Chris R. Vaccaro is a communication professional from Long Island. He brings a full service approach on a hands-on, individual basis with clients.
Strategy and Commitment
- Building, and maintaining a positive culture and identity: Every message is about building the identity of the school district. Communication is the first and last line of output from the school. It’s what people see, it’s what people read, hear and know. We can control this messaging.
- Community first: The key to my communication strategy and approach is to first inform the community at-large and then seek publicity for specific story placement. The taxpayers, students, parents, faculty, staff, administration and alumni should all be informed by the district about district activities, events and news. Publicity is a key element of strong public relations, but engagement and coverage can be tackled more effectively in-house if done correctly and consistently.
- Personal relationship with clients: I’m not a corporation or a firm with countless clients. It’s me, and I have a hands-on approach and an open-dialogue with everyone involved.
- Efficient and consistent: This coverage is not just about whenever something happens; it’s about creating news and events to keep everyone thinking about your institution constantly.
Scope of Full Communication Support
*Community Outreach: Set annual objectives and evaluate the district’s community outreach
- Serve as liaison between the district and media and supervise the production and distribution of news releases for district related activities and events.
- Serve as district spokesperson in areas of sensitivity or controversy for crisis management during emergencies and/or work with district legal team, administrators and board of education to facilitate a plan for specific situations.
- Provide professional public relations counsel for district administrators, faculty, staff.
- Crisis management, special events, event preparedness and marketing.
*Social Media: Help district create and maintain its official Facebook and Twitter pages, and work with district officials to make them a primary point of communication
*Web management: Help district maintain content on its website, monitor search engine optimization among other content initiatives online
*Publications: Assist with the development, writing, production and distribution of a resident newsletter (digitally, preferably), the annual budget newsletter (published each April) and other publications as needed by the district
- Recommend innovative avenues of communication for external and internal audiences.
- This includes working with the information technology and instructional technology staffs.
- Includes social media, blogs, podcasts, video channels, apps or any type of digital technology that will better help the district’s communication practices.
*Support/Feedback: Solicit feedback through activities with the community
*Communication flow: Create a communication flow inside the district for administrators/faculty/staff to pitch story ideas and content initiatives
*Communication audit: One time report on all communication practices in the school district so that we can build a program together that works effectively
*Lectures: Instructional classes for students and staff about media, social media and communication inside and outside of the school setting
*Information Liaison: Serve as information liaison between the entire school system and the community. Inform, engage and communicate district news
Examples of Communication Initiatives
- Consultation, creative direction, content management
- Sachem has a radio station, so I do either weekly hour-long shows, or record one-minute news updates that play every hour on the hour
- This can be done even without a radio station, and the audio can live exclusively online
- edu is run by Sachem’s IT department. It’s not ideal.
- Created SachemReport.com as a home for news and information related to Sachem. It gets thousands of views per week. All the content is positive and district friendly.
- With a strong district website, that would become the main home for news and info.
- Implementation, social outreach, monitoring, education and more.
- Every organization should have a functional Twitter and Facebook page. Sachem’s have grown to almost 10,000 followers combined since launching three years ago. It’s the first place people look for news and info on the district.
- There is also social media education needed for faculty and staff. Many teachers and coaches create school-specific accounts. That’s wonderful, as long as it’s used correctly.
- For reference: Twitter.com/SachemSchools and Facebook.com/SachemSchools
- Alumni news: I’m a big fan of profiling people from the school district and letting the community know about the influential figures succeeding.
- District history: old photos, stories about the founding fathers of the district and community.
- With the Athletic Office I like honoring student-athlete signings with special “Signing Day” ceremonies for all students going on to play college sports. This is a photo op and quick Q&A.
- Faculty and staff news: Many teachers and administrators are doing wonderful things in their career, so why not highlight it and let the community know?
- Nothing is too small: It could be a student painting with no significance. It could be small fundraiser in one elementary class. It could be a unique photo a principal takes. It’s all news and someone cares about it. Making the most basic and ordinary thing feel special is important.
Examples of content
- Q&A stories with officials, students, staff, faculty about their lives and careers
- Daily segments on web/social: inside the halls, throwback Thursday, district quotes, this day in history, alumni of the week, students of the week/month, staff of the week/month, etc.
- Photo galleries, video updates (brief quotes, or longer interviews)
- Always looking to expand on content horizons!