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SCC publishes first 'Grand Central' newsletter

The St. Croix Central School District’s first issue of the “Grand Central” newsletter will be in district residents’ mailboxes in the near future and will highlight what is going on in the district. Submitted photo

For the last several months, the St. Croix Central School Board's Communication Plan Committee has brainstormed ways for the board to be more intentional with communicating the achievements and accomplishments of the district to all stakeholders.

"It can be boiled down to the fact that we decided to hire a company to do a quarterly district newsletter. We are just starting with one to see how it goes," said Superintendent Tim Widiker. "Often times, our parents and our students know, but a lot of times our district residents don't. That was the original guiding principle behind it. We brainstormed a lot of different ideas, but ultimately, the idea came up, we investigated it and presented it to the committee."

Kidder Media will publish the full-color, four page newsletter — titled "Grand Central" — for the district, Widiker said. The newsletter will be printed on a cardstock-like paper and delivered to every mailbox holder in the district. According to Widiker, the newsletter should be in district residents' mailboxes in the near future.

"We aren't really sure what our plans will be after this first issue. We had a very comprehensive newsletter before that included so much information. This is more of a highlight level and, instead of all the details like schedules and lunch menus, we are trying to be a little more concise for our audience and what they can consume or pick up and read," Widiker said. "If it is too much, then they won't read it. Our target audience is all stakeholders, based on Kidder Media's recommendations and vast experience. They know what people read and what they don't."

The district has only contracted with Kidder Media to produce this single issue of the newsletter and will evaluate the effectiveness and response to the publication after it is distributed. The school board will then decide if they want to continue publishing the newsletter.

"The newsletter will highlight some stories of different things throughout the district. We were thinking about having it be a year in review, but that gets hard to summarize the whole year in a four-page newsletter," Widiker said. "So we decided to highlight a few things, like our auditorium. Our stakeholders supported that and we would like to communicate what it has provided and the opportunities that it has given our kids and the community. It also looks at character education, as another example."

To produce the stories in the newsletter, Kidder Media worked with building principals to get ideas and reach out to story subjects to put together stories, Widiker said.

Among other options the district considered was hiring a communications coordinator, but after considering how it would finance the position and what its priorities were within the district, the board decided against that idea.

"We figured that with using an outside company will provide us with a professional writer, photographer and designer all in one. And for a very small fee compared to what hiring a person with their salary and benefits would be," Widiker said. "We figured we would try this first and give it a shot."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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