Pope Valley Union Elementary School District
Crisis Communications | Rebranding | Public Relations | Reputation Management

The Client

Pope Valley Union Elementary School District (PVUESD) is a small districtin Napa County, California, comprising a single K-8 school with about50 students. The district prides itself on offering a close-knit educationalenvironment but found itself facing a crisis that threatened toovershadow its communal values. The normally quiet district had tocontend with a high-profile trial and the ultimate conviction of a formeremployee who was found to have committed heinous acts againststudents. The district knew it had to respond quickly to media inquiries,furious parents, and a town shaken by scandal. The district engagedLee Andrews Group to prepare and execute a comprehensive crisiscommunications plan to communicate with media, support parents,students, and staff, and rebuild trust within the community.

The Challenge

PVUESD was rocked by a scandal involving a former employeeconvicted of committing heinous acts against students. The fallout fromthe trial exposed the district to intense media scrutiny, communityoutrage, and a loss of trust among parents, students, and staff. Thedistrict recognized the urgent need for a sophisticated response toaddress the concerns of all stakeholders effectively and rebuild theshaken trust within the community.

The Strategy

To navigate through this crisis, PVUESD enlisted the services of Lee Andrews Group, a firm specializing in crisis communications and reputation management. Lee Andrews Group’s strategy encompassed a comprehensive approach to crisis communication, including:

- Developing and executing a crisis communication plan that involved media outreach, newsletters, and social media engagement.

- Conducting media training for district leadership to equip them with the skills to address difficult questions regarding student safety confidently.

- Writing and distributing press releases promptly to keep the community informed about developments related to the trial and the district's steps towards recovery.

- Implementing crisis remedies to ensure transparent communication and active involvement of stakeholders in the healing process.

The Outcome

The Lee Andrews Group's crisis communication efforts have led to the development of a six-month plan aimed at restoring trust with the community through:

-Enhanced community support and engagement initiatives.

-The introduction of training and awareness programs for employees.

-Provision of counseling and other support services to those affected within the Pope Valley community.

This ongoing plan is set to improve PVUESD's reputation and rebuild the critical trust between the district and the public. With Lee Andrews Group's expertise, PVUESD has been able to proactively address the concerns of its stakeholders and reassure them of the district's unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of its students. The project is set to continue through Summer 2024, marking a significant step towards healing and strengthening the community bonds that define PVUESD.