New Roads School: Reputation Management and Crisis Communications Case Study

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New Roads School (NRS) is a college preparatory K-12 private independent school in Santa Monica, CA, serving over 500 school age children from the greater Los Angeles area.

NRS was in a lawsuit brought by its founder that had the potential to adversely impact day-to-day operations and the reputation of the school. This required triage-like message development, presentation training of school leaders, board members and staff to assuage a wide variety of audiences by accurately presenting salient information,?being responsive to concerns about “transparency” and pre-empting and/or responding to the whack-a-mole rumor mill. NRS was in need an experienced crisis communications firm in the Los Angeles area.

Working closely with legal counsel, board members and school leaders, Bob Gold & Associates (BG&A) developed a comprehensive strategic communications plan. We refined messaging to effectively and proactively present the position of the Board and school management on controversial,?sensitive, or otherwise high-stakes/high visibility issues that had the potential to generate interest and/or controversy and negative reputational consequence in the media, the general public and school constituents. As the lawsuit progressed, and multiple attacks came up, we met each assault with immediate responses that could be shared with parents, teachers, staff, and prospective families.

As reactions to the lawsuit quieted, we focused on representing the true strength and uniqueness of the school with an integrated media campaign and consistent narrative and messaging of one voice – one vision that broke through the clutter identifying the school’s under-recognized achievements,?highlighting its unique student initiatives and telling?a?positive?story of educational excellence and leadership.

BG&A assisted NRS by crafting 12 internal communications documents, placed 14 stories in local press broadening their visibility to new audiences and gained 2 invitations to present at national educational conferences focused on diversity.

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