Communications Audit 2017

Strengthening two-way communication with the community is an ongoing District 64 goal. As with how we approach everything in District 64, we have a growth mindset toward our communication efforts.

To better understand what community members know and think about District 64 schools, in spring 2017 District 64 teamed with consultant Patron Insight to conduct a wide-ranging evaluation of our overall communications outreach. The goal was to determine what community members are thinking and talking about when it comes to District 64, whether we are on target in meeting their needs for information, and how we might improve.

In all, the opinoins of more than 1,200 individuals were collected as part of this process.

Patron Insight CEO and partner Kenneth DeSieghardt, author of School Communication That Works, presented the results of the evaluation and recommendations at the April 24, 2017 Board meeting. Read the full report (PDF) available here as a PDF, or view the presentation on video via the meeting link above, or see the presentation slides.

The rich insights gained from this study will guide District 64 in its continuous improvement efforts surrounding our two-way communication efforts.

Research Tools
Patron Insight used a variety of research tools to gather both qualitative comments and thoughts as well as quantitative data from a multi-dimensional audit process. Members of the community who do not currently have students in District 64 schools were an important focus.

  • Patron Insight conducted random telephone surveys carried out by its partner, Market Research Associates, via both cell phones and landlines of 400 non-parent community members. An online survey also was emailed to current families and staff members, and was available for local residents via the District 64 website.
  • Patron Insight assembled four focus groups with non-parent community members and conducted individual phone interviews with about 15 community opinion leaders. Additionally, Patron Insight conducted individual, in person or phone interviews with all Board members, and also conducted individual interviews with District 64 administrators and school principals.
  • Rounding out its evaluation, Patron Insight reviewed outbound communications from the schools and District over the past two school years, including print and online publications, social media (Facebook, Twitter), blogs, websites, news releases, email messages, video podcasts, and a variety of other materials teachers, schools and the District use to communicate with our community.

Previous Studies
This evaluation is similar in spirit to a system-wide assessment District 64 conducted by consultants from the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) in 2015, which helped lay the groundwork to develop the District’s 2020 Vision Strategic Plan. It also builds on a spring 2016 Thoughtexchange online conversation, which asked community members what the schools and District were doing well or could improve, and how they felt about the areas of focus within the Strategic Plan. Nearly 1,200 stakeholders participated in that first-ever online forum.