Dysart district spokesman talks the talk

An aerial view of the Dysart Unified School District offices in Surprise. The rural Paradise Acres development is to the west. (Courtesy naturalpowerandenergy.com)

By Jennifer Jimenez
Independent Newsmedia

In an effort to ensure the community knows what is happening, the Dysart Unifi ed School District communications department works diligently to keep them informed.

To that end, Zachery Fountain, communications and public relations director for the district, presented the DUSD Governing Board with an update Feb. 21 on communications and community outreach in the areas of resources and culture and leadership as related to the strategic plan.

“We provide benchmark updates related to our goals and objectives to measure success tied to the strategic goal timeline,” Dysart Superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick said. “These reports allow us to see where we are at on this particular goal.” Mr. Fountain said this has been a three-year project and what he presented to the board was merely a snap shot of what is taking place.

“Our goal is to create and foster an environment internally and externally where information can be freely exchanged to showcase opportunities for students, staff and the community. We include all school sites to ensure information is being shared and we are being very intentional with the way we communicate with our partners and the community,” Mr. Fountain explained.

The logos for each school site were given a face lift through this process and Mr. Fountain’s team provided tools on how to use the logos, providing each site with a branding manual to assist the schools in how they present themselves to the public.

The district has several community partners and relies on federal resources to help students. Dysart is currently working with Luke Air Force Base and making connections through a federally funded STEM program in the early planning stages.

Zachery Fountain

Social media, the Web and parent outreach are also critical in the delivering of information for Dysart. Mr. Fountain said measuring Twitter impressions provides a clue to how many times people get to see what the district is doing.

“On just our district page, we average 46.62 tweets and 361.03 engagements, which means people are liking or sharing it,” Mr. Fountainexplained. “ We also average 47,941 impressions per month. Our goal is 36,000 so we are really happy looking at the trend line over yearto- year in terms of growth.”

Facebook is the most popular outlet for the district and Mr. Fountain said they spend a lot of time using different dynamics rather than just posting.

Over time, there has been continued growth in followers and Dysart has switched from posting pictures on the website’s galleries to posting directly to Facebook, which has made a big impact.

For the week of February 12, Dysart had 4,255 followers, with 13 posts and 403 weekly engagements, with 31 engagements per post.

Dysart has appeared in 22.83 stories per month, which is also driving traffic to the district’s social media sites, extending the reach as well.

“We keep working to have information that is pertinent to the community and working those relationships,” Mr. Fountain said.

Board clerk Christine A.K. Pritchard requested information on how school calendars are maintained. Dr. Pletnick said it is the responsibility of the individual school and typically the calendar reflect school-wide events. She said they encourage teachers to put grade or class- related events on their websites.

Board President Traci Sawyer- Sinkbeil gave credit to the videos put out by the district’s communications department and their ability to showcase what the district and the students are accomplishing.

Mr. Fountain said the department is happy with the numbers as far as community outreach goes, but they are looking into how they can reach even more people.

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