Though they still guide much of the District’s messaging, traditional communication methods like phone calls, letters, and even e-mail are being eclipsed by digital tools. CPS has greatly expanded its social media presence in the past few years, and this month, the Communications Department launched its first-ever YouTube news magazine show.
Called “Inside CPS,” this bi-monthly program gives parents, staff and communities a glimpse at what is happening day-to-day around the District. The show features relevant news, highlights special events in schools, and shines a spotlight on outstanding CPS teachers. It also gives stakeholders a digestible look at the policies and initiatives that guide the District’s progress.
“Today’s wired world has fragmented communications channels that have radically expanded how people consume information,” said Ron Iori, Chief Communications Officer for CPS. “We need to keep parents, students and all of Chicago informed about the District, and this show offers a new way to reach people in a medium that is widely used.”
Filmed throughout the District, “Inside CPS” will feature some consistent on-air talent, including Deputy Press Secretary Jessica Perez, who acts as the show’s anchor. Perez, who joined the CPS Communications Department earlier this year, brings considerable experience to this role, having worked as a reporter for KTUZ-TV Telemundo in Oklahoma City.
“I am excited to be a part of this innovative endeavor which allows me to blend my background in broadcast and production with my passion for education and positivity,” said Perez. “I look forward to keeping people up-to-date and informed on the latest happenings at CPS, and showcasing the special moments and stories which strengthen our District and inspire us each and every day.”
The first episode of “Inside CPS” featured a warm welcome from CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in which she encouraged the audience to become regular viewers.
“This program is a place to hear our District’s stories,” she said. “Stories about the success of our students and staff, and the initiatives that raise the bar for our children and support their academic, social and emotional growth.”
The first episode also featured special events, such as a visit by Grammy-nominated performer Josh Groban to Chalmers Elementary, and a touching tribute to veteran teacher James “Fitz” Fitzgerald, who has been teaching at Hubbard High School for 48 years.
“In a District this size, there are always great stories to tell,” said Jackie Rodgers, Executive Director of Digital and Marketing. “As we move forward with this show, we hope viewers will let us know about the programs and people that are making a difference in their schools so that we can share that news with all of CPS. We hear so often that the news media focuses only on the negative, so we wanted to put the spotlight where it should be—on the great work our students, teachers and parents do every day.”
Set to be released next week, Episode 2 will feature a breakdown of the District’s new School Quality Ratings Policy (SQRP), as well as some heartwarming holiday stories, including a returning soldier’s surprise homecoming at his children’s north side school.
To watch all episodes of “Inside CPS”, visit www.youtube.com/chipubschools. And to recommend a story for this program, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org