Episode 58

Communicating to our Communities

Guest:Meg Ansara

This week, Meg Ansara, founding partner at 270 Strategies, talks with Joel Gagne about increasing engagement with the community, the importance of school principals and the future of public education.

Ansara credits her own education growing up in Massachusetts, as shaping her view on the topic.

“At a personal level, I feel like there’s no more important work than working on public education,” Ansara says. “I myself experienced as I got older so many of the opportunities that I received, as well as the sense of opportunity, really comes from the educational privilege that I got. For me that translates into a deep sense of responsibility in terms of making sure that every American child has the same great opportunity and access to a high-quality education.”

Through that lens, Ansara shares her tactics for improving Washington D.C.’s public schools in an open choice district that’s increasingly competitive.

That includes engaging with parents by actually going “door to door in targeted neighborhoods to have meaningful conversations about the benefit and value that DCPS schools would bring, and to encourage them to apply.“

It’s a big ask for principals and administrators, Ansara acknowledges. But outreach can be made easier by meeting parents where they are.

“It’s really important for school leaders to invest in social media,” says Ansara, who worked on President Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign before co-founding the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm 270 Strategies. “Increasingly, particularly with demographic changes, (ages) 45 and below, these are people who are used to getting their information online, their news online, making connections online, finding out about issues online. So it’s absolutely essential that school districts are really investing in social media and being thoughtful about those platforms of communications.”

Ansara also talks with Gagne about the Trump Administration, and the potential for changes in federal education policy.

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