By: Chris Piehler
In these days of school choice, even schools that are accustomed to being the only option in town have to compete for students with neighboring districts, charter schools, and home schooling. “Branding” may sound like something that only big companies do, but as Brianna Hodges, the director of digital learning at Stephenville ISD in Texas said during our appearance on Education Talk Radio this week, branding simply means creating a positive identity for your school or district. For educators just kicking off their branding efforts, here are three of Brianna’s simple tactics.
1) Start with a focus. Stephenville calls itself the “City of Champions,” so when Brianna and her team were branding a new tech initiative, the district built everything around the concept of iCHAMPION. People can be iCHAMPIONs, and the Stephenville team also uses iCHAMPION as a verb to praise anyone who works to support ed tech in the district. It’s a simple, catchy concept (with its own logo, as you can see above), and it sits at the center of the district’s outreach to the community.
2) When it comes to social media, meet teachers and parents where they are. Branding depends on teachers sharing their classroom successes with parents, and that means finding a sustainable way to keep those lines of communication open. And doing that starts with asking teachers and parents about their favorite social media sites, finding the common ground, and getting both sides in the habit of connecting.
3) Connect with local businesses. During the Education Talk Radio show, Brianna told a great story about how Stephenville, which is a Google Docs district, offers Google Docs training to employees at local businesses who need it. This not only supports the district’s tech-savvy brand; it gives students invaluable experience in an actual workplace.
To hear more of the clever branding ideas coming out of Stephenville, listen to the entire Education Talk Radio show.