- Future of Schools
Districts have always been tasked with building community and ensuring student safety while in the classroom. Now, the stakes are even higher as districts continue to recover from the disruption of the 2020 pandemic. An effective crisis communications plan is critical to helping districts move forward.
Learning from the Moment
We studied the communications strategies of four school districts during the 2020-2021 school year to understand best practices and innovative strategies. The report includes sample materials that these Mississippi school districts used as well as resources for all districts to use no matter what challenges they may face going forward. These resources include templates for school district communications professionals.
As districts look toward the future, they are continuing to develop strategies to reopen schools safely for students. To successfully transition to a new year, schools must have a strong communications plan.
The pandemic reshaped school communications, forcing districts to rely more heavily on remote methods, rather than paper notices or face-to-face interactions, to meet the evolving needs of stakeholders. When used effectively, these new methods led to higher community engagement than in pre-pandemic times.
Where the foundational conditions
for effective communications existed prior to the pandemic, districts had an easier time shifting to the new reality. Districts should ensure they have developed these foundational conditions as soon as possible.
Effective communications in a crisis use the same basic principles as communications in ordinary times with some important shifts. Districts should be aware of these shifts in order to plan for future crises.
MacKenzie HinesFormer Chief of Staff
MacKenzie led communications and operations work at Mississippi First. Learning from the Moment is the first major publication she authored with Mississippi First. She was the lead designer for all Mississippi First publications since 2013.
Aerial AdamsPolicy and Communications Fellow
While at Mississippi First, Aerial was responsible for assisting in policy and communications activities. Learning from the Moment is her first major publication with Mississippi First. She served as Mississippi First’s Communication and Policy Fellow from 2020-2021.