A Spotlight on PR

A Year Long Series

A Collaboration Between

Keep Indiana Learning

Meet the Facilitators

Joe Donovan

Jerry Gallagher

Dr. Lori Mueller

Paul Weller

Communication for Resilient Leadership

Effective communications and community engagement have always been important to our work in education. However, getting communications right is even more critical as we emerge from the pandemic.

Join the Donovan Group along with CIESC Media Services and Keep Indiana Learning in this year long series of events focused on public relations. Discuss and engage with top industry professionals on how education leaders can confidently and effectively engage their entire school district community in a post-COVID-19 era while navigating political turbulence and the other day-to-day challenges we face.

Each event will reinforce the importance of taking the high ground, raising the dialogue about public schools, and engaging communities in the work of serving all students.

Three Ways to Engage

Live Virtual Engagements

Join the Donovan Group in monthly live Zoom events, hosted by the CIESC Media Services team and Keep Indiana Learning. Each session will provide thoughtful insights on high impact topics, opportunities to engage, and “ask an expert” segments.

Systems Talk! Podcast

Listen on-the-go to the important insights from our monthly webcasts. This season of the Systems Talk! podcast will focus on essential public relations and communications topics for schools and districts.

YouTube Highlight Shorts

Subscribe to the Keep Indiana Learning YouTube Channel where we will curate short segments of our monthly webcasts in shareable, rewatchable format!

Who should Attend

School and district level administrators and communications professionals including communications directors, superintendents and assistant superintendents, web masters, and all those who create content for the public.

At-a-Glance Schedule of Topics

Communications Safety Self-Audit led by Lori Mueller and Jerry Gallagher
Just in time for back to school, this session will help you review the basics of effective crisis communication planning, from sending timely communications to staff and parents during a crisis situation to responding to the media to addressing rumors and mistruths. Join us for this session to cover the basics of communications planning. 
Communications Planning: The Basics led by Joe Donovan
What is means for school districts to communicate effectively has changed in recent years.  In this session, we will focus on how to get ahead of the communications and stakeholder engagement curve by presenting a step-by-step plan for establishing communications goals, assessing current communications and engagement efforts and creating a communications plan that addresses the district’s unique messages, its critical stakeholder and the tools to engage.
Media Relations for School Leaders led by Joe Donovan
Although the media has always been key to school and school district leaders, having the knowledge and skills to effectively convey messages and avoid common media-related pitfalls is more important than ever. In this session, we will explain how stories develop, as well as how to answer reporters’ questions, interview effectively and deal with especially difficult reporters. 
Crisis Communications: The Basics led by Joe Donovan
Over the years, the Donovan Group has worked with hundreds of districts across the country on various crisis communications efforts, from the merely embarrassing to the truly tragic. In this session, we will discuss his process for assessing the need to communicate, relaying key information quickly and handling sensitive situations.
School District Branding and Messaging led by Joe Donovan
Every school district has a unique story, and knowing that story and how to communicate it is critical to your district’s success.  In this session, you will learn how to create your district’s story – its messages – with the buy-in from staff, parents, and board members.  You will also learn how to how to embed that story in your various communications efforts so that it becomes self-perpetuating.  
December 14
11:00AM ET
Communications Planning: Marketing led by Paul Weller and Jerry Gallagher
Changes in state-level policy and how parents view schools has created a need for districts to consider communications and stakeholder engagement as a marketing opportunity. In this session, we will explore the various ways in which schools and districts across the state and country are marketing themselves. He will also share various marketing tools and tactics. 
January 26, 2023
12:00PM ET
Communicating in Times of Change led by Joe Donovan
To say that we are living through a time of great change is a dramatic understatement. The question then, is at a time of significant political turbulence who do we meaningfully create two-way conversations with stakeholders in a way that leads to authentic engagement and builds trust with our stakeholders? In this session, we will provide a roadmap for bringing diverse stakeholders together around shared values for our children. 
February 21st
11:00AM – 12:00PM EST
Self-Website Audit: The Basics led by Joe Donovan
For many of us, whether we manage a few pages or whole website, making the kinds of ongoing adjustments to our school or district’s website can feel like huge task, especially in light of all of our other responsibilities. In this session, we will help you to both assess your current website and create a process of continuous improvement that is manageable and effective. 
March 14th, 2023
11:00AM – 12:00PM EST
Using Video to Break Through led by Lemmy Saylor and Jerry Gallagher)
Among the most important communications advancements in recent years is the use of video. From simple school tours to showing students at work to the use of video to explain difficult-to-understand topics, video works. In this session, we will review how you can add video to connect and engage your entire district community. 
April 24th, 2023
11:30AM – 12:30PM EST
Strategies for Communicating, Gaining Support, and Advancing Initiatives led by Lori Mueller
Understanding stakeholders’ perceptions and expectations, and leveraging this information to achieve forward movement on district initiatives is fundamental to school and district-leader success. In this session, we will explore strategies and techniques to find common ground, gain consensus and garner school board support of vision, goals, and initiatives on behalf of learners and the school community.
May 9th, 2023
11:00AM – 12:00PM EST
Finishing the Year Strong and Planning Proactively for the New Year led by Lori Mueller
As we approach the end of the school year, it is a great time for us to remember to finish strong and to begin preparing for the new school year next fall. In this session, we will discuss some strategies for reflecting, making both incremental changes to fine-tune what is already working in terms of your school and district communication or overhauling what is not working. 

Register for the live monthly webcasts!

Register once to attend them all!

Recordings will also be available to all registrants after each live monthly event.

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