Determining levels of crisis severity
The Environmental Charter School (ECS), is dedicated to maintaining safe and healthy schools that promote the well-being of its inhabitants and fosters a unique learning environment for all students. There’s a lot of background work that contributes to sustaining a safe space, but like many schools, our ECS community plays an important role.
Through multi-departmental collaboration, the district has a variety of tools for Crisis Monitoring and Management, and proper communication is key. Oftentimes, I partner with the student services and academic teams to identify the need, learn about next steps, and communicate with families in a timely manner. While there are several crises that can occur in and around schools, it is critical to understand that they vary in levels of severity and can include personal student events that may have little to no impact on their peers but are of high stakes for that individual.
When a crisis of any size does occur, it is helpful to have an idea of what’s coming down the pipeline. For this reason, ECS not only pays careful attention to its community’s voice and tip lines, but the district also uses several platforms to monitor for potential crises, one of which is Meltwater.
Alerts and feedback loops to aid comms
In the Meltwater system, users have the opportunity to create several searches using keywords, phrases, locations, and source types. Searches provide the district with information regarding potential crises, threats, online bullying, and more. Once ECS set up its searches, we programmed alerts and feedback loops to ensure information is distributed appropriately, and if needed, quickly. Depending on the information, I organized searches using the alert types.
While some media mentions are emailed only to me once a day through Meltwater’s Daily Digest, other searches are connected to one of the alerts above. For example, if the system recognizes a keyword within a search coupled with the “Every Mention” alert, an email will go out immediately to myself and the superintendent and CEO of ECS.
Within Meltwater itself, I can view total mentions, trends, and top keywords for different time frames. This feature allows me to easily report figures during 1:1 meetings, enhance my future searches, and showcase the work the communication department does to either generate positive mentions or combat negative ones.
Whether media mentions are positive, neutral, or negative, Meltwater makes it easy to manage by providing reach and sentiment information directly on each mention.
Meltwater also allows me to change the sentiment. For example, the mention below was originally labeled as neutral, however, the section that mentioned ECS was quite positive and aligned well with the district’s mission statement.
ECS is proud of its commitment and work to ensure student and staff safety and well-being. In addition to its monitoring practices with Meltwater, the district also has a robust student services team with a school counselor, social worker, and nurse in every building. ECS’s Primary and Intermediate schools were recently awarded the title of a “Banner School” for its Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) initiatives, and the district uses Second Step (K–5) and Wayfinder (6–12) curricula to support Social and Emotional Learning.
Together, ECS’s efforts allow for an accessible and equitable learning environment with safety, security, and the best interests of those we serve at the forefront of all decision-making.