Five Things to Consider When Planning a School EventYour school’s planning team may want to consider these helpful tips when organizing an event.
- Define your event, its goals and your audience
· What kind of event do you want to host?
· Will your event be a kick-off, an announcement, a building dedication or something in between? Will your event be large or small?
· When and where will the event be held? Be sure to check the date against the district’s annual testing calendar and the instructional leadership calendar.
· Will your event be part of an existing or larger school project, curriculum or other themes, such as Women’s History Month, International Walk to School Day, etc., or will your event be a school partnership launch?
· Will you include informational booths, entertainment, or activities for students?
· Will your event be inside or outdoors?
· Will the target audience be students, parents and/or families? How many attendees do you expect?
· Will students participate? In what way?
· How will parents and the community at-large be included? Parents and community stakeholders have a vested interest in improvements to schools and are likely to want to participate.
· Create a timeline for the event and stick to it.
- Finalize your team
Your team will need to schedule frequent event planning meetings and decide who will be the school’s point person responsible for leading the overall effort, as well as assigning specific tasks, such as:
· Coordinate program, speakers, and program agenda.
· Ask your principal to contact the Office of Communications to request help with creating event materials, news releases, blurbs and talking points.
· Plan and execute logistics
· Recruit volunteers
· Seek financial support, sponsorships and in-kind donations if needed
· Document your activities
- Plan and invite the speakers for the event program
· Who is attending and/or participating on behalf of your school and from APS’ district leadership (Superintendent, Atlanta Board of Education, Principal, PTA president, etc.)? Contact the Office of External Affairs to make a request for the superintendent and/or the chair of the Atlanta Board of Education (or designees) to participate on program.
· Who else will be part of the event program? You may want to consider inviting:
v Regional/local government officials (e.g., mayor, county commissioners, city council, or school board members)
v State officials (e.g., governor, lieutenant governor, state senators or representatives, etc.)
· Remember that influential guests are likely to help you secure media coverage and overall interest in your event, especially if they firmly commit to attending in advance. Contact local and elected officials at least 60 days in advance.
· Although you may choose to do an all-day or half-day event, a 30–45 minute official program is suggested to call attention to and feature your main announcement.
· Will there be formal printed or electronic invitations and programs?
- Develop your media plan
- Work with your School Communications Liaison to assist you with publicity (media advisory press release, photos, etc.)
- Contact your liaison 6-8 weeks in advance regarding an event that requires printed collateral (invitations, programs, signage, banners, etc.)
- Be sure to incorporate your goal and message into all aspects of your event agenda. For example, if one of your goals is to obtain strong presence with local media, make sure the event activities are newsworthy. Larger events or ones with unusual features may attract more media attention.
- Communication vehicles such as school web sites, newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and local newspapers are good ways to get the word out.
You will know that your event was successful by the feedback from your attendees. Remember, it’s not when you meet all of your task deadlines, it’s when you begin your planning!
- Plan and execute the details
- Remember that event details will influence your event’s attendance.
- If outside, will tents be needed for your event? What is the bad weather plan?
- If speakers are present, a podium will be needed so the audience can see and hear. If you are showing a video, you will need a screen and projector.
- How much seating is required for your event?
- Will food or beverages be provided? If so, what are the logistics and requirements?
- Will electricity be needed? If so, is there electrical service available?
- Are convenient restroom facilities available?
- Will you provide giveaways for your event (school spirit items, souvenirs, etc.)?
Kimberly Willis GreenExternal Communications
Media Relations Manager