2023 Communications Audit
During the 2022-23 school year, the Pelham Public Schools partnered with the National School Public Relations Association to conduct an audit of the District's Communications program. The audit included:
- Nearly 1,000 responses to a community-wide survey of parents/guardians, faculty and staff, high school students and community members without students currently in the school system
- Focus groups with key stakeholders
- An analysis of District and school-level communications materials, the District website and social media.
A communications audit synthesizes this data to determine the effectiveness of current plans and practices, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make recommendations necessary to improve communications across the District.
What is an NSPRA Communication Audit?
- A comprehensive assessment of current communication efforts and the effectiveness of the overall program.
- A snapshot of current perceptions about our schools, district, and leadership.
- A tool that provides baseline research to evaluate progress and a framework for developing our communication plan.
Middle School Parents
Senior District Leadership
Spanish Speaking Parents
High School Parents
Board of Education Members
The audit detailed several strengths which create a strong foundation for the District’s communications program. These include stakeholders' appreciation for the District’s high-quality academics, extracurricular activities, caring and dedicated teachers and strong student supports. The District’s strong partnerships with many community organizations and the wide-variety of opportunities for staff, parents and community members to be involved in the schools were also noted as strengths in the report.
The report also outlined several challenges, including varying opinions about the District’s image, a political divide within the larger Pelham community and negative publicity from external media and social media sources. There is a desire for more opportunities to share positive news. It was noted that the District does not have an established communications plan and there is inconsistency in practices across the District, schools and departments. While email is the preferred method of communication for most stakeholders, the volume and frequency, message length and readability have been a source of frustration. Stakeholders also reported that they do not feel informed on a variety of issues and have ongoing concerns about crisis communications. Additionally, District staff reported that morale is low and communications breakdowns have created confusion in the past.
The Audit report made eight recommendations based on the key findings. Each recommendation contains a number of actions steps to help achieve these goals. The recommendations address immediate and ongoing communication needs based on the feedback gathered as part of the audit process. Some recommendations may be implemented right away, and others may take months, if not years, to fully implement. The district remains steadfast in its commitment to address communication challenges and continue to strengthen the relationship between the district and its key stakeholders.
Develop a Strategic Communications Plan
Finalize and implement a Crisis Communication Plan
Focus on Improving internal communications and engagement
Strengthen the engagement of staff members in the district’s decision-making process
Develop and implement protocols, structures and training for those responsible for communicating
Enhance the effectiveness of external communications
Expand the capacity of the Public Information Office to focus on strategic communication needs
Develop and implement digital marketing strategies to improve message delivery
Alex Wolff | Public Information Officer
914-738-3434 ext. 1131