The Manheim Township School District is committed to open, authentic, and continuous communication. We recognize that nurturing a two-way conversation with our students, staff, families, and community is paramount in establishing meaningful relationships. These relationships, which align with our North Star guiding principle of creating a welcoming and supportive environment, serve as the cornerstone for a nurturing and challenging school environment.
During the spring of 2023, MTSD provided a Communications Survey to gather information, and to seek ideas as to how the district could better meet the communications needs of our families, staff, and residents. Below is a brief summary of the survey results.
- Of the 929 respondents, 79.4% were Parents/Guardians. 24% of respondents identified themselves as district staff.
- 16.7% of the respondents did not have children currently in the district. 31.2% have a child at the high school.
- District email/text messaging system and Building Principal Newsletter were the top primary communication vehicles of how respondents receive their news (71% and 61.8% respectively). Other communication tools that ranked high were district website (60.9%) and Sapphire (52.4%)
- District Email/Text Messaging was voted as the most valuable source of information for all respondents
- When asked how to make the district’s communications tools more effective, the following trends were identified:
- District website searchability and relevancy
- Consistency of use and better understanding of communication channels
- The 3 types of information that respondents were most seeking: Information about upcoming events (84.9%), Highlights about happenings in the district (79.4%), District announcements (70.5%).
This plan was updated to establish a more comprehensive and integrated communications process, based on a data collection process which includes survey results, focus group data, anecdotal data, and North Star Communications Committee work for more effective communication with all stakeholders.
The Communications Plan is a working document and is intended to do the following:
- Provide a communications program that directly helps the district achieve its strategic goals.
- Foster strong relationships with district stakeholders.
- Provide a focus and direction for messages/methods in support of the district’s goals.
- Enable the district to present itself accurately to audiences.
Desired Behaviors and Attitudes
Through implementation of this plan, the following desired behaviors and attitudes are the focus:
Faculty, staff, Board of Directors, Parents, Students, Volunteers
- Keep informed on key issues affecting the district and students
- Work as a high-performing organization whose employees respect and value each other as well as customer feedback
- Exhibit district values of caring, integrity, and collaboration
- Exhibit District pride
Taxpayers, Senior Citizens, Business Leaders, Media, Legislators, Religious Leaders, Realtors
- Support the Manheim Township School District
- Exhibit trust in the schools and district
- Feel engaged and involved in their public schools
Goals are listed in no particular order of priority and should be recognized as integrated activities for achieving long-term success.
- Regularly communicate and engage all stakeholders in the school district’s established North Star, Mission Statement, and Core Values.
- Strive for clear, actionable, and concise communication, employing a focused set of communication channels to effectively deliver its messages to employees, families, students and the school community.
- Proactively engage in crisis and safety communication when appropriate, empowering stakeholders with timely and reassuring information to foster a secure and confident school environment.
Communication Goals & Strategies
Communication Goal #1
Regularly communicate and engage all stakeholders in the school district’s established North Star, Mission Statement, and Core Values.
The district should constantly work to reinforce messaging around its core values. These values tell the story of the Manheim Township School District and the approach it takes to providing access, opportunity, and excellent education for all.
- Core Values Reinforcement: Consistently create and share social media content and district website updates that uphold the district's core values.
- Showcase School Pride: Foster continual opportunities to engage all stakeholders through a variety of communication channels, including but not limited to features, interviews, spotlights, etc., ultimately demonstrating the district's core values in action.
- Effective Promotion: Develop and update digital/hardcopy marketing materials detailing the school district's core values, academic initiatives, extracurricular opportunities, events, etc., with the intention to maintain positive relationships with students, families, alumni, businesses, community partners, and members of the local news media.
- Engaging Events: Plan and coordinate events and initiatives that offer stakeholders exciting opportunities to build a sense of community through enjoyable district-wide activities.
- Family Engagement: Work with individual school communities to promote initiatives and events that actively involve families in understanding and embracing the district’s North Star, Mission Statement, and Core Values.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Hold monthly School Board work sessions and School Board meetings for public discussion of district and school business.
- School Community Feedback and Collaboration: Continue the use of a comprehensive feedback system that incorporates surveys and diverse committees at both district and building levels, fostering active engagement with stakeholders and utilizing their input to inform decision-making and improve educational practices throughout the district.
Communication Goal #2
Strive for clear, actionable, and concise communication, employing a focused set of communication channels to effectively deliver its messages to employees, families, students and the school community.
The district aims to streamline the number of communication channels used, prioritizing high-impact methods that stakeholders can rely on and familiarize themselves with
- Targeted Messaging: Tailor the content of district messages to specific stakeholder groups, with a focus on multilingual communication and adaptability.
- Consolidation & Streamlining: Evaluate the existing communication channels and identify opportunities for better integration and optimization.
- Centralized Communication Hub: Leverage the district website as a centralized communication hub for the school district and individual school communities, with a focus on the ability to access important updates, announcements, and relevant resources.
- Enhance District Website: Further optimize the district website as a high-impact communication channel by utilizing a user-friendly interface, providing relevant and updated content on a regular-basis.
Communication Goal #3
Proactively engage in crisis and safety communication when appropriate, empowering stakeholders with timely and reassuring information to foster a secure and confident school environment.
The school district aims to cultivate a culture of preparedness, collaboration, and trust among stakeholders. Through the timely and reassuring dissemination of information, the district seeks to empower individuals within the school community to make informed decisions, take appropriate actions, and contribute to a secure and confident environment conducive to teaching and learning.
- Emergency Communication Plan: Work with Safety and Security office to maintain a robust and proactive emergency communication plan that outlines clear protocols, roles, and responsibilities for disseminating information to stakeholders during crisis situations.
- Multi-channel Communication Approach: Implement a multi-channel communication approach when appropriate to reach stakeholders through various platforms, including text messages, email alerts, automated phone calls, and social media updates.
- Empowering Safety Education: Work with appropriate departments to empower district personnel by promoting comprehensive safety education programs that go beyond crisis response. Offer proactive safety training sessions, workshops, and resources that equip stakeholders with the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent potential safety hazards.
- Regular Safety Reminders: Regularly communicate safety reminders and protocols to stakeholders to reinforce a culture of safety within the school community. This can be achieved through e-newsletters, the district website, and email, ensuring that stakeholders are aware of safety procedures and can act accordingly during emergencies.
- Collaborative Partnerships: Continue collaborative partnerships with local emergency management officials, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations to enhance crisis communication efforts. These partnerships can facilitate the exchange of information, coordination during emergencies, and joint communication initiatives, ensuring a unified and effective response to critical situations.