. No names, but the feedback could be presented as a checklist and also putting design files online. Discussed the best way to present high-resolution files online for clarity and it was suggested to have files on Google drive instead of our servers. It was recommended to have paragraph form updates to make sure people are coming to the district website for updates and correct information. Dr. O’Donnell noted that a checklist is the key, and transparency is very important. Both District personnel and Board can point people to the website. It may also be helpful for bios to be added to project design team members, such as acoustics engineers, to establish credentials with community members.
Mr. Hardy suggested there be a way to let people know that website information has been updated; that would be helpful. Subcommittee member asked if there’s a way to acknowledge people who leave comments in the drop box? Yes, it’s automatic, but it could be reviewed to see if it could be better.
Dr. O’Donnell noted the importance to communicate when discussing potential add alternate bids, that the high school will have the best resources within the budget, not best money can buy. The community said it would support a school at $115 million, not $150 million and if we added $20 million now, this would be easy, but the District has other schools that need renovations; and add alternates’ fundings would have to come from existing district funds. We need a message that would help give a perspective on financial factors weighing into Board design decisions and puts into context that we’re looking at a big school district. The Board has a contract with community; unless the District can find the money for the adds, we have to stick to what we have said. It is very important listening to all the people and responding to their feedback at this point.
III. High School Project: Groundbreaking Ceremony Plan
The Subcommittee members moved this up for discussion before agenda item II because Mr. Poprik had to leave early. Dr. O’Donnell provided a quick overview of the planning so far. Thursday, May 14, 2015 is the chosen date, with May 15 being the rain date. The event will begin at 4:00 p.m. and this time was selected rather than 9:00 a.m. so that teachers and students could attend without disrupting a school day after so many winter disruptions occurred. Mr. Poprik explained the location would be a wide, grassy slope on the South Building side closest to the Weis Market Plaza because of the space for people and that early construction there will provide a good photo backdrop. The group had a discussion on printed invitations for selected guests, a District email for most, and District needs to extend invitations to key local supporters, state legislators, PDE secretary, the governor, to name a few. Discussed the ceremony agenda, inclusion of some entertainment, and the opportunity for multiple photos of different combinations of designated people shoveling ground. Guests will include Board members (including student representative Reilly Ebbs), administrators, politicians, municipal officials, business leaders, and other key supporters. Mr. Poprik pointed out this groundbreaking ceremony would be a little odd because, usually, such events come after all the design is wrapped up. But during this one, some design issues will still be up in the air.
Dr. O’Donnell noted this is a milestone but a lot of work to do. Board Leadership will get together to coordinate key points for remarks. We do not want people to think we’re done with the design dialogue, or that the Board and district won’t be taking feedback any more. Scott DeShong should be included as a speaker because he’s been involved heavily with design meetings. Spoke on the possibility of others that should speak also. For parking, the invitations should direct people to the South Building parking lot.
Mr. Poprik and Ms. Montovino left at 9:30 a.m.
IV. High School Project: Construction-related Communications
Mr. Rosenblum and Ms. Brennen provided an overview of the communications plan to keep the high school community and local stakeholders informed of updates and breaking news during the high school construction. School community members automatically will receive email updates. Everyone else will register for email, text and phone notices. School community members also can opt in for text notices and decided phone calls will be made only in the event of emergencies. The district technology staff is developing the online registration interface. The goal is an April 20 rollout of the registration.
Discussion took place about how to reach key stakeholders and promote the signup.
Dr. O’Donnell suggested reaching out to neighborhood associations (Greentree and Holmes-Foster, for example) for help in spreading the word through their email listservs, and also Betsy Whitman and Friends of State High for contacts. Mr. Leous suggested reaching out to local realtors through Centre County Association of Realtors and Ms. Zydney reminded all that the district should say thank you to residents for support at every opportunity possible. Promotion also would be through district social media, media and flyers. It was discussed and agreed that board members should also appear on local radio shows to promote the signup and discuss the design process. It is important to be honest there is a finite budget; we already have $2 million extra LEED grant; also Delta Program add; if other alternate bids/adds are approved, they won’t come through taxes but from existing district funds.
High School Project: Updating Project Web site
Ms. Brennen gave a brief overview of the current challenge of content management during construction. The solution would be a template shift and recommended that State High Project be its own site, focus on key images and messages. Then people could click links to find out more. The district can present more information at a glance. District can exploit the possible strengths of the existing template rather than buy a new one. Try to get a handle on the flow of information and identify what the key messages are. Message consistency will be a goal in making sure we get the messages that the Board wants to get out.
Dr. O’Donnell suggested regular check-ins with subcommittee members after consulting with Mr. DeShong and Mr. Hardy to see if there’s different thinking in the community … there could be something going on that we’re missing. Ms. Concepcion noted that the Board meeting previews are an effective communication tool and should be continued, and Ms. Brennen told subcommittee that communications office was told by a high school parents communications advisory group that they want all information on the website and she discussed a permanent rotating SHP feature and page link on the District website slider. Also an idea suggesting an ongoing blog on State High Project (SHP) site from board members perspective, but it was noted it should be the Board President rather than all members.
V. “Document the State” Initiative to Capture the “Old” State High through Images
Mr. Rosenblum and Ms. Brennen provided an overview of a proposed collaboration with high school students, faculty and staff to document the interiors and exteriors of the North and South buildings in the school year’s final weeks before construction alters the landscape. The goal is to encourage school community members to take photos of places within the campus that matter to them and, by doing so, create a historical archive. Photos will be tagged with the #DocumentTheState hashtag and posted on, with prizes awarded in different categories. They will meet with high school journalism students Monday to hear their thoughts about promoting the project among students. The planned start is April 20, with May 15 the last day for submissions. From May 18 to May 29, entries will be judged and the display site will be built.
VI. Public Comment
There was no public comment.
VII. Adjournment
Mr. Leous adjourned the Board Subcommittee for Communications meeting at 10:28 a.m.
Formatted by,
Mary Jenn Dorman
Board Secretary