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Selling schools via video.

Dwindling student enrollment, plans to build new schools, or luring teachers are among the reasons public schools nationwide are using video to make their cases. And we're not just talking VC!R videos, but high-tech videos accessible on a Web site or DVD.

Using videotapes for communicating to parents or business groups has been around for 25 years, according to Edward H. Moore, associate director of the National School Public Relations Association. "What we're seeing now and why it's more prevalent is that the technologies have converged in the past few years to make it very easy and affordable for districts to use video in many different ways to reach constituencies," he says.

Districts are using it mainly for three purposes: Luring students to their schools given dwindling pupil enrollment; showing parents why building a new school, or any other project, is needed given overcrowding; or recruiting teachers, Moore says.

Mounds View Public Schools in Roseville, Minn., is just one district using a high-tech video to lure students from surrounding areas. The district, which has roughly 10,000 students, is down 1,600 students since 1998 mainly due to declining birth rates, according to Colin Sokolowski, district spokesman. The district, which gains $4,600 from the state per student, plans to cut $4.4 million from its 2005-06 school budget and close two elementary schools, he says.

The district decided a video touting its personalized attention and high test scores would lure others in. Producing the video cost the district $17,000, a small sum for something that would hopefully garner hundreds of thousands of dollars, Sokolowski says.

The professionally produced seven-minute video interweaves clips of students using protractors in class, playing violins and acting on stage, as well as playing on athletic teams. Several parents, teachers and students explain the benefits of Mounds View, touting it as a high achieving school that offers a plethora of programs for any interest.
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Title Annotation:Update: education news from schools, businesses, research and government agencies
Author:Pascopella, Angela
Publication:District Administration
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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