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Board considers PR services

The Weyauwega-Fremont School District may be among the school districts that take advantage of new services being offered by Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 6.

A proposal from the agency for communication and public relation services – and what it would cost – is expected to be before the district’s school board when it meets on Monday, Oct. 25.

During the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting Monday, Oct. 11, Dorreen Dembski, communications director for CESA 6, spoke about the new services.

Services being offered include public relations counsel, communication plan development, communication audit, media relations guidance, writing assistance, communication plans for special topics, crisis communication assistance and facilitation and community engagement.

District administrators had requested public relations service, and Dembski was hired by CESA 6 to provide direct assistance to schools.

About a week into her new position, she has been contacted by several CESA 6 school districts.

Dembski said she can develop a plan that is best for the district and then estimate how much time would be needed to implement it.

District Administrator Scott Bleck said the idea of having a communication audit intrigues him. Input from the school board on what it believes is needed in the area of communication and public relations will help provide direction, he said.

Board member Tony Beyer said a major concern is the amount of negativity there has been during the last couple of years and how the district can get a more positive image.

Dembski told the board to think of good things happening in the school district and to tell others about those points.

“We need to do something effective,” board member Dan Kohl said, “so people don’t lose interest.”

Dembski has about 20 years’ experience working in school districts and helping districts throughout the state with communication challenges.

She is a past president of the Wisconsin School Public Relations Association and most recently served as the director of communications for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

“Communication is like car maintenance,” she said. “You should take care of it on a routine basis.”

Dembski said their communication with the community, staff and parents should be ongoing.

“These things should be two way. You should build in feedback processes,” she said.

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