Board chair Phil Squire

London Catholic board developing a new communication strategy

By 
  • May 5, 2013

The London Catholic school board is proposing to spend up to $100,000 to revamp the board’s communication strategy.

If approved during the board’s budget meetings next month, a contract would be put up for bid as the board seeks a third-party audit of its current communication efforts as well as the development of a comprehensive improvement plan.

“Everything you can think of in terms of communication within our board we need to do better,” said board chair Phil Squire. “We do not have a comprehensive communication strategy for our board. We didn’t really know how we were communicating both internally to our students, parents, teachers (and) staff, and we didn’t know how we were communicating externally (to) the broader community.”

The new strategy is a response to concerns expressed to Squire by the board’s catholicity and communication committee, which comprises parents, board staff and local trustees.

Currently the bulk of the board’s communication efforts come via its recently redesigned web site. According to Squire though, that’s just not how people are communicating any more — at least not in London.

“They wait for the communication to come to them, they don’t go out and seek it necessarily.”

He added that many current students and parents are left in the dark regarding programming, facilities and even basic school board news.

While Squire sees value in the web site, it has allowed misconceptions to circulate.

“Externally we find there is a huge gap between the system we are running and what we are doing and what the public perception is,” said Squire. “There is a huge number of people who contact me on an ongoing basis and believe that our secondary schools will only admit baptized Catholics and that’s not true. That can be an attraction and retention issue.”

With the board facing declining enrolment, Squire said this issue needs to be addressed before things escalate to the point of school closures.

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