They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but Boston school officials hope an expensive blitz of image advertising will be enough to win over a public more accustomed to school horror stories than fairy tales. The district is planning an extensive PR campaign for the coming school year, including professional photographs of teachers and students interacting; “ambassadors” to share good news about the school district with the public; and two newly hired communications professionals who will “manage negative stories” and “set the record straight” in the case of unfavorable press. All this comes with price tag of more than $520,000, and both grants and taxpayers will help cover the bill. Advocates of the PR strategy cite the district’s diving enrollment numbers and say the plan is simply a way to shine a light on the district’s successes. Others, however, are more dubious. “You want people to be cheerleaders for their schools,” said city councilor John Tobin. “But this is not Moscow. This is the city of Boston.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.