Today’s guest blog post comes from our partners at Edelman, the global public relations firm, to help share tips for crafting effective messages during urgent events. Leaders today are held to especially high standards as community safety and fiscal health are often at risk. In this era of 24/7 online information, the heads of government agencies, education institutions and business must maintain constant communication through a variety of channels – voicemail, text, email, social media, websites and news media – in order to effectively reach everyone in the community, wherever they may be, in a matter of minutes. A crisis can happen at any time, from a hurricane, tornado or wildfire, to a public health outbreak or safety threat. Leaders must have a crisis communications and response strategy in place and ready to implement for a variety of scenarios. To help keep your community safe and connected, we have compiled the 7 critical steps to for communications planning.
Here on the Connect blog, we often focus on big-picture issues like parental involvement or student achievement. But the more mundane matters of school governance – attendance or school nutrition programs – are vital to the well-being of students, and they can have a real impact on a K-12 district’s academic success and its bottom line. Schools employ a wide range of systems district to handle cafeteria translations, which can make it difficult to establish an effective process for tracking student information and communicating updates to parents. In the Essex Town School District school leaders found the AlertNow system, as powered by Blackboard Connect, to be a valuable time-saving tool for effectively communicating updates to parents regarding student accounts.
The impact of parental involvement upon student achievement is clear. Studies and research findings repeatedly show the strong correlation between the degree of a parent’s involvement with their child’s education and success in the classroom. For a decade now, school administrators and leaders have been using the Blackboard Connect™ platform to facilitate regular communication with parents to help encourage greater involvement with their child’s school or district. More recently, in 2010, we launched Blackboard Connect for Teachers – a tool that put the power of mass notification in the hands of classroom instructors as well. The Blackboard Connect for Teachers™ service makes it easy for teachers to reach parents with vital information about a student’s academic performance or classroom behavior. Today, we are introducing a new release of Blackboard Connect for Teachers. The new release adopts the streamlined interface of Blackboard Connect 5, and it includes over 1,000 comments for instructors to share with parents in 23 different languages. The new enhancements in Connect for Teachers can help parents become more aware and informed about their children’s performance through timely phone calls and email messages delivered in their preferred language.
Every year at Blackboard we look to celebrate educators and instructors with the annual Catalyst Awards. With the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, we recognize teaching and learning achievements and successes within higher education institutions. Sharing such accomplishments is not just about recognition: winning programs can be used and further developed among peers at other institutions to inspire future innovation. This year’s awards were especially notable for the Blackboard Connect team as the Communication Strategies category was introduced. Winners of the Communication Strategies award have made significant achievements at their institutions with programs that reach the right audience with the right message and via the right channel. No stranger to the Catalyst Awards, Dr. Dionne Curbeam, of Coppin State University, is this year’s Communications Strategies award winner. It is Dr. Curbeam’s second win at the Catalysts: last year, she was honored for her success in the Staff Development category.
Universities across the world are facing challenges to increase student enrollment and maintain retention. With the uncertain economic climate and the constantly increasing tuition prices at 4-year institutions, many undergraduate students are turning to community colleges to continue their education and obtain advanced degrees. While many 4 out of 5 enrolled students intend to transfer, community colleges offer a cheaper alternative for completing general coursework and can provide a foundation for many when adjusting to the rigors of the higher education learning environment. At Mountain View College, a part of the Dallas County Community College District, Donyan Rogers is making great strides in the college’s enrollment and retention by engaging and reaching students using the Blackboard Connect 5 system. Responsible for the college’s marketing and public relations efforts, Rogers uses a multi-channel approach to communicating with students, sending text messages, phone calls and updates to social networks to get the word out. Not just for urgent situations, the college has found using Blackboard Connect to be effective in sending general outreach information and targeting messaging for specific student groups.