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'It is essential to hear from as many voices as possible during this process.'

Heather CordieIn November 2016, our voters approved the passage of a $247.5 million capital improvement bond that provided the Sherwood School District with the opportunity to build a new high school and transform several other schools, in order to add capacity.

With the opening of three new schools — through what we call the Transformations projects — the need arose to attend to new names and mascots at each of these new schools.

Additionally, the many changes happening throughout the district, the majority of which take effect in fall 2020, highlighted an opportunity for our district to grow and evolve as a whole.

We know that changes such as school names and mascots are decisions that hold meaning for individuals. These elements are not just pictures on letterhead or signs on a building; they represent the people of a school or district, shaping the identity of a community of students, staff, parents, and providing that community with a sense of pride and school spirit. We knew the importance of approaching these changes in a thoughtful and intentional way, which has led us to undergo a rebranding process during the 2019-20 school year.

Our first step in this process was to bring in a branding consultant to help guide this work. After a series of interviews with various branding agencies, our team selected Murmur Creative as our branding consultant. As an agency, Murmur Creative is known for a focus on relationships and collaborative work — values that closely align with those of our district, making them a great fit to lead us through our rebranding project.

There are two levels of work happening during the rebranding process.

The first is at the district level, which will focus on the creation of a mission statement, a new district logo, and a specific voice and tone that will shape our future communications strategies. For this level of work, Murmur meets with a group of participants who are representative of stakeholders across the district, including a parent, classified and certified staff members, a school administrator, a district administrator, and a board member.

Murmur uses direct input from these stakeholder representatives to help guide the work of their team, creating a collaborative approach between their agency and our district.

The next level of work is at the school level, which focuses on the identification of names, mascots and logos for each of the Transformations schools. Similar to the district level, Murmur's team meets directly with stakeholder representatives during the creative development stage, including parents, staff, and administrators.

Work has already begun at each of these levels, and it will continue in the coming weeks.

In addition to the perspectives of these representatives during the rebranding work, it is essential to hear from as many voices as possible during this process. For example, in late November, a survey was sent out to provide parents, staff, and students at our Transformations schools asking for feedback on possible name options. Feedback gathered from our stakeholders will be shared with our board of directors when final recommendations are presented for adoption in early 2020.

Another aspect of the rebranding work that will happen throughout this school year will be an update to our website. The focus of this work is to ensure that our website is completely ADA-compliant and accessible to all, as well as to create a more user-friendly interface — making it easier for visitors to easily find the information they are looking for. Our technology team will be working with the web development team at Murmur Creative as the technical aspects of the new website are developed, and this work will continue through next spring, with our new website going live July 1, 2020.

We are eager to develop a website that will be a true resource for our community, and that will serve the needs of our parents, students, and staff.

We are so grateful to our voters for the passage of the bond and all of the exciting possibilities that come with it — from the opening of an amazing new high school, to three new Transformations schools, to new curriculum in every subject. In many ways, it is an opportunity for renewal — and an updated mission statement, new school names and mascots, an updated website, and a new look and feel for the district are integral parts of this exciting transformation we are in the process of making.

Heather Cordie is superintendent of the Sherwood School District.


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