School board adopts communications plan – Newton Daily News

On August 22, school board members approved a five-year communications plan for the Newton Community School District, which ultimately provides a guideline for how the district distributes messages to staff, students, and families for information. general, emergencies and other scenarios throughout the year.

The plan was developed in part by the School Improvement Advisory Committee.

SIAC member Jordan Bell said the committee discovered there was so much communication coming out of the school district. While that’s a good thing, she says, it can sometimes be overwhelming and cause people to miss crucial information.

SIAC broke down the types of communication the school district would send, as well as the platforms on which those messages are sent. For example, the school district may communicate messages through its website, email, local media, text and voicemail, and social media pages.

Depending on the type of message the district wants to convey, another form of communication may be used. The types of messages handled by the district include: general information, emergencies, early layoffs, delayed opening, school closures, weather, common forms, and breaking news.

Some less relevant types of communication such as general information, breaking news or common forms will be presented on the website or via email or social media. However, emergency information, early layoffs, delayed openings, closures, and weather-related communications will be sent to all platforms.

In addition to determining which platforms to use for certain messages, SIAC recommended that the school district also hire a communications and engagement secretary to oversee all communications and social media pages. Newton Superintendent Tom Messinger said the plan consolidates communications.

“One of the things that came out during our conversation was that there was a parent in the group who had children in more than one building. So you can get a certain type of information one way from one building and you get used to it, but then it comes in a completely different way from another building,” he said.

The communications plan is coming in and bringing it all together, Messinger said. The same type of information would be provided consistently from all sources.

As for social media platforms, the Newton School District might consider adding TikTok to its list. Messinger said that currently, people who have children aged 6 and under use TikTok as their primary social media source, as opposed to Facebook or Twitter.

School board members Liz Hammerly and Ray Whipple participated in the SIAC meetings that ultimately led to the creation of the plan. Whipple said it was largely a community-driven process. Hammerly agreed and said what struck her was the amount of postings from social media.

“Sometimes you have a post about a school that no one from the school had done, and then it’s been shared so many times. So I think that’s a very important piece that we need to be able to effectively utilize whatever the community, in terms of resources, has to offer,” Hammerly said.

Messiner said the creation of the plan also exposed ineffective means of communication. Last year, one of SIAC’s goals was to prioritize the mental health of student staff. The administration has implemented employee and student assistance programs. Some SIAC members were unaware of the program.

“So we had a program in place that came out of SIAC last year, but because of communication that wasn’t well orchestrated, people didn’t know about it,” Messinger said. “…That way we’ll be able to better spread the word about some of these things that are in place.”

Eventually, the school district will distribute its communication plan to families. A digital copy of the plan can be viewed in the August 22 school board calendar.

Included in the physical coptic of the communication plan, several QR codes can be scanned and direct people to certain websites or social media pages. Some of the codes direct people to the council meeting website and a link where parents can request free and discounted lunch.

Other QR codes allow parents to download the app to access Infinite Campus and Here Comes The Bus.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 560 or [email protected]

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