Purdy school district aims to be more involved with community

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Online surveys, community mailers intend to reach everyone

The Purdy school district is continuing its work in keeping the community as involved as possible with school activities, news and updates, and the latest push will come to the community in the form of mailers.

Susan Funkhouser, Purdy school public relations coordinator, said at the beginning of the school year, she put up a survey on Facebook to get more information from the community.

One question was, “How do you prefer to receive information about school upcoming events or news?”

There were 75 responses to the question with the majority of people at 69.3 percent saying social media.

Of the 75 responses, 58 people identified themselves as a parent of a current student.

All of the respondents have a Facebook account, and 88 percent of them said Facebook was the most preferred social media platform.

Respondents were also asked to identify the district’s strengths. Of the 75 respondents, 38 said the Purdy school district’s caring staff and administration, and 21 said the community.

The answers to what the district greatest challenges were varied, but 10 people mentioned consistent communication, while four people mentioned bullying and a small school stigma.

The respondents were asked to rate the district’s communication including social media, print media, mailers, etc. from 1-5.

Of the 75 respondents, 16 rated it as a 2 or 3, and Funkhouser said she emailed each of them personally and heard back from one who said there was an overwhelming digital nature to the school communication and she suggested more mailers, hard copy flyers, etc.

Funkhouser called the two respondents who rated it as a 2, and one of the respondents offered some suggestions for reaching families that do not have access to social media or that didn’t depend on it for information.

From the survey and responses received, Funkhouser has some plans, which include highlighting some of the respondents’ answers to the greatest challenges and sending out mailers to the community.

Funkhouser said the original plan was to send out a mailer in early October, however, that process has been delayed.

“As a result of the small number of people who indicated they would prefer to get information about the school via hard copy print and people who felt like our communications as a whole was not as good as it should be, we are wanting to take steps to reach out to that portion of people,” she said. “Everyone involved is important and should be reached.”

The district is planning for at least one, maybe two, district-wide mailers throughout the school year.

“We are going to include information in those on how to acquire a hard copy of the survey that we did online back in August,” Funkhouser said. “We want to get feedback from people who may not have seen the Facebook survey.”

The school is doubling down the efforts to reach people in all the ways they would like to receive communication.

“We have some amazing things going on at the school, and a lot of times, people that don’t have children or grandchildren in school don’t always get to know all of those things,” she said. “We want to showcase the programs we have, and we are going to feature Brandon Bellegarde, [the alumnus that is building the district’s new website], in November because we want to highlight where our Eagles have gone after they have taken their flight from the nest.”

Funkhouser said graduates of Purdy have done some great things on a local level, but also in the state and in the nation.

“A couple of the programs that we are going to highlight in the fall mailers is the Professional Studies program and the AmeriCorps Reading Coaches program,” she said. “Those are two really important programs for the wider community to know about because there are opportunities for them to participate in them.”

Funkhouser said there will also be a section of the mailer with information about the FEMA storm shelter and how it works.

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