Allerton Hill Blog

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Category: Allerton Hill News

Marketing battle: Schools pull out stops to win students

April 3, 2017

TrustED (blog) by Todd Kominiak

Last week, a lawsuit brought by public school parents in Nashville, Tenn., against an area charter school network received class-action status.

According to News Channel 5, the lawsuit accuses RePublic Schools Nashville of spamming local parents with text messages aimed at siphoning students from Nashville Metro Public Schools to the company’s for-profit charter school network.

In total, close to 4,000 parents received the texts. Attorneys representing aggrieved parents are now seeking $1,500 in damages for each message.

It remains to be seen whether the parents will win their legal battle. Either way, the story shines a light on a reality that many public leaders suddenly face: Competition from charter schools, private vouchers, and other alternatives is real. And many of these schools are investing in marketing to attract families.

Joel Gagne is president of Allerton Hill Consulting, a marketing firm that contracts with public schools. His take: Public schools need to step up their game if they want to compete with other providers. “K12 leaders have to adopt the mentality that they are competing for these students. And they must understand that this is no longer a fair fight.

Continue Reading Here


Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Issues Facing Schools Today, Policy, Social Media, Strategies

We Love Schools — and now we have a podcast to prove it!

We Love Schools Podcast

January 13, 2016

We’ve been working with schools to share their story, to celebrate their successes and to find critical support for well over 2 decades and we still LOVE what we do. Joel & Carole, Partners at Allerton Hill Consulting, are taking that passion to the next level with the launch of our new podcast, “We Love Schools”. We are so excited to be launching this new way to engage with educators and share our experiences and insights. We will be talking with superintendents, communications experts and media specialists.

“We Love Schools” will be a weekly podcast that highlights success stories in school communications campaigns. We will address the issues, obstacles and benefits of communicating with your community in today’s all-access social media-driven world.

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.

Listen here to our 3rd episode where we talk with Allerton Hill’s very own Amanda Morris about personal and school branding:

 Visit the WE LOVE SCHOOLS Podcast Website »

Posted in Allerton Hill News, Community Outreach, Podcast, Social Media
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Dr. Thomas Tucker Named Ohio Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Thomas Tucker, Princeton City Schools, Ohio Superintendent of the Year

January 12, 2016

The Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) has named Princeton City School District Superintendent, Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D., the 2016 Ohio Superintendent of the Year.

According to BASA Executive Director, Kirk Hamilton, Ph.D., Tucker was selected by an esteemed panel of former Ohio Superintendent of the Year awardees.  The panel evaluated each nominee based on the candidate’s body of work and experience, but specifically the candidates were measured against the following criteria: Leadership for Learning, Communication, Professionalism and Community Involvement.

Tucker was nominated by Ms. Monica Green, a parent and small business owner in Worthington and Dr. Bobby Moore, Senior Director at Battelle for Kids.  Before coming to the Princeton City Schools this year, Dr. Tucker was the superintendent at the Worthington Schools in central Ohio.

“Thomas’s educational background as a distinguished teacher, coach, award winning principal and superintendent, and mentor to educational leaders across the state, as well as his international educational experience made him a tremendous asset to our community during his tenure in the Worthington City School District,” Green said of Tucker.

Moore stated, “Dr. Tucker is one of only a handful of educators in the state who has led both a building and district to the highest rating by the State Department of Education and a ranking in the top ten percent for growth. Dr. Tucker’s teams are able to accomplish feats like this because of his ability to set ambitious goals, empower those around him, and continually reflect and evaluate on the progress of those goals.”

On selecting Tucker for the award, Hamilton remarked, “Dr. Tucker’s passion for what he does has made him a highly effective superintendent. He has great vision and works hard. He is not afraid to take on the tough issues. Thomas is a great person and a committed educational leader. Princeton City School District will benefit from his strong sense of mission.”


 Read the original story here »

Posted in Allerton Hill News, Client Testimonials, Education
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Effective media relationships ensure your message is heard

December 5, 2015

There is more to working with the media than simply responding to questions.  You need to develop a cooperative relationship, and become a valued resource.

When you are on good terms with the local media, they can become an important tool in your district’s communications toolbox.  The media can enhance your image, or they can destroy it.  A relationship built on mutual respect benefits everyone.

To build a solid relationship, it is helpful to understand what the media looks for in a source.  Some tips:

  • Tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts. One needs to look no further than the current presidential race to understand that lies warrant headlines. The truth is rarely as interesting. This does not mean, however, that you must reveal every ugly truth or fact that will have a negative impact on your district. Sometimes, it is better to say nothing. But when you do speak, tell the truth.


Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Policy, Social Media
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Letters to the editor: get your message heard

December 2, 2015

Looking for a simple way to get your message heard?  Write a letter to the editor!

Letters to the editor are probably the best read section of a publication.  Whether you chose to contact a newsletter, newspaper, or magazine, letters to the editor are great ways to:

Complain, about unbalanced coverage, poorly conceived content or illogical editorials.

Set the record straight, about ill-conceived articles, inaccurate information, or unproven misperceptions.

Express a strong reaction, to community events, news coverage, and taxpayer issues.

Explore ideas, about life, community needs, and politics.


Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Policy, Social Media
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Using research to get your message heard

November 3, 2015

Building a communications plan without research is much like trying to shoot fish in a barrel:  You know your target is there, you’re just not sure where to aim.

Research should be the foundation for every communications plan.  Surveys, focus groups, online discussions, and interviews with key influencers provide the information required to set goals and objectives, develop key messages, identify target audiences, and create effective communications strategies and tactics.

Information must be gathered from every group that could impact perceptions about your schools, including students, staff, parents, businesses, the media, and the community. Each targeted group should be surveyed about perceptions and attitudes concerning the schools, effective communications vehicles, desired frequency of communication, and message effectiveness.


Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Social Media
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Communication is key in times of crisis

October 27, 2015

It’s 10 p.m. when you get the call.

The police have one of your teachers in custody. They just raided his home and found a basement full of marijuana plants, as well as bags of dried leaves. The teacher was turned in by a high school student, who reported that the teacher not only sold the drug to students, but also hosted “smoke parties” at his home. She provided photos taken on her phone, some of which are already posted on social media sites.

       The media has been calling for the past hour, but you decide to ignore them. After disconnecting your phone, you go to bed.

       Tomorrow is another day. 


It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to visualize circumstances that could throw a school district into crisis. From bad weather and school violence to legal problems, health epidemics, and facility breakdowns, the opportunities for a crisis present themselves daily.

How your district handles that crisis, however, could have a significant impact on community and taxpayer support.  Denial, failure to communicate, or a slow response, are simply unacceptable.


Posted in Allerton Hill News, Community Outreach, Social Media
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Why School Superintendents Should Act More Like CEOs

September 3, 2015

Public School SuperintendentThe pressure on public schools today is immense. Public Schools are expected to be all things to all people. Provide top scores on testing, be accountable for every penny of tax dollars being spent and solve all the social problems our society faces. This pressure has meant the job of superintendent has gone from difficult to nearly impossible.

One of the main critiques of schools that I hear is that they need to be “more like the private sector” when they are running their school districts. This is true in one regard. Superintendents need to start acting like the CEOs they are instead of the educator that many were trained to be.

The job of school superintendent can be brutal. It includes long hours at the office, high levels of public scrutiny, a labor face to keep engaged and building a management team that meets high-level expectations, all while over seeing a multimillion-dollar budget.

 Read the Rest of This Article by Allerton Hill's Joel Gagne on Huffington Post » »

Posted in Allerton Hill News, Budget & Finance, Education
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Clear & Decisive Communications during a Crisis Earns the Public’s Trust

June 3, 2015

From the Marysville Journal-Tribune, an editorial posted May 29, 2015,
regarding the Marysville school district, an AHC client.

“Refreshing to see school issues handled swiftly, openly”

The sudden removal of an elementary school principal and a high school teacher from their posts in the Marysville school district have been the talk of the town for the last month.

Many local residents have bemoaned both situations as black eyes for the schools. District officials and educators probably wish both situations would resolve themselves and go away. Eventually they will.

But I believe the public’s knowledge of the situations is a positive thing.

At the root of the issues are allegations made against two individuals, not against the district. The only claim you can make against the district is that it heard claims made against two employees and handled them swiftly.

This has not always been the case around this town.

Allegations of student/teacher relationships swirled around Marysville High School when I was there more than 20 years ago. Similar allegations have surfaced while I have worked at the Journal-Tribune.

On at least two of the occasions, educators quietly left the district to seek employment elsewhere. No formal action was raised by the school district and law enforcement was never involved. They simply headed down the road to become someone else’s problem.

Last year, Trinity Lutheran School found out what can happen when teachers seek employment in another state following allegations. The school was forced to deal with a situation in which a teacher passed a background check and was hired despite a scandal involving a student in Illinois. Trinity had nothing to do with the allegations and it occurred years before the teacher arrived at the school, but Trinity was forced to deal with it because the district in Illinois hadn’t.

With the recent events, residents can at least take heart that the allegations were dealt with quickly and publicly. Parents and, for the most part, the public have been kept apprised of updates with the cases.

Details continue to trickle out on both situations allowing citizens to decide who they believe.

For people in this area to think that public employees, including educators, don’t make poor decisions is arrogant. There is no bubble of absolute morality that protects this school district or county.

Bad apples can be found in any barrel. The only thing you can hope is that the person tending the barrel has the sense to pluck it quickly, rather than push it to the bottom and deny it was rotten.

 From the Marysville Journal-Tribune, (Full Article only available for paid subscribers) »

Posted in Allerton Hill News, Community Outreach
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Joel Gagne at the University of Michigan

February 8, 2015

Enhancing your Public Image in the Era of Social Media – Tips for Nonprofits


Posted in Allerton Hill News, Education, Social Media
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