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LCPS to Address Recommendations in NSPRA Communications Audit

In the Fall of 2023, as part of the Superintendent’s Entry Plan, Loudoun County Public Schools worked with the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) to conduct a communications audit. The community, parents, staff and students offered valuable insights and candid feedback that helped LCPS understand the effectiveness of current communication strategies and identify areas for improvement. Members of our school community participated in focus groups and a division-wide survey.  

We are happy to share the results of the Communications Audit with you. The findings highlighted several key areas Loudoun County Public Schools can leverage, continue or improve upon in the coming years. Notable highlights include: 

  • Participants in every focus group voiced concern about the discrepancy between their firsthand, positive experiences within the division’s schools and the perception held by outsiders whose views are shaped predominantly by national and local news coverage. 

  • In general, LCPS parents/families and employees trust the communications they receive from their schools and the division. The results overall for parents/families and employees are comparable with other large school districts in the nation. 

  • In every focus group, auditors heard a longing for the wider community to hear stories about the division's many positive developments.

  • Sources and preferences about how LCPS communicates with parents were heard, and those inputs will allow staff to modify communications methods, including texting, continue collaboration with local news outlets, and update the division and school websites.  

  • Recommends that LCPS combat misinformation and disinformation through early issues identification and active, timely response with accurate information.

  • Recommends that family and community engagement work, which is currently decentralized across multiple offices and programs, would benefit from consolidation into a single reporting structure. 

The Department of Communications and Community Engagement will capture these recommendations in a comprehensive, multi-year communications plan to implement activity that will continue to build trust and streamline communications. While not all recommendations can be accomplished at once, developing a comprehensive plan to guide the work will allow those challenges or gaps that most affect our learning community to be tackled first. Moving forward, we are committed to taking actionable steps to address these findings and enhance our communication strategies.

The NSPRA Communication Audit process helps school divisions establish vital benchmarks to evaluate their communications programs. The Audit can also be used as a follow-up reassessment several years down the line to help ensure the division remains on track for delivering an exemplary, cost-effective, and impactful communications program. The auditors conduct an in-depth review to help assess the effectiveness of current strategies; identify strengths, weaknesses and communication gaps; and recommend proven, cost-effective tactics for achieving communication goals.

We believe that by working together, we can create a more responsive and inclusive communication environment that better serves our entire school community.  

Published May 29, 2024