How to talk about school district improvement
California Education Partners
At Spitfire, we believe educational equity is an important step to building a more inclusive, compassionate society. That’s why we’re proud to have worked with California Education Partners (Ed Partners) on a multiyear engagement to advance its broader work to improve outcomes for California’s small to midsize school districts, students and educational staff as well as highlight its individual offerings that help schools tackle specific challenges, like ensuring students in early grades are experiencing cohesive growth and learning and students in later grades are well-equipped to graduate with college and career options. To advance those goals, we created a set of branding materials, rolled out trainings for Ed Partners’ staff on how to communicate in a unified voice and developed tailored promotion tactics for promoting Ed Partners’ different offerings.
As Ed Partners geared up to reach more partners, it recognized the importance of ensuring its brand conveyed a commitment to student success via the educators it works with at all levels of school districts. Ed Partners reached out to Spitfire to work together again and clarify its brand as a partner who’s “walked in your shoes and stands by your side” – and shares a commitment to helping districts learn how to make their schools work better for all students and set them up to succeed in life. The brand promise describes how Ed Partners has been where teachers have been and sees where they want to go, and that promise now guides Ed Partners in its tone and approach for introducing its work.
After taking important steps to clarify its organizational identity, Spitfire partnered with Ed Partners to create shared language to talk about the pillars of its work, unique approach, value to partners and vision for California’s students. We partnered to craft stories to bring its approach to life. To ensure Ed Partners staff understood that new approach and took advantage of the communication tools, we then guided staff through a series of trainings to orient them to the brand strategy, introduce the organizational messaging and provide the opportunity for them to develop their own spiels, and we guided them through the tailored messages we developed and an overall messaging tool to move their audiences to action. The team walked away with a sense that communication is a part of the job for everyone in the organization.
After laying a strong foundation, Ed Partners was ready to use strategic communications in an intentional way to advance its organizational goals and objectives and use its voice more publicly. Engaging in larger education conversations was new territory, so having clarity on its audiences and objectives was critical to mapping out an effective communications plan. Through a highly collaborative process, we partnered to create a plan that led to refreshing its web presence, launching its email program, taking its social media to the next level and engaging in thought leadership. Highlighting its perspectives on timely issues in education, grounded in the on-the-ground experiences of its staff and district partners, has helped Ed Partners attract new partners, raise its profile as a trusted voice among policymakers and further credential it with current and future funders.