Consistent and positive messages build community support for your schools. Districts of all sizes can successfully navigate the branding process, clearing communications clutter and getting down to the heart of education – our students. It’s good to know WSPRA is there to help you along the way.
Jerry Schuetz, a WSPRA member and communications supervisor in the Milton School District, turned to WSPRA to boost his skills and network with professionals who have undertaken the branding process.
A Need for Consistency
“It was very important for us as a district to go through the rebranding process,” said Schuetz, who is Milton’s first communications professional. “Fortunately, we have a community that is very supportive of our school district, and we strive to be among the best in all that we do in terms of offering an exceptional educational experience to our students and families. However, we were not visually representing ourselves consistently.”
That became more apparent as district officials met with parent groups and staff, few of whom recognized the district’s logo, mission or values statement. To solve that problem, the district gathered staff and community input through an Identity Team which met in conjunction with Milton’s Community Stakeholder Driven Strategic Planning Team.
“Our Identity Team included staff members from each grade level, our athletic director and band director,” he said. “People met monthly, and worked to develop a logo we could all own and of which we could be proud.”
“Opportunity, achievement and community symbolize what we are about, and are identified in our new logo,” said Schuetz, noting that before the process the district had 31 different visual representations. “Consistency in our visual presentation helps internal stakeholders feel a greater sense of connection to the district, and external stakeholders more easily recognize our school district.”
As the Milton Area School Districts began full implementation this spring and made plans for unification of the district’s schools into one mascot in the 2015-2016 school year, Schuetz said there is an even greater connection between schools and the community.
WSPRA provides valuable information
Since the communications position was new to the community, WSPRA provided a lot of valuable information that helped guide the process.
“I gathered information from WSPRA’s website and publications that explained the value and critical importance of branding,” he said. “I also utilized the conference presentations to share with our administrators and athletic directors that focused on both product and process to ensure our process was developing ownership in our new brand, and wasn’t simply just new art.”
“Learning from fellow WSPRA members, who ‘had been there and done that,’ and the resources they provided us in the rebranding effort, are among the many reasons I’d encourage people to join WSPRA,” he said. “We can and do learn so much from each other. Sharing experiences and processes that either worked or didn’t work really helps in problem solving and relationship building efforts. I’d strongly encourage anyone considering to join to do so, as few things are as important in life as the relationships we build and maintain as we serve students and families. WSPRA provides a lot of valued resources to help us communicate and serve even better.”