Spotlight on Somers CSD - March 2019

March 13, 2019

Podcasts. Newsletters. A television talk show. Facebook Live. Animation. Web Videos. You name it, Somers Central School District does it – all in the name of keeping its community informed and connected.

In the past few years, Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch and his administrative team have upped their game when it comes to communicating with students, parents and community members. Always transparent, the district has taken its communications to a new level by employing as many means as possible to reach different stakeholders.
Helping the district achieve this high level of engagement is Amanda Bergen, a communications specialist with Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES assigned to the Somers Central School District. Bergen creates the newsletters and podcasts, plans the television segments, films brief videos and otherwise assists with communications. A former broadcast journalist, Bergen won a state award earlier this year for her video on the district’s L.I.F.E (Learning Inclusively For Everyone) initiative.

Tusker Nation, an electronic newsletter, is published monthly and sent out to parents to keep them abreast of upcoming events, student and faculty success stories and district initiatives. For faculty and staff, the district publishes Tusker Herd, a periodic electronic newsletter that delves into subjects such as the math curriculum, project-based learning and instructional practices.

A few times a year, Superintendent Blanch hosts “Spotlight on Somers,” a television segment where topics like school security and inclusive learning are discussed in depth. Spotlight episodes, produced by the School Communications Service in collaboration with the Creative Services Department at BOCES, can be accessed on the website under the Families tab and the video library, or viewed on local cable access channels.

The district also has animated explainer videos and live action videos created by the School Communications Service and the Creative Services Department at BOCES. Posted to Facebook and the video library on the website, the videos cover high school academics, social and emotional wellness, the middle school, visual and performing arts, and the budget process.

“Dr. Blanch is an excellent communicator and he appreciates the importance of keeping the community informed,” said Ellen Lane, director of communications at BOCES. “With an accomplished professional like Amanda creating content, the district is able to ensure that everyone -- students, parents, teachers and community members – knows what’s happening and has an opportunity to participate.”
For his part, Superintendent Blanch said “We have found the PNW BOCES School Communications Service to be invaluable, especially in the social media area. Amanda is always stretching our thinking about how we can communicate about the great things in our schools.  For example, this fall we hosted our first-ever Facebook Live event to rave reviews from our SCSD community.”