Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield recently won the inaugural 2016 Communication Technology Award for Superintendents by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).
Judges were impressed with Enfield’s commitment to creating a sophisticated, innovative, and strategic communication program designed to ensure Highline meets its bold goals for students, the district announced. Judges noted the extensive improvements she has made by employing a variety of communication tools and rallying her team around leading-edge technology to address her district’s many needs.
One of Enfield’s first moves as a new superintendent was to improve communication with Highline’s culturally diverse community, capitalizing on opportunities to use new technology.
“Dr. Enfield is clearly setting a new standard for all Seattle and national district leaders,” said Rich Bagin, NSPRA executive director. “She models effective use of both traditional and social media, and leads with a vision that invests in and uses new technology to significantly improve communication programs that support student achievement.”
“Highline Public Schools has discovered the path to engaging their community through an effective multi-channel communication strategy,” said Chris Crawford, vice president of community engagement at Blackboard, Highline’s mobile app and notifications system provider. “Proactive communication is a key factor in creating student success at their district. On behalf of Blackboard, I would like to congratulate Dr. Susan Enfield, a valued partner, for her award-winning communication program.”
Recognizing that effective two-way communication with families and the community is critical, Enfield has invested additional dollars in the communication program. Under her leadership, improvements include switching to newer platforms that better serve her diverse and multi-lingual community.
- Recognizing that many families in the community lack internet access at home but have smart-phone connectivity, Highline staff developed a mobile app  for parents, which automatically translates to multiple languages. The app, which has over 7,000 users, allows parents to directly email teachers, check grades and assignments, follow their child’s bus route, and more.
- A new notification system reaches families with automated phone, email, and alert messages in their preferred languages.
- The district moved from an in-house website to a platform  with interactive features and multiple language translation capabilities.
- A robust survey tool  allows her team to gather input from staff, parents, and students. In addition, Highline has a new interactive feedback tool, Thoughtexchange, that allows community members to share thoughts and ideas through online posts, creating a robust dialog that provides insight on shared values and concerns.
- Enfield has embraced social media and tweets daily from her own Twitter  account. A district Twitter  page and monthly Twitter chats  keep families engaged and attract educators from across the region. An active Facebook  page shares good news about Highline Public Schools.
- Interactive district annual report  now allow users to drill down for details and links to video messages.
- A monthly e-magazine  shares compelling stories about students, staff, and programs.
- A switch from “backpack mail” paper flyers to e-flyers  now allows parents to have 24/7 access from their smart phones or home computers.
Enfield’s commitment to developing strategic communication programs and identifying digital tools that successfully address challenges, build trust, and foster genuine two-way communication between diverse families and schools distinguish her as an innovative national leader. Daily, this award-winning superintendent models how to effectively support district goals with new technology.Facebook Twitter Subscribe