Do you read the weekly Legenda? The Chronicle? See a well-worded letter from Atlanta Classical? Behind all these communications is a volunteer team led by parent Frost Osborne. We sat down with Frost to hear more about her background, her journey with ACA, and her goals for overall school communications.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got to ACA.
I’m a Georgia native, but my extended family is all from Virginia. I majored in journalism in college but realized at the end of my senior year that I wasn’t actually cut out to be a reporter. I first moved to Washington, D.C., to try my hand at public affairs, but it never felt like home. I have lived in Atlanta since 1997 and worked in public relations and corporate communications throughout my professional career. Ever since we had kids I’ve freelanced for a variety of clients, which affords me a flexible parent lifestyle.
We are an ACA founding family, with our son Charlie now in fifth grade and our daughter Mary Frost in second. I’ll never forget the moment we got the call that Charlie had gotten in off of that original wait list for first grade – we continue to feel that we won the lottery in every sense. My husband Chuck and I are both products of liberal arts educations and we are so grateful for everyone who has made ACA what it is today.
What is your role at ACA and how has it evolved over the years?
For the first two years the school was open I did not get involved at school other than in classroom volunteering and reading groups. In the third year I started to dip my toe into trying to help out however I could. I quickly found out that when you speak up a lot, you end up helping to solve the problem!
When Matthew Kirby asked me to help with development efforts, I was honored. I spent last year as the development and communications director and launched the Giants capital campaign and Cavalier Fund annual fund. We also began the process of creating a formal communications function where one did not yet exist, outside of the administration. ACA’s needs in those two areas are so great that we split them into two different roles, and for the long-term success of the school it was critical to have an experienced professional in the development role. This year we are so fortunate to have Mary Ellen Cenzalli as our Director of Advancement, and we have shifted the communications function to a PTCA role with a team of volunteers who assist in several different areas.
What are your goals for communications at ACA?
Our primary goal for this year was to streamline our internal communications channels so it would be easier for families to keep up with need-to-know information that’s clear, easy to read, and easy to access. We also wanted a way to feature stories about our amazing school, students, and community.
As a parent, what are the channels I can use to get information about the school, or to communicate with the school?
We have four primary communications channels: the Legenda, our weekly email communication; The Chronicle, our feature newsletter; the website; and social media. There are also stand-alone emails, and we try to be judicious with those.
So far this year we have focused on getting the Legenda off the ground and refining The Chronicleto a feature-focused format. We have a team of 10+ volunteers who work really hard behind the scenes to make these things happen. These are great volunteer roles that can often be done from home or remotely (hint, hint…).
Mr. Greer is the primary driver behind social media on Facebook and Instagram. We have a lot of opportunity to do more with video overall. Our website is ready for a refresh; we have several people who keep the current site updated.
What do you think we are doing well with communications, and where do you see opportunities for growth as the school grows?
Implementing the Legenda as our weekly need-to-know communication channel this year has helped keep key dates and deadlines easier to access and top-of-mind. We have changed The Chronicle to a feature newsletter that helps tell the ACA story. We have a lot of passion and a lot of good news to share.
ACA has done an amazing job with shoestring resources in the communications realm. People never realize how much time storytelling requires, and we continue to have the opportunity to bring the essence of ACA to life for those who aren’t able to be there every day.
Our biggest growth potential is with the website, and evolving our communications so they don’t get lost in your email inbox. We also need to tell our story externally more frequently to increase awareness among the broader Atlanta community.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your job?
I’ve been so grateful to peek behind the curtain and realize the dedication, energy, and passion that drives our school every day. I’ve gotten to know so many more parents from different grade levels – the same goes for faculty and staff. Before I was involved in the school I knew what my kids were doing in their classrooms, but I had no idea what went on in the back office, how hard the faculty work, and how much they love our kids. We are so lucky to have their minds engaged with our children daily.
How can other parents get involved with what your team is doing? Where do you most need support?
The fact that we are able to do what we do with an all-volunteer team is pretty remarkable. I’m so appreciative of everyone who lends their time to help. We can always use story tips and storytellers – writers, photographers, videographers! Do you know a student who is extraordinary? A parent who is going above and beyond with volunteering? A teacher who is doing something unique? Please, send those ideas our way! Send story ideas or contact us about volunteering with the communications team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also are always looking for volunteers skilled with MailChimp, WordPress, and video. We have a lot of opportunity with social media and video, but we just don’t have the bandwidth or resources to manage that yet. We need people who are tech-savvy with the applications and the ways stories get told.
I’m immensely grateful for our communications team volunteers who do the lion’s share of the work behind the communications our families see: Sarah Burke; Stacey Elgin; Brittney Fenning; Amy Lambert; Rebecca McArthur; Tish Spearman; Amy Stewart; Ashlee Stubits; Martina Svboda; and Suzanne Williams. Our PTCA chairs play a large role in communications, too – thank you Joy and Lisa!
We are all looking forward to what 2019 holds for ACA and bringing those stories to life.