Case Study: Before #teachstrong, There Was #elevatingteaching (Part 2)
In a previous post, I shared the first half of a case study looking at how Springboard Communications was able to help PEBC garner lots of media coverage for their incredible work to elevate teaching and, specifically, their plan to merge two highly respected teacher-prep programs to create Colorado’s largest teacher residency. While PEBC was thrilled to gain such widespread media attention, their number-one priority had always been ensuring that their internal and external stakeholders were informed of and excited about the change.
Because they were announcing a merger, the message and approach had to be just right — honoring the legacy of each individual teacher-prep program, and building excitement about their future together. In addition, we saw an opportunity to use the announcement to raise the organization’s profile and deepen support for its mission, especially among the stakeholders who know its work best — alumni of the teacher residencies.
Yep — teachers who have been prepared and supported by the Boettcher Teacher Residency and Stanley Teacher Prep appreciate more than anyone else the value the residencies provide. And yet, some of those teachers have little contact with their residency program after they take leadership of their own classrooms.
Shocking, I know.
In all seriousness, we didn’t expect that teachers would have lots of time to engage with what is, in effect, their alma mater. But we did hope they would feel a sense of pride in being connected with the newly united residency, recognize their role in contributing to its success, and join in the celebration. Most importantly, we hoped that by honoring those who put the “teacher” in “teacher residency” we’d build a foundation for deeper engagement for years to come (more on that later).
With this in mind, alumni of the two teacher residencies were among the first to receive the merger news, two full days ahead of the external announcement. And we invited them to contribute to the celebration, by posting to PEBC’s social media platforms using the hashtag #elevatingteaching.
We didn’t know that introducing this phrase would lead to double-digit increases in the organization’s social media following a few months down the road (more on that later, too). We just knew that “elevating teaching” simply and perfectly described PEBC’s impact, and what the teachers it prepares do every day.
Defining this shared work as “elevating teaching” helped transform a merger announcement into a rallying cry — allowing PEBC to invite teachers to join the call for better preparation and support for more aspiring educators.
A couple of months later, to our collective delight, the Teach Strong campaign announced that its partners would “call on the nation’s leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority in 2016 and beyond.” Talk about delivering more than the client expected! Kidding aside, the campaign’s focus confirmed our characterization of PEBC’s work and its importance as one of the top education priorities of our time.
If you know someone who would be an incredible teacher, invite them to learn more about the Boettcher Teacher Residency at http://www.boettcherteachers.org.