Throughout months of focus groups, surveys and meetings regarding Good Spirit School Division’s new strategic plan, one piece of feedback kept coming up: better communications.
At its regular meeting on September 26, the school board accepted a new Comprehensive Communications Plan from Lynel Martinuk, the division’s communications coordinator.
A survey conducted in March indicated that 82 per cent of internal respondents and 76 per cent of external felt their expectations were being met moderately well or very well. The board agreed this is not good enough. A formal analysis of the division’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the division listed communication as the top challenge and or weakness facing GSSD.
Some of the problems identified were: consistency, speaking with a common voice, understanding the message, poor awareness of the interconnectedness between goals and actions and the lack of a strategic communication plan explaining actions and decisions.
On the other hand one of the perceived strengths was that the division is generally “perceived positively by the public.”
“So, it’s not like we’re starting from scratch,” Martinuk said.
The communications coordinator identified five major goals starting with strengthening internal communications to ensure consistency and common voice in messaging. This, Martinuk said, is her top priority in the short term.
Over the longer term, Goals 2 through 5 are: increasing and strengthening external two-way communication among home, school, division and communities; improving school division accountability to all stakeholders and allowing opportunities for a better understanding of education; increasing engagement in school division activities through improved promotion of successful division activities and initiatives and; increasing accessibility of school division information by better defining and strengthening current practices as well as increasing the number of channels that information can be obtained.
Martinuk suggested the timeframe for implementing the entire plan could be three years.
Norman Casavant, deputy director of education cautioned that the plan was based on perceptual feedback rather than hard data. Martinuk acknowledged there was a gap and that she would need help collecting the data.
Overall, the board was happy with the draft and accepted it with minor modifications.