SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – Dr. Joan Mast, superintendent of Scotch Plains-Fanwood schools, announced during the Thursday, Oct. 15 Board of Education meeting that the District will engage in a communication planning process with all stakeholders taking part.

Beginning in Nov., the district will seek feedback from employees, parents of students, and community members on how they receive information and whether they consider the communication to be effective. Employees and parents of students will be emailed a link to complete the survey. Members of the Scotch Plains and Fanwood communities will be able to access the survey through the district's website.

The online portal will open on Nov. 2, 2020, and constituents will have until Nov. 15, 2020 to participate. The communication surveys are conducted online in a secure portal and take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Questions revolve primarily around the district’s communication mechanisms, the effectiveness of communications in key areas of importance to each audience, and whether the communication is considered to be accurate, timely and trustworthy. The surveys are available in both English and Spanish and participation is completely anonymous.

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Because the reliability of the results increases with the percentage of people taking the surveys, participation is key.

“We strongly encourage everyone to take the time to give us this extremely important feedback,” urges Dr. Mast.

Once completed, the district will receive reports of the results and an individualized review pointing to school communications program standards based on the District's highest and lowest performing areas. This review helps the district identify opportunities to improve communications and prioritize next steps. Developed by leaders in school communications, the surveys are rooted in research and align with nationally developed standards for effective school communication.

In January, a series of focus groups will be conducted by a communications consultant for both internal and external stakeholder groups. Participants will be asked a series of questions related to district communications to gain first-hand feedback.

“By conducting surveys and focus groups, we are taking the guesswork out of our communications. We intend to learn more about the communication preferences of our stakeholders and whether we’re providing enough information about key topics and issues. The ultimate goal is to develop a comprehensive communications action plan that meets the needs of our school community,” Dr. Mast explained.

The survey data and focus group feedback will be utilized to develop a communication action plan. The communications action plan is expected to be presented in March 2021.

“Effective communication is essential to supporting our students’ success as well as our success as a school district. We need to hear from our constituents on what is working and what is not working, and we ask everyone to participate,” Dr. Mast said.

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