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‘A place to belong' - Brainerd Public Schools to roll out new communications plan

“When we look at a comprehensive communications plan, a positioning statement is the place we can focus on where we can link all of our work to,” Superintendent Heidi Hahn told the School Board Monday, July 11.

Board members sit around a table
Brainerd Superintendent Heidi Hahn, left, tells School Board members about the district's new comprehensive communications plan Monday, July 11, 2022.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — “A place to belong.”

Those four words make up the positioning statement for the new Brainerd Public Schools communication plan.

“When we look at a comprehensive communications plan, a positioning statement is the place we can focus on where we can link all of our work to,” Superintendent Heidi Hahn told the School Board Monday, July 11. “... So really, it’s something that we want unique to Brainerd Public Schools. All of our work should link to that. When it comes to communications, it’s going to tie back to that.”

Administrators will begin rolling out the comprehensive plan later this month, with the goal for the plan to have long-term sustainability to be adaptable and meet district, community and family communication needs.

Part of the plan includes VIP passes that will be mailed to community members, allowing them to schedule personal tours of the school buildings.

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“As COVID and things came, there’s all these things that happened where people weren’t allowed in facilities, right? And now our facilities are almost all done, we’re ready to have people in, and we want people to see what’s going on,” Hahn said.

Seeing the facilities and understanding what is happening inside is the first part of belonging, Hahn said.

The next part of the plan is a series of short promotional videos and student testimonials highlighting the district’s various disciplines.

“When you think of all the things that make up a school system, we have so many facets — from arts to activities to athletics to the academics to child care programs to extended clubs and programs,” Hahn said. “So really, it’s trying to give that visual to our community as well. … It’s meant to be an attention grabber.”

But the promos have another use as well, as board member Kevin Boyles, who has participated in the communication plan process, told the rest of the board.

“The really cool chocolate center of this thing is that it serves two purposes,” Boyles said. “One, it really highlights, at its core, the things that we can do and provide as a school district across all the things that Superintendent Hahn just talked about that no other school district around here can do. Period.

"So one, it makes the people who are bringing their kids here feel great that their kids are coming here, and then that feeds into the ‘belong’ theme. But the other thing it does is it creates a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) for those that have the opportunity to come here either through open enrollment or because they live in our district and choose to go elsewhere that there’s a buzz, there’s an excitement, there’s something happening here.”

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The people have voted and have made their decisions as to who best represents them on the Brainerd School Board, so let all of those newly-elected people make this decision on the strategic plan.

Board members recommended putting this promotional material into the hands of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce and even real estate agents who are welcoming new families to the area.

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“It blends the story of these magnificent facilities that the taxpayers have given us the money to update, but near and dear to my heart, it talks about what’s going on in them, and that’s the more important part when you get right down to it, at least from where I sit,” Boyles said.

July 18 is the plan’s official launch date, and community members will learn more about the plan as the summer progresses.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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