DeKalb Schools invests $150,000 in convocation and PR campaign

The DeKalb County School District is investing $50,000 in a public relations campaign built around how much people love the schools.

The "I love DeKalb Schools" campaign kicks off this week with a series of seven billboards. The district has also rolled out a a new webpage that reflects "the unity, spirit and diversity of the school district." The initial campaign features print ads, television commercials, an original jingle performed by DCSD students, promotional materials and social media.

Superintendent Steve Green says the point is to remind people of the value of DeKalb County schools and to counter mainstream perceptions and attitudes that don’t accurately reflect the work of students and staff.

However, the branding campaign is not meeting with wholesale approval, especially with the news last week that the district is spending $100,000 busing 12,000 staff members to an arena in Duluth the day before school starts for a mandatory back-to-school convocation. Teachers criticized the cost and timing of the event, which takes them out of their classroom on the final pre-planning day before students return.

And teachers aren’t alone in their complaints.

“DeKalb has a history of style over substance,” said school board member and frequent board dissident Stan Jester. “This convocation demonstrates a lack of respect for teachers’ time…In our new budget, we are expecting to spend more than we take in and now we are going to spend money on a big-ticket event that will not improve academic achievement for students in a school district that has the most failing schools in Georgia.”

To read more about the billboards, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog. 

To read Green's defense of the $100,000 convocation event, go here.

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