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Strategic Plan for Communications

Read the New Strategic Communications Plan for Pioneer School on this web page, or download the PDF.

Pioneer Elementary Strategic Plan for 2017-2018

Strategic Goals

Pioneer Elementary Will:

  • Maximize every child’s learning
  • Create safe, nurturing learning environments
  • Enhance parent and community engagement
  • Maintain effective, efficient and innovative support systems
  • Manage fiscal resources effectively and efficiently

Panther Mission

The mission of Pioneer Elementary is to serve the community and the school by creating a safe environment that fosters respect, trust, accountability and responsibility while promoting lifelong learning for all.

Core Values

We believe that the developmental needs of children are central to every aspect of the operations of Pioneer Elementary School and that interactions with our stakeholders must be governed by our core values – integrity, responsibility, innovation, excellence and professionalism.

Pioneer Elementary School Administration

Melissa Schnitzmeier, Principal/Superintendent
Pioneer Elementary School
1937 Dover Road
Billings, Montana 59105
(406) 373-5357

Pioneer Elementary School Board of Trustees

Bill Bullard Board – Chair
Kari Jones – Trustee
Sara O’Brien – Trustee

Needs Assessment & Rationale

Our small, independent school located north-east of Billings Heights has been providing students with a personalized and quality education since 1905. Pioneer School serves students in grades kindergarten through the sixth grade, averaging approximately 60 students per year.

As we continue to strive for excellence while providing our students with the absolute best learning opportunities it becomes necessary to evaluate our systems and practices. Growth within the 21st Century requires a more active communications system and relationships with our stakeholders has become crucial to that growth and success. The addition of a strategic communications plan will achieve the following:

  • Forge partnerships
  • Provide value to parents, employees, and public
  • Handle relations with various media
  • Focus toward a common vision for clear communication with the districts stakeholders


Communications Process

Driving Questions

The two questions that will be asked for every program, activity, or decision will be:

  1. How does this benefit our students/employees?
  2. How do we communicate it to our stakeholders?

Team Responsibilities:

  • Anticipate image problems; provide solutions
  • Handle all aspects of district publications, e.g., external newspaper and internal newsletter, Web site
  • Act as the key contact for the media: writing news releases; working to get media coverage of district news
  • Design objective, informational materials for budget/bond issue campaigns
  • Design all levels of communications, including writing a crisis communication plan
  • Conduct public relations research, surveys, and polls; interpreting results for management
  • Create avenues for student/staff recognition and promote community input

Target Audiences


  1. Students
  2. Staff
    2.1. Classified
    2.3. Principal
  3. School Board


  1. Parents
  2. Prospective Employees
  3. Parent Organizations
  4. Business Community
  5. Community Groups
  6. Electronic Media – Website, E-Mail, Facebook, Television
  7. Print Media – Newsletters, Newspapers, Flyers, etc.

Communications Goals

Goal: Improve internal and external communication systems with the specific goal of creating open, two-way communication between the School Board, Principal, staff, students, parents, and the district’s stakeholders.







Special Considerations

The purpose of the Pioneer Elementary Communications Plan is to present a clear and concise framework for communication with our school community. The plan primarily addresses two types of school district audiences: internal (students, teachers, staff, and board) and external (parents, businesses, and other members of the district’s community).

Staff support for and involvement in this plan is vital – particularly teachers and office staff who are highly influential sources of information for the public. The Pioneer Elementary staff carries the message of the school district to their families and friends who in turn from opinions about the schools. We must have as a top priority the goal of clearly communication our unified message at all times.

The newly composed Public Relations Team will manage publications, marketing, community relations, and offer leadership on all comprehensive communications services and strategies for the district under the direct supervision of the principal.

Key steps to ensuring solid communication throughout this implementation include:

  • Making certain that this plan is public
  • Communicating and reporting progress
  • Supporting school-wide action planning
  • Connecting this plan to all school initiatives

Crisis Communications

Administrators, teachers, and other staff of Pioneer Elementary have both a moral obligation and legal responsibility to provide for the life, health and property of students, faculty and staff and to protect the public’s property.

Unanticipated tragic events can quickly escalate into a school-wide catastrophe if not dealt with immediately and effectively. Knowing what to do when a crisis occurs can minimize the size of the catastrophe and the impact of the event on students, staff and community alike.

Pioneer’s crisis plan provides a comprehensive and concise operational plan to address most emergency situations. The format follows the phases listed in each classroom and office area. It is imperative that all Pioneer Elementary employees know where their building plans are located and have read and understand each of them.


Being that different measurements work best in different situations, the tracking system (measurement process) will be evaluated annually to determine whether planned goals were met. The team will engage in formal and informal evaluation of communication practices. The communications plan and systems will be reviewed and/or updated annually to ensure success of implementation.

Highlighted Important Strategies:

  • Keep Communications Simple
    • Use clear, concise and non-educational style for all publications
    • Vary the types and level of communication to target diverse audiences
  • Provide Timely Information
  • Communicate Early and Often
  • Communicate Face-to-Face
  • Emphasize Customer Service
  • Train Staff
  • Develop Relationships with Our Community
  • Study the Media

Sociological Inventory

District 41

Customs & Traditions

  • Open House
  • Pancake Breakfast
  • Chili Cook-Off

Population Characteristics – based on entire 59105 area code, not just District 41

Community Channels

  • Newspaper/Internet
  • Radio
  • School Newsletter

Community Groups

  • School PTA
  • 4-H


  • School Board
  • ½ Administrator (current year only)

Economic Conditions

  • Farming/Ranching
  • Management/Professional
  • Construction/Extraction

Political Structure N/A

Read the New Strategic Communications Plan for Pioneer School on this web page, or download the PDF.

Social Tensions

  • Outsiders/change
  • HOA Dispute

Community Change History

  • They don’t like change – especially when they know little about it

Sources of Information

  • Student enrollment forms
  • US Census Statistics
  • Interviews with residents

Community Power Structures

  • Amorphous

School Power Structures

  • School Board