The Sitka School Board wants to communicate directly with a more diverse audience than might be reading the newspaper, listening to radio, or watching TV. “In a way we’re taking ‘media’ out of our media strategy,” said board president Jenn McNichol.

The Sitka School Board wants to step up its game in the world of social media.

The board met in a work session recently (8-7-18) to brainstorm a strategy for improving communication from the district — using both traditional media, and newer platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

The board spent 90 minutes identifying the district’s needs, its objectives, and key audience.
Board member Dionne Brady-Howard commended the regular coverage by Sitka’s working press — the Daily Sentinel, Raven Radio, and KSCT Television — but noted that the district’s message could go farther.

“We’re reaching certain audiences regularly, but I think as we’re looking at a communication plan, we have to look at convenience and diversity, and what’s easiest for people to access,” she said. “Because people who really want to know are the ones who are going to stop and listen to the news story about what the highlights are that have been covered in the meeting. And the people who are really committed are going to stop and watch our 1-and-a-half to four-hour meeting on TV. But looking at a younger generation, we need to access multiple platforms with the idea of consistency, so that people are getting the same thing from us on Twitter as they’re getting on Facebook, which is the same thing they’re getting on an email list they may have signed up for.”

The board agreed to wait until after the October 2 municipal election to take action. Once the newly-elected or re-elected board is seated, each member will assume responsibility for a particular communication platform. Superintendent Mary Wegner said that the district could help hone the message using data already collected by the district. She also stressed brevity, consistency, and jargon-free language.

After that, it’s just a matter of letting people know where to find district information. “We’ll have to get the word out about how we’re getting the word out,” said Brady-Howard.