School Annual Reports: Beyond The Numbers

by Jack Sheard, IdeaBank Marketing Strategist


Ah, school district annual reports. Those wonderful required collections of data remind taxpayers of not only a district’s academic achievements — but also how much of their money the district is spending.

If you’re a school superintendent, you know it's always a fun story to tell.

Numbers alone, however, probably don’t tell the story you hope to convey. Unfortunately, most school districts don't take advantage of the opportunity an annual report affords to tell the right story to a larger audience than a typical Facebook post, note home or local newspaper article can reach.

Here's a checklist of items every superintendent should consider including in his or her next annual report:

  • Vivid pictures of kids — in living color! Kids are the business. The emotion of students can tell the story of what happens in your classrooms better than enrollment numbers alone.
  • The story of you! Every annual report should have at least a quote or memo from the superintendent. What are you proud of? What are you excited about?
  • Student successes! Whether they be recent graduates in the real world or current students with compelling stories, it is important to give real-life success stories.
  • And, yes, the numbers ... presented in an engaging way! OK, so numbers are numbers, but displaying them in a compelling design, stressing the data you want people to focus on, can make all the difference.

While not all Nebraska school districts can afford an in-house communication director, designer and content producer, every community deserves Class A quality work. That's why we've started IdeaBank Education — so all school districts can reap the benefits of an in-house strategic communication adviser and full team of marketing professionals at a realistic, affordable price.

A powerful annual report can carry a district’s message to taxpayers, current and future parents and potential community partners.

  • Explain the goals of the superintendent
  • Highlight in an engaging way the data the Nebraska Department of Education requires the district to share
  • Tell the story of the district beyond the data
  • Build trust with taxpayers and parents

At IdeaBank, we have a team of artists, designers, writers and editors who can turn your annual report into a true marketing masterpiece to tell the story of your district in a positive way.

Call IdeaBank Marketing today to transform your annual report from an obligation into an opportunity!