When to Call Communications

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The Office of Communications provides ACPS staff with communication support as well as training on web, newsletter and social media platforms. But when should you contact us?

Ten tips for when to call Communications

OneWant a video or a flier?

You think you need a flier or a video — but do you really? We will help you articulate your desired outcome and formulate a plan to get you there. Reach out early in your process so we can help you start out on the right path with the right message, tools and timing for the audience you are trying to reach.

Want to organize a division-wide community event?Two

Communications should be in at the beginning. In fact, we will plan and run the event for you if it warrants it or if it will attract VIPs (elected city, state, national and international officials, high profile public figures and celebrities and media figures). If an event involves marketing, promoting or shining a spotlight on ACPS, it involves Communications. Make us your first stop for any big media/VIP event and we’ll make sure all of the dots are connected, including security, parking monitors, custodial services and a facilities team to move furniture. Remember, when you want to connect with the media, you must go through communications — it’s School Board policy. See Policy KBC: Media and Public Relations (PDF).

ThreeWant to get a division-wide event posted to the ACPS calendar?

Upcoming division-wide events are pulled from the ACPS Calendar and automatically published in each weekly email issue of ACPS Express. To include your event in the calendar, please submit your request online. If the event is a school-specific event, contact your school’s website editor.

FourWant to reach the community via ACPS Express?

Stories and information must meet certain criteria to be published in ACPS Express. They need to either apply to the whole division, be of interest to the whole division or promote the ACPS brand of Every Student Succeeds. Stories in ACPS Express reach the media every week and are the foundation of public coverage of our division that week. Send story ideas to news@acps.k12.va.us.

FiveWant to promote information to other ACPS staff?

ACPS Insider reaches all staff at the beginning of each week. We know staff are busy, and so posts are need-to-know information only. Have something all staff should know? Send your submission to us at news@acps.k12.va.us.

SixWant to distribute a flier you already have?

PTAs and booster clubs can distribute their fliers free of charge through the Peachjar electronic flier distribution system. Non-profit organizations may also use this service for a small fee that Peachjar charges. The fliers show up in the weekly ACPS Express email newsletter, in their school’s email newsletter, and through the Peachjar button on each school’s website homepage. Still in doubt? Ask William Ramsay PTA! They post all their content this way. See Policy KF: Distribution of Information/Materials (PDF) and related Regulation KF (PDF). Also see Policy KM: Relations With Community Organizations (PDF).

Schools may send their own fliers home in backpacks — but if you’re sending something out to anyone other than your own school, be sure you get sign-off first from the Office of Communications. And make sure to connect with your school website editor, email newsletter editor, and social media PR liaison to get the information from the flier out to parents digitally.

SevenWant to post to the ACPS or school websites?

Each department or school has at least one web editor who has been trained on how to make website updates. Check with your department head or building administrator if you don’t know who your website editor is. Content must be accessible for students, parents and members of the community with disabilities. Be sure you know what that means. Read Policy KBH: School Website Accessibility (PDF) and Regulation KBH-R: Website Accessibility Regulations (PDF).

EightHave a story that should be in the media?

Who you gonna call? Communications.

All contact with the media must be coordinated and approved through the Office of Communications. Staff may NOT contact the media without contacting Communications first. If you are contacted by the media or would like to reach out to the media, please contact Communications at 703-619-8003. See Policy KBC: Media and Public Relations (PDF).

NineUnclear where the line is concerning endorsing a for-profit business?

ACPS works to avoid the impression that it has endorsed any particular business, establishment, service, product or any position or viewpoint, particularly any that may be at odds with its educational program. Brush up on the policies. See Policy KJ: Advertising in the Schools (PDF), Policy KM: Relations with Community Organizations (PDF) and Policy KQ: Commercial, Promotional, and Corporate Sponsorships and Community Partnerships (PDF).

TenUnsure what information can be shared about an emergency?

All communications including media interviews or approval for media interviews during an emergency or crisis must be coordinated through the Office of Communications. Take initial action to make the situation safe and notify security, then notify Communications. Wait for the official notice to be shared by the Communications through our official channels. Once it has been made public by Communications, you can share on social media. To avoid miscommunication, DO NOT change the message. See Policy KBC: Media and Public Relations (PDF). Learn more about how ACPS communicates during an emergency.