Allerton Hill Blog

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Monthly Archives: April 2016

From the Podcast: Effectively Communicating During and After a School Shooting or Any Major Crisis

Communications in a School Crisis from the We Love Schools Podcast & Allerton Hill Consulting

April 25, 2016

This week’s podcast takes an honest look at school shootings and crisis situations from a school communications lens. We welcome Ellen Ondrey, the District Community Coordinator with Chardon Schools in Northern Ohio. Through conversation we seek to better understand both the process of dealing with a tragedy and the impact of crisis situations on schools as well as the community at ­large.

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.


 Visit the We Love Schools Podcast Website »

Posted in Community Outreach, Podcast
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How to Be Consistent when the Message Has Changed

Consistent Messaging when your Plans Change // School PR & Communications from Allerton Hill Consulting

April 23, 2016

The core of Allerton Hill’s message to schools is that consistency is key. We work with our clients to create long-term communications plans that will reinforce important issues, solidify support for initiatives and build a momentum towards progress. But what happens when a decision made by an outside party negatively affects your school — and possibly contradicts your messaging?

Whether it is a state budget cut, the departure of a key staff member or a voting decision that changes your planned course of action, it is imperative that leadership and communications create a seamless bridge between your prior communications and your new situation. There is no doubt that there will be complaints and questions, especially when funding cuts require that hard cuts be made in programming and growth campaigns.

When you have to change course, the most important things to remember is to honor the support you’ve earned through your communications and be honest, open to critique & feedback and hopeful.

1. Always have a plan for making major announcements — know who is going to announce what and when. Use a multi-pronged approach through social media, newspaper editorials, radio interviews, backpack express and using your key communicators as ambassadors for your message.

2. Publicize the impact this new situation has on your prior growth/programming/message. At the same time, publicize how you plan to counterbalance the negative impact.

• Will you be seeking alternative funding for budget cuts?

• Will you be hiring someone to replace an outgoing staff member? What will you do to fill the gap in the meantime?

• What does the new status quo mean for your school and its goals?

3. Always invite feedback — both through scheduled town hall meetings & Twitter chats and by keeping your communication channels (email, phone messaging, social media) open. Respond to all concerns, criticisms and ideas.

4. Focus on the positive aspects of your progress thus far and rally support to continue in a positive direction.

5. Don’t be afraid to express personal disappointment in this change of course. Show that you are personally invested in the success of the school and your community will remain invested as well.

A negative levy vote, budget cut or other “game changer”, especially one that leads to the loss of programs and/or staff will always lead to a knee jerk negative reaction from the community. By being consistent with past messaging, focusing on growth and alternative responses and relying on the good faith and strong relationships you have built, you can maintain the strong support you have worked so hard to grow in your community.

Posted in Campaigns, Community Outreach
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From the Podcast: Tech Trends with Keith Pomeroy

Technology Trends podcast from Allerton Hill Consulting for schools

April 21, 2016

This week’s show is a continuation about trends in technology. Carole welcomes back Keith Pomeroy, the Chief Technology Officer at Upper Arlington Schools in Ohio to fill us in on the latest and the greatest technology trends.

“You have to be open to flexibility… and you have to talk to kids. Pay attention to what’s happening in their world.”

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.


 Visit the We Love Schools Podcast »

Posted in Podcast, Technology
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Public Relations on a Budget

Public Relations on a Budget from Allerton Hill Consulting

April 17, 2016

When funds are tight, public relations programs are often the first to be cut and sometimes even eliminated. What districts should remember is that communication is how you will garner support for future projects, votes & community partnerships. Without strong positive messaging, your school is at risk of even further budget cuts and a lack of alternative resources.

For schools facing a tight budget, there are several ways to share your key message at little or no expense. Using these cost-effective strategies will help stretch your communications budget while reaching your core audience.

Build Your Media Relations

Your local newspaper, radio stations and television stations are all looking for local content. Find a go-to contact at each media outlet and build that relationship. Call/email them with new stories at least weekly. These stories should cover innovative programs, student achievements, upcoming school activities and, of course, consistent focus on your key messages. Offer to write a regular guest column or to be interviewed. Local media focuses on local news — this is your opportunity to shape the conversation!

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

The Federal Communications Commission requires that broadcast media operate “in the public interest”. PSAs are a way that TV stations fulfill that requirement. There is strong competition to get your PSA to air so make sure your PSA is short (about 30 seconds long), interesting & informative and that it meets the standard requirements for a news story: who, what, when, where and why. Submit your recorded PSA to the station’s public service or program director.

Social Media

PEW Research Center estimates that 74 percent of all internet users visit social media sites. There is no cost to join social media but you do need to be creative and strategic in your approach to your social media plan so that you are efficient, reaching your target audience and encouraging engagement. We always encourage our clients to start with Twitter — it is easy, mobile-friendly and works in “real time”. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many other platforms will help compliment and distribute your content and encourage feedback and further distribution among your followers.


Adding a blog to your school’s website allows you to communicate directly with your community on your own terms and in your own words. Make sure to use social media to drive traffic to your new blog posts in a coordinated effort.

Digital Newsletters

By transitioning your monthly newsletter to be email-based, you can eliminate postal and printing costs. You can either use a desktop publishing program and convert the file to a PDF to attach to the email or use a newsletter web-based service such as MyEmma or Mailchimp to create a newsletter with photos and simple email-friendly designs to send directly to your community’s inboxes.

Community Resources

Take advantage of the communications departments of your local government and libraries. Make sure to share important information prior to publication of newsletters and other regular communications so that they can include updates on your district and your current needs. You can also coordinate with their social media and website teams to share activities, news and upcoming meetings.

Town Hall Meetings

No matter how many tweets you send, you can’t beat the impact of a face-to-face meeting with your community. Town hall meetings empower districts to put a face to the policy, to reinforce their brand and to build real support for school initiatives. Answering questions in real time can help dispel myths, grow enthusiasm and make important issues personal for the community-at-large.

There are many tools and resources available to school districts that will help you share your message effectively and at little cost. Don’t let budget issues keep you from growing support for your school and important initiatives. Be creative and be open to new opportunities and new relationships. You’ll be surprised how much your strategy will pay off — and how impressed your community will be with your financial stewardship and ingenuity!

 Social media usage statistics from PEW Research Center

Posted in Budget & Finance, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Social Media
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From the Podcast: 1:1 Technology Initiative in Your School

1:1 Technology Initiative in Schools : a podcast interview from Allerton Hill Consulting

April 11, 2016

Today’s show is about technology and 1:1 initiatives in public schools. Technology can be a great equalizer for students, but understanding all sides of implementation and day­to­day use is crucial to the success of any 1:1 technology program. Our guest is Keith Pomeroy, the Chief Technology Officer at Upper Arlington Schools in Ohio where they have recently successfully launched a 1:1 initiative.

“…changing what is possible in the classroom.”

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.


 Visit the We Love Schools Podcast Website »

Posted in Education, Podcast, Technology
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From the Podcast: Perseverance, Grit, and Love

Perserverance, Love & Grit -- a podcast episode on leadership & love with Tom Burton, Assoc Superintendent from Princeton City Schools

April 6, 2016

Today, Carole speaks with Tom Burton about nurturing perseverance, grit, and commitment in today’s K­-12 students. The role educators and parents play is key and not necessarily always easy (loving in the unlovable moments). Our guest is Tom Burton, the associate superintendent of Princeton City Schools.

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.


 Visit the We Love Schools Website »

Posted in Education, Podcast
Keywords: , , ,