A Director of Community Engagement will start in July 1.
The District 68 board voted to approve the creation of the position Monday night.
The new staff member would, among other responsibilities, help to create and maintain partnerships with local businesses and implement the district’s communication plan.
Building partnerships would bring more revenue to the district, Superintendent Cathy Skinner said in the April 30 board meeting. Implementing the communication plan would provide more consistency and follow-through to the district’s communication with parents, staff and the community.
“What’s lacking in this district is the communication,” Skinner said. “I think we need to be tooting our own horn. We do good things and it’s not getting out there.”
Having a dedicated communication staff person would also help in situations such as the . “It was very, very hard to be doing everything at the beginning of the school year and get the message out,” she said.
School district officials hope to hire someone to start July 1 in the position, which will offer a $50,000-$65,000 salary. The dollar amount was determined to be an “attractive opportunity,” Patrick Broncato, assistant superintendent for personnel, said.
Both Downers Grove School District 58 and have communication directors. District 68 currently has no staff person dedicated to communication and marketing.
The need to improve the district's communication has been an obvious one. In the district’s 19 focus groups to produce its five-year strategic goals last year, there were two common concerns, Skinner said: school lunches and communication.
That led the district to include the communication goal to "provide consistent and effective communication to all community stakeholders" and commission a district-wide communication audit.
The district reviewed the lengthy audit findings in February. Karen Kleinz, associate director from the National School Public Relations Association, strongly recommended adding a full-time communication director.
"If you don't, it's very hard to position yourself as a progressive and innovative district," Kleinz said. "You're surrounded by districts doing some pretty sophisticated things...Today's parents are communicating about everything and they expect us to be communicating and instantly responsive to them."