Communications Plan

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Choice ReadyAll students will graduate choice ready with the knowledge, skills
and disposition to be successful in whatever they choose to do, whether they pursue a post-secondary degree, enroll in a technical college, enter the workforce or join the military.

Graduation Hats

Preparing North Dakota Students for the Future

Date: January, 2017
Version No: V3

Document Change Control
The following is the document control for the revisions to this document

Version Number Date of Issue Author (s)     Brief Description of Change
Version 1.0 March 2016 Kay Mayer Initial version for review and comment
Version 1.1 July, 2016
Kay Mayer Review and revise
Version 1.2 November, 2016 Kay Mayer Review and change tactics
Version 1.3 January, 2017
Kay Mayer Revise and disseminate

1. INTRODUCTION-Overarching goals






The purpose of this communication plan is to ensure the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction provides relevant, accurate, and consistent information to stakeholders and other appropriate audiences.  By effectively communicating our state’s vision, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction shall accomplish its work with the support and cooperation of stakeholder groups, and help prepare students to become “Choice Ready.”

The communication plan provides a framework to manage and coordinate the wide variety of communications that takes place in the department, plus adds in projects to move our state’s vision for North Dakota students forward. The communication plan covers audience, delivery, content, communicator, frequency, and distribution.
1. Over Arching Goals: 
  • Develop a collaborative, single uniform newsletter.
  • Promote & Share our ND vision of ensuring all students are “Choice Ready”
  • Promote Implementation of ESSA - ensuring the North Dakota plan is understood and communicated to all stakeholders and to the public.
  • Develop a Public Service Announcement that tells our ND Success Story.
  • Increase our Social Media Network
  • Make our website fully accessible by 2018
2. Communication Objectives

Honest and transparent communications is critical to the success of the North Dakota Department of Instruction.

The key communication objectives for NDDPI are:
  • Promote moving from a regulatory state department of instruction to a department of instruction that provides resources, research, service and support
  • Promote and provide a positive working relationship to North Dakota students, school district teachers/leaders and offices within the department
  • Support school climate and academics 
  • Support student engagement and student growth
  • Support and promote scholastic innovation and achievements
  • Provide high quality professional development and technical assistance 
  • Engage in research and help to provide collaborative data-driven decision making
  • Participate in timely, transparent, and accurate communication
  • Ensure a consistent message

3. Communication Purpose, Audience, and Responsibility

The purpose of this section is to identify the targeted audience in this Communication Plan, the message being delivered, and the method for delivering.

Audience Message Delivery Method Delivery Frequency Communicator
Uniform Newsletter
Newsletter sent
via Smart Mail
Monthly Roxie - ICR
Certified School Personnel, Stakeholders, REAs,
General Public
ESSA - Public Comment 
Op-Ed, TV
Radio & 
Media Release
February -last two weeks ICR-PIO
School Personnel & Gen. Public
Legislative bill 
updates & 
Capitol Tablet & NDDPI blog
on DPI Central
January-April Dale
Certified School Personnel, Stakeholders, REAs,
General Public
ESSA Updates & Implementation Education trends Newsletter, Email Updates, Updates @ Conferences, Social Media, Media Releases, DPI Central, Television,
Weekly & Monthly DSSI - Federal Programs & ICR
General Public,
Business Leaders,
Stakeholder groups
ND Success Story/Choice Ready Website, Public Service
Announcements, Brochures, Social Media, a staple at all events
To be developed ICR
Certified School Personnel TEAM Newsletter Electronic Newsletter & 
Monthly DSSI
Certified School Personnel Research/Resources Report Electronic Newsletter & 
Monthly DSSI
ND Educators Education Chats Twitter - #ndedchat Monthly Kay- ICR
School Personnel Innovative Learning including MLTS, Project Based Learning, & CBE NDDPI website linked to Vignettes on YouTube & Social Media 1 to 2 vignettes per month ICR & school personnel
ND Selected Communities Listen & Learn Tour For ESSA Implementation Media Release 1st week of May ICR Supt Baesler, Asst. Supt. Matzke
Students & Counselors Scholarships Smart Mail, Website, Social Media-Instagram & Twitter Weekly-beginning in January ICR & SAO
ND School District Personnel On-site visits to schools. * March-Math Awareness Month, *April-Reading Awareness Month/Poetry Month,
*May-Teachers Appreciation Week
*September-Back-To-School, *October-National Information Literacy Awareness Month, Principals Appreciation Month
*November-American Education Week (Nov.13th-Nov.-17th )
NDDPI Personnel going out during the month to read to students/interact with students and school personnel at local schools.
15 minutes to a half hour.
Spring 2017 & Fall 2017 All offices
General Public Showcase strong positive educational events happening across our state, Supt. Baesler school visits, & student engagement Facebook, Twitter,
#LoveTeachingND Website, Media Release, blog
Weekly-5 to 7 postings on social media
Dale, Roxie, Kay, and Kirsten
General Public Indian Ed. Summit & Meaningful Consultation Media Release, TV, Radio, and Social Media May and June Indian Ed., ICR, Supt. B.

4.  Communication Message, Tactic and Delivery
  • Message:  Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
NDDPI will adopt a monthly electronic newsletter entitled ConnectED to provide monthly pertinent information to the field. This electronic newsletter will contain four or more articles per month that highlights the department’s vision, work, guidance, and upcoming events. This endeavor will work towards several of the department’s objectives: providing effective, and transparent communication, ensuring a consistent message (ND’s vision), and promoting a state department that provides a positive working relationship, important information, research and support. Pursuing a cohesive newsletter that is sent via Smart Mail will show collaboration within our department, determine our readership through utilizing analytics and reports, and work to decrease the frustration of information not read by our audience in a timely manner.
Once per month, hoping to eventually evolve to a weekly news information letter.
  • Message:  Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
NDDPI will continue to seek out mass media targets such as newspaper, television, radio, and social media to relay information and news in regard to ESSA, standards revision, project based learning, the Indian Education Summit, Tribal Consultation and competency based learning as this work continues to grow in the state of North Dakota.  ICR would like to have two to three meetings with newspaper editorial boards in regard to ESSA and education.  The first editorial mtg. would be established at the end of December/January-to say thank-you for all of the feedback we have received to date, show NDDPI is listening to the public, and to seek public comment needed for our state plan prior to submission of our state ESSA plan on April 3, 2017.
Delivery: End of December 2016/February 2017 and Summer 2017-Editorial Bd. Mtgs.
  • Message: Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
ND Scholarships Available
In addition to Facebook and Twitter, ICR will begin to implement the social media, Instagram.  Using this media would allow scholarship information to be streamlined into the hands of counselors and students more efficiently.  Since Twitter and Instagram is the social media of choice for students, incorporating the use of it would allow for reminders to be sent to students to apply for scholarships and continuously communicate upcoming deadlines. This endeavor would increase a top of the mind awareness and name recognition for NDDPI to a younger generation.
2x/week on Twitter & Instagram
  • Message: Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
The AdvancED school team visits implemented by the TSA unit reflects positive interaction between NDDPI personnel and a school district’s stakeholders. Districts convey how their school (s) are improving and look for additional ways to continue to foster their success. Having NDDPI personnel there to provide insight, recommendations, or affirmations again sends a positive message that our entity wants to move from a regulatory state department to a department providing support
and assisting with accountability. I would also like to begin work with NDDPI members and have them go out to a school district of their choosing to read to students and spend 15 to 30 quality minutes onsite with kiddos. This would provide some great photos of NDDPI personnel interacting with North Dakota students. These photos could be framed and placed on the walls of NDDPI.
Key months of the year:  April & May, September, October & November
  • Message:  Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
Internal Communication:
The MIS unit has worked diligently to put together an intranet for NDDPI. ICR has worked with MIS to make sure when you open a browser it takes you to DPI Central first. This helps foster a greater communication internally with creating visual sightings of information and communication. An internal blog communicated by ICR would keep everyone apprised of happenings at NDDPI.
Monthly blog & weekly postings.
  • Message: Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
A collaboration with Odney and NDDPI would be essential to move forward with ND Success Story and Choice Ready. This would entail developing a video production depicting ND schools who are piloting innovations in education in North Dakota. The “piloting innovations” becomes the Choice Ready piece that evolves into skills needed for success in either college or career. It would be applicable to have successful people from across North Dakota acknowledging education and how it has helped them to change, grow, and lead. In time, NDDPI will pull from the video and audio and create a public service announcement for television and radio.
  • Message: Working together responsibly to ensure ALL ND Students have the opportunity to become “Choice Ready” & ESSA in Action
The Annual Indian Education Summit needs media attention. A big part of ESSA as the reauthorization moves forward is equity, and tribal consultation. As NDDPI, we need to convey the message that we are working together for all students and we are working to make the message a reality. This endeavor would support school climate, academics and meets requirements.
5.  Communication Message and Strategy Narrative

All of the communication and strategy outlined in this plan are chosen because it supports Superintendent Baesler and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s vision, mission, and priorities, but also because it puts information at the forefront for students, parents, and school personnel. The messaging and tactics outlined in this plan help to build bridges between the NDDPI and “the field” and foster collaboration and communication that is necessary for education of students

A cohesive collaborative monthly newsletters tied to our website would allow for us to create campaigns, track readability, and learn about the behaviors of our audience. Timely articles sent out at the beginning of the month via Smart Mail would drive the audience back to our website and show NDDPI personnel their behavior pattern through heat maps, and reading patterns.

Another key aspect to disseminating information to the field is to use our social media. We will share information that is posted on our website to our social media. Currently, the department uses Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook and Twitter accounts are accurate social media for the demographics of 18-64. Of that number 72 percent of adult users and 62 percent of entire population use Facebook.  Twitter has 23 percent of all internet users and 20 percent of entire adult population.  Twitter is showing to be popular among our school administrators as they hold #ndedchats, in which administrators promote a growth mindset, failure as a learning strategy, and innovation.  NDDPI will take place in #ndedchats when they occur.  To date, NDDPI has participated in one #ndedchat on a Wednesday night at 9 pm.  This forum could be used to spark conversation on any topic to disseminate or gather feedback utilizing a thought provoking question.  Instagram is popular with the demographic of 18-29 with 28 percent of adult users and 24 percent of entire population.  Currently, the school personnel that NDDPI has rapport with falls into the social media categories we have established with the exception of Instagram.  Instagram would allow for the department to reach out to students and counselors with scholarship reminders, deadlines, and would also lend itself to following classrooms and promoting teaching and learning across the state.  

The work of NDDPI is vital to the state of North Dakota. North Dakota originated holding education to high esteem. One way to continue valuing education is to collaborate with Odney and create a video for Superintendent Baesler to use at functions. The theme would revolve around the concept of “A North Dakota Success Story: Choice Ready.”The video would serve as a public service announcement and demonstrate innovative instruction by key educators from across North Dakota and show expectations for the future for student learning. NDDPI will work with Odney to create a short, yet informative, video that could be used as a presentation at meetings and functions and serve as a resource for perspective teachers, North Dakotans, and businesses.
The Office of School Approval & Opportunity completes onsite visits to provide support to school districts. Superintendent Baesler is visiting schools and students. These visits make NDDPI real and gives a humanistic supportive approach versus a regulatory state department. It is a goal to get more NDDPI employees out into the field around key “National month events.”Examples:March—Reading Awareness Month or National Nutrition Month, April is Mathematics Awareness Month, Poetry Month, or Financial Literacy Month, May has Teacher Appreciation week, September—Back-To-School, October—National Information Literacy Month and Principal Appreciation month, and November has American Education week. It would be doable for employees from our units to go out and visit nearby schools one week in each of those months and make NDDPI visible outside of the capitol. A short visit to a school district for an employee to read a book, visit about careers in education, and answer questions would help create name recognition and allow for some photographs to be taken and placed on NDDPI’s walls.
Finally, using ESSA and shifting the mindset from accountability to responsibility is paramount. We will begin by “saying thank-you” to all stakeholders for their input and provide the latest developments on the drafting of our state plan. NDDPI will then solicit public input. All of this information will be drafted into an op-ed. The same themed message of saying “thank you for your input,” soliciting public comment, and ending with a commitment to ensure our ND students have the disposition to choose their path after high school, will continue via radio, television, and social media. This message will consistently end with our state’s vision and goal for every student.