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A First-Class Education: School Districts Leverage City Government Success with Community Feedback

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board educates over 50,000 students in nearly 100 schools across a bustling suburb equidistant from Toronto, Canada, and Buffalo, New York.

Like many school districts this size, Hamilton-Wentworth sometimes struggled to stay engaged with the thousands of parents and guardians who entrusted the district to educate their children. Only people with time and transportation could attend in-person school board meetings; surveys often offered little insight, and an overly vocal minority dominated the conversation on social media.

“These projects go beyond engagement numbers,” said Sheryl Robinson Petrazzini, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s director of education. “They speak to how we connect with those who trust us to educate their children.”

Following Government Footsteps

These school districts increasingly turn to the engagement tools city governments already use. In many cases, the education departments saw the success of their civic neighbors and followed suit, tailoring engagement plans to their specific audience. School districts use Granicus solutions to streamline operations, such as school board meetings and other engagement efforts, such as after-school programs and school lunches.

With Granicus’ comprehensive suite of tools, districts efficiently respond to public records requests and simplify their meeting and agenda management processes, improving transparency, reducing staff time, and offering an enhanced citizen journey. Thanks to video livestreaming with close captioning, residents can now watch meetings on the go, whether that is sitting at a child’s baseball practice or ballet lesson, or from the comfort of their home.

Granicus is not just for city governments but for anyone in the public sector wanting to engage large populations on essential matters. Thanks to their importance in people’s lives, school districts are at the top of this list. Parents, faculty, and the broader community want a voice in everything from budgets and policies to buses and playgrounds.

Think about your school district. How do you want to engage with citizens? What does success look like? Are there specific challenges or areas where your district could improve transparency and accountability?

Learning from “Cowtown”

Every year, Fort Worth holds a cleanup event to beautify the city.

In this case study, Fort Worth utilizes the Granicus Engagement Cloud to provide information to interested citizens as part of a volunteer drive. The Granicus solution gives you real-time access to digital engagement outcomes across channels. Run end-to-end consultations, keep your community informed, and drive better outcomes.

As you can see through the engagement journey, the city provided Fort Worth residents with a unique landing page where residents could receive digital messages, email updates, meeting agendas, live streams of public meetings, and more. Through this process, citizens become more involved in the project and receive a seamless digital experience across the platforms they use most.

This is just one story of many. Granicus customers – from Burleson, Texas and Canada’s Abbotsford School District to California’s Yolo County – have already found massive success.

Next Steps

As you plan your school district’s engagement strategy, think deeper about how your school district currently gauges community sentiment and feedback on important decisions and initiatives. Are there any tools or methods you use to actively listen to the concerns and opinions of those in your district?

Technology continues to change. Granicus already works with thousands of governments worldwide and experts in public engagement. Many of these projects incorporate local schools from massive redistricting efforts to the construction of new buildings. With the proper tools, each school district can engage with their region to get specific feedback important to that community. This, in turn, empowers school leaders to make informed decisions based on current and accurate data.

Contact us to learn how our solutions can help your school district like it does for thousands of public sector agencies across the world.