Executive Summary

Communications and Infrastructure

Create a Communications Campaign

To successfully develop and implement a new or reformed evaluation system, states will need to prioritize communications to ensure that all audiences—from educators to teachers' unions to legislators to the general public—are kept well-informed.  Teachers, administrators, elected leaders, unions, parents, and other stakeholders should have a good understanding of the process for planning and launching the evaluation system and its goals.  States should develop a clear, proactive communications strategy, timeline and set of core messages to address the needs of each audience. People will want to know exactly what the new evaluation program will mean for them.  

Policymakers also need to build the infrastructure and ability to communicate by establishing channels to reach each key audience.  This effort will also require a budget to hire additional staff if necessary, buy advertising, pay for mailers, and cover other associated costs.  Policymakers should plan carefully to make sure the dollars set aside for communication efforts are used most effectively.

The large-scale communication effort is different from individual teacher engagement because it is trying to reach all key stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, leaders, education advocates, and more –  to keep each group apprised of the effort.  The engagement effort targets teachers specifically with the goal of getting them involved and contributing to the design and improvement of the evaluation system.

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Key Questions

  1. Who will be responsible for managing the state’s communications efforts?
  2. What audiences will be given the highest priority, and what communications vehicles will be used to keep them informed?
  3. What will be the best methods for the state to use to keep all audiences informed and supportive of the new evaluation system?
  4. What can the state do to reach and engage the most teachers?
  5. What groups or organizations could policymakers partner with to speak to teachers, such as unions?
  6. How can the state design a proactive communication strategy or campaign that’s aligned with the benchmarks and timeline of the evaluation program’s implementation?
  7. How can the state design the communication strategy to be more proactive than reactive?
  8. How frequently will information be shared with key stakeholders?
  9. How much in funding will need to be budgeted specifically for communications efforts, such as hiring staff, buying advertising, and covering other associated costs?
  10. How can financial resources be used the most effectively to reach key audiences?

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