K-12 Online Communications Reaches Tipping Point

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A nationwide survey of K-12 PR professionals indicated a dramatic increase in the use of online communication tools during the 2009/10 school year, including parent notification and content management systems. The survey findings also showed a continuing trend toward Web site management responsibility coming under the communications department, and a significant use of social media as part of school district communications.

Relatrix, the leader in Online Contact Center solutions for the K-12 education market, and the Colorado School Public Relations Association (COSPRA), a non-profit serving school PR professionals in Colorado and Wyoming, today announced the release of the annual K-12 Online Communications Report. The report is based on a nationwide survey of school district administrators. The survey is in its fourth year and includes findings about practices, perceptions and patterns of use of the Internet for non-instructional communications in public education.

The 2009 K-12 Online Communications Report found dramatic increases in the use of online communications by school districts for notification and Web site management. More districts also are continuing to shift web management away from Information Technology and toward the Communications department. And this year the largest portion of survey respondents indicated that they were now making effective use of online tools to meet their communication needs.

“2009 looks like the tipping point for online communications in the K-12 market,” said Mark Franke, President of Relatrix. “Our survey findings show a major upturn in 2009 in the implementation of tools and systems to improve communications. This was the first year that included questions about social media, and our data show that a large portion of school districts are embracing this new method of communicating, as well.”

According to COSPRA President Lesley Dahlkemper, “The research findings are valuable to our COSPRA members locally and to other school districts across the country. In today’s tough economic environment, online methods of communicating can help school PR professionals do more with fewer resources – including keeping parents, staff and the community well-informed.” Dahlkemper says COSPRA is pleased to continue its collaboration with Relatrix and expects to gain further insight as additional data becomes available through ongoing research.

Relatrix and COSPRA will be co-presenting the survey findings at the National School Public Relations Association conference in Charlotte, NC later in July. The report for 2009, along with previous years is available at the COSPRA website (http://www.cospra.org) or from Relatrix at (http://www.relatrix.com).

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Mark Franke
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