Cuyahoga Falls -- Seeking to better tout its offerings and achievements, the Cuyahoga Falls City School District has hired a public relations firm.

The Board of Education voted unanimously Jan. 28 to hire the Right Brain Design Group through the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, and placed a $10,000 cap on the expenditure. Matt Weiss, a principal in Right Brain, is a parent in the district and a member of the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, noted District Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols.

The superintendent said the company has worked with several school districts, including Woodridge, in its most recent successful levy campaign.

Cuyahoga Falls' goals are to improve communication between the school district and the community, particularly in regard to publicizing the district's long-term vision, Nichols said.

"As we're talking about a vision and I keep referencing a 7- to 10-year plan, we're going to need PR and marketing services to help share that plan with our community," Nichols said. If the district is to capitalize on community engagement opportunities, the superintendent added, it needs to share everything it's doing to promote the educational process and hard work in which the students, parents, and staff are engaged.

School Board member David Rump said he believes the district has "a void" in terms of promoting the good things which are happening in Cuyahoga Falls schools. "It seems like a best kept secret just within the school system," Rump said, "instead of getting it out there in the public " If the district had the money, Rump said he would like to see it add a public relations position. Acknowledging Cuyahoga Falls doesn't have such money, Rump described the hiring of the Right Brain Group as "a good stop-gap" move. Board member Karen Schofield concurred.

Right Brain Design Group will not be used to promote and pass levies per se, according to the superintendent. However, because parents today have educational choices for their youngsters, there is a competitive market for students, he acknowledged. Approximately 20 percent of the households in the district have school-aged children, Nichols said, and 80 percent of resident students attend the district's schools.


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