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Column: Communications committee connects with community

By ZACH DINGMANN, District 518

WORTHINGTON — This year the District Communications Committee has been active in finding ways to reach out and communicate with local businesses. One of the committee’s goals is to create collaborative partnerships with local businesses and other stakeholders. Effective communication happens when quality opportunities are created to share information with each other.

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The District Communications Committee is relatively new. The committee was established as a result of the 2008 Accreditation External Review. Following the review, the district adopted the “Effective Schools” framework that includes three instructional-based and three operational-based committees. This year the District Communications Committee created and piloted two different programs. These programs include hosting “Business Appreciation Nights” and also the “Adopt a Business” program. These two programs were started in January of this year and have been successful.

“Business Appreciation Nights” recognized local businesses during home sporting events. Several local businesses were contacted and asked if they would like to be recognized during a winter sporting event of their choice. These businesses were given enough free passes for their employees and families to attend the game. The business was recognized several times throughout the game and during intermissions of the event. These nights were a great way for the school district to show their appreciation for the support that is received from local businesses.

The “Adopt a Business” program entails regular communication between a local business and a classroom on a monthly basis by sharing emails, letters, cards or other options. Business employees may be involved by choosing to read to the class, help with projects, or volunteer to chaperone field trips. The goal is to allow our classrooms the chance to reach out and connect to local businesses. This program allows students to learn the importance of becoming active community participants. In turn, businesses learn about the different things students are learning every day in school.

Both programs started this year by the District Communications Committee have been successful and show great promise. The committee hopes to expand both of these programs next year and continue to promote effective communication between the school district and local businesses.

Zach Dingmann is an assistant principal at Prairie Elementary.