The Franklin County school system strives to improve student achievement and recruit and retain high-quality teachers. As a result, several committees have been formed to specifically identify areas where improvements need to be made to develop a system-wide approach to achieving defined goals. This story, featuring the brand committee, is the fourth in a Herald Chronicle series.)
The Franklin County school system is trying to improve its image and perception through a campaign highlighting its strengths and improving its weaknesses, led by the Brand Committee.
The committee recently updated the school board on the avenues members believe the system should take to achieve the goals of improving image and perception.
The Brand Committee is made up of educational and community leaders, including Eric Vanzant, Amy May, Kent Bean, Caley Hall, Deborah Harris, Tammy Donaldson, Sherry Sells, Dave Van Buskirk and Leah Harrell.
Vanzant, who is the director of Campora Family Resource, said successful businesses and corporations identify the key elements that separate them from the competition.
He used an example involving Amazon.com Inc., an American multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and artificial intelligence. It has been called “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world” and is one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Vanzant referenced the company’s logo which uses the name “amazon” and has a slightly drooping arrow starting with the first “a” and ending with “z” in its name.
He said the sign implies Amazon offers “everything from A to Z” and the arrow reflects a smile, casting the brand in a very positive light for consumers.
Vanzant also referred to FedEx Corp., an American multinational conglomerate holding company focused on transportation, e-commerce and services based in Memphis.
He said the name “FedEx” is a syllabic abbreviation of the name of the company’s original airline division, Federal Express, which was used from 1973 to 2000. Today, FedEx is best known for its service of air delivery, FedEx Express, which was one of the first major shipping companies to offer next day delivery as a flagship service.
Vanzant said the FedEx logo is cast with “Fed” in purple letters on an orange background and “Ex” is cast in orange letters on a purple background. He added that the sign is clearly recognizable to the public and strongly associates it with the company’s service image.
The next company Vanzant highlighted was McDonald’s, an American multinational fast food company, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California. They rebranded their business as a burger stand, then turned the business into a franchise with the Golden Arches logo introduced in 1953 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Vanzant said the Golden Arches in the logo are instantly recognizable to the public about what McDonald’s is and what it stands for.
He and other committee members stressed that the school system needs to develop its own brand identity to improve its image and how it is recognized by the public.
Vanzant referenced a segment used in the committee’s slide presentation to the school board that asks:
“What does our brand say about us?” It’s all about PERCEPTION…”
“Do we have any great schools in Franklin County?” Yes.”
“Celebrate the positive and address the negative!” »
Another point made by Vanzant was what branding looks like in other districts, and the committee provided references on how others are focusing on the issue.
— “We are all about student experiences. »
— “Excellence for every student.”
— “Communication, collaboration and community are our core values.”
— “We have a global vision for all students. »
— “We value our community and will keep our end of the bargain.”
— “We set ourselves apart by offering choices. »
— “We keep culture at the heart of everything we do.”
Vanzant used an example of how a school district presents itself as: “One community, one district, one vision, for all children.”
He said the committee had targeted ways to achieve its goal of branding the school system.
Vanzant said the committee felt diversity issues needed to be addressed and added that celebratory months such as Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March should be more. focused. Other months mentioned included Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, and Native American Heritage Month in November.
Kent Bean said Franklin County High School and its use of the rebel mascot were often mentioned in a negative context in committee research and remained a divided issue.
“We want Franklin County to be the best school system in the state, and then in the country,” Bean said afterward. “Together we can.”
Stanley Bean, the system director, echoed young Bean’s assessment.
“We need to communicate and talk and do more than just meet,” he said, referring to the steps he says need to be taken to achieve the high recognition goal. “We have to plan and we have to do it.
“To be recognized as the best in the state and the best in the nation is what I want.”
The committee said the branding effort must celebrate each and every child.
Areas covered in one slide include:
— Spotlight on students: not just academic celebrations. Highlight children for a variety of reasons.
— Spotlight on Teachers and Staff: Celebrate hard-working teachers and school staff. Every job is important.
— Consider the image of the neighborhood on the system’s website, social media and publications.
— Partner with local publications to have space to showcase students, teachers and schools in a positive way.
The committee also said student involvement outside of schools should also be considered, such as having a representative from FCHS and Huntland High School as non-voting members of the school board, serving as a liaison with their respective student associations. Another suggestion was to have students of the month at the school and district level.
The committee said students’ enthusiasm for high school should start at the elementary level.
“Huntland has a unique opportunity to build these relationships early and often,” one slide said. “FCHS will have to work to create opportunities to build those relationships.”
The committee also suggested that allowing elementary school students to attend sporting events at a discount or for free and having high school clubs and sports teams do outreach in elementary schools would promote system branding opportunities.
The committee said a similar goal should be put in place to involve parents in school issues by having them interact more with school board members and creating opportunities for them to get involved in school activities by doing volunteering.
Another option would be to host special lunches with parents and grandparents and have school system staff interact with parents, grandparents and guardians at pick-up and drop-off lines.
The committee also said the district’s mission statement could be expanded.
The current statement says:
“The mission of the Franklin County School System is to provide students with the opportunity to realize their potential in an environment conducive to optimal learning.”
A slide from the committee said the statement could include things like “individualized achievement for each student,” “supportive of academic and personal achievement,” and “for ALL students.”