City Schools developing new branding

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NW1216 ECS logo
In an age in which Americans recognize and respond to thousands of brands daily, the Elizabethton City School Board finds it important to appropriately market its image.
For this reason, ECS Public Relations Coordinator Kayla Carter, Director of School Dr. Corey Gardehour and school personnel have met to develop the system’s icon and “tag.” The tag concisely conveys the schools’ vision and mission.
“The important thing with branding is that when people see it, they know it’s us,” said Gardenhour.
When people see Elizabethton and read the tagline, he said they will know what teachers and students do, what the system expects, and what students can expect after graduation out of a career.
The branding group, consisting of Carter, Gardenhour, Harold McCormick Library Media Specialist Carla Whiles and Elizabethton High School Art Teacher Lisa Malone, presented nine logos and the tagline “support, growth, success.”
The goal, Gardenhour said, is to allow the community to give input on the designs and tag, and then to narrow down and promote the image.
Carter said that while some school systems like in Kingsport and Asheville have totally redeveloped the image, they believe Elizabethton residents value tradition and may want to retain elements of the old logo, like the shield.
“When you find the right brand, it changes everything,” Chair Rita Booher said.
Identifying the perfect fonts and design elements to make it recognizable can make a huge difference, she said, referencing East Tennessee State University’s recent brand change to the “E” with the state of Tennessee in the middle.
Board members also reviewed the school’s vision statement, which they agreed was outdated and used what may now be perceived as negative language.
The negative lines identified read “…ECS is to use all the data we have…” and “…no student is left behind…”
Board Member Susan Peters presented a revised version for consideration which avoided reference to No Child Left Behind and what many have called over-testing for data collection. It was well-received.
Gardenhour emphasized the importance of the new statement’s accuracy and clarity, saying it should provide strategic direction and describe what the school system wants to achieve.
The board will host a workshop in the near future to review the vision and mission statements as well as a proposed social media policy.
In other news, board members approved the creation of an additional part-time assistant to the teacher position for the Early Learning Center.
Director of Early Learning Services Eddie Pless said they are required to have a ratio of one teacher for every ten students. Though the center has had different mixes of full- and part-tim teachers in the past, he said it has always met its required ratio.
They currently have 80 students divided between four classes. Class schedules are currently staggered so that two part-time teachers in each class can meet these requirements.
The additional part-time assistant will rotate between the classes as needed on a regular but flexible schedule.
The position will be funded through recurring grants from the lottery and a special education fund.
“There are enough duties, that if they’re not filling in for someone, they’ll still have a lot to do,” said Pless. “We just need another person on hand.
We feel like this will make a difference, and we could really use this position.”

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