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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Communications Department enters next phase of community outreach

Based on assessment data, New Trier finds new ways to increase community engagement
Images from New Trier website
New Trier’s two newest publications include Getting to Know New Trier High School (left) and Community Guide (right)

With new publications and events geared toward community members, New Trier High School continues to improve communication efforts with stakeholders in the community. 

The Communications Department launched a comprehensive communications assessment, conducted by K-12 marketing firm CESO Communications, to build on its work over the past four years engaging families with younger children and alumni. It also helps the department learn how to connect with community members without children currently attending New Trier, a harder-to-reach audience. 

We think the Community Guide actually helped to bring a lot of people out because we really invited people in to be a part of what we do here.

— Dr. Paul Sally

“The genesis of the assessment [is] to make sure that we are letting community members know that they make a really good investment when they move into the community, their tax dollars are well spent, and that our reputation at New Trier being a lighthouse school even in the country, has been upheld and continues,” Director of Communications Nicole Dizon said. 

This work started in 2019 as part of the strategic plan, New Trier 2030, which outlined “Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Governance” as one of the six frameworks for New Trier to work on. New Trier wants to make sure that stakeholders are heard, provided with necessary information, and are informed about the school. 

Conducted from December 2022 to March 2023, the assessment data showed that stakeholders mainly want email communication, with the second preference being direct mail. In past years, New Trier has only sent out direct mail to every resident each February containing the Annual Plan that explains the use of taxpayer dollars and the status of academic programs and initiatives. This past September, however, New Trier sent out a new publication, the Community Guide, which moves New Trier from once-a-year mailing to one every six months. 

“It’s really an invitation to community members to come in and see our school and interact, see our world class athletes, performers, clubs, volunteer, offer jobs to our students, mentor students,” Dizon said. 

The Community Guide also welcomed community members to attend the dedication ceremony of the new East Side Academic and Athletic Facility on Sept. 9. 

“We think the Community Guide actually helped to bring a lot of people out because we really invited people in to be a part of what we do here,” Superintendent Dr. Paul Sally said.

New Trier has also worked to engage with residents next to the school, as the school wants to be a “good neighbor” to them, Sally said. 

In May, New Trier gave surrounding residents a tour of the new East Side and dinner afterward. The school had also done outreach during the West Side construction. New Trier also maintains a mailing list so that when a busy event occurs, notice is given to nearby residents to warn about increased traffic. 

New Trier created another publication, Getting to Know New Trier High School, after New Trier 2030 started, which is geared toward incoming freshmen.

Dizon pointed out that New Trier has a “unique situation,” with students coming from six feeder schools, as opposed to staying at the same school district from kindergarten through twelfth grade. 

“We have unique and wonderful and strong elementary communities, but that means sometimes the connection with these younger families gets lost until they’re almost right here in the school,” Dizon said.  

In the past, families’ first interaction with New Trier was for placement testing and course registration. That, however, overlooked the whole New Trier experience, such as clubs and activities. Now, with the publication, which is sent to students in early October before testing, they can get excited about high school.

“We wanted to make sure that families and students felt like they could belong when they got here,” Sally said. 

The publication shows future students the events, clubs, and lingo at New Trier. It shares resources, such as the Academic Assistance Center, that incoming freshmen should know to utilize. It also answers frequently asked questions, such as how to transition from a small school to a big school, the food options, and everything students should expect from homework and the rigor of the workload.

Throughout the publication, incoming students can read testimonials and advice from current Trevians who serve on Student Council. New Trier has also created in-person opportunities for future Trevians to engage with the school community. 

The Music and Theatre Department recently introduced an instrument petting zoo for future students at the Winter Music Festival. Younger children also have times when they can dance with New Trier dancers. 

Dizon wants New Trier to stay successful, and that happens when practices are in place that ensure community members feel heard by the school. 

“We are kind of a gem of the community, and we want to make sure that reputation continues and is upheld and that…we are communicating effectively with all [stakeholders] and that we have the ability to have two-way communication,” Dizon said. 

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