Division A - Public Relations Programs
Category 2 - Public Service
“I Teach” Campaign
Department of Community Relations, Polk County Public Schools
In the state of Florida, teacher recruitment and retention is a key
problem, compounded in Polk County by an unprecedented growth that
outpaces the majority of the state. Motivational models and analyses
show that an employee who feels valued and appreciated is more likely
to stay in his/her job and perform at higher levels. With this in mind,
the Polk County School Board Department of Community Relations
leveraged the impact of National Teacher Appreciation Week to
collaborate with multiple community partners to circulate messages of
thanks and appreciation for our educators.
Objectives: The objective of this campaign was to
increase understanding and appreciation of the teaching profession
within the greater Polk community. The joint objective was to find a
creative way to transmit this understanding and appreciation to our
7,000-plus teachers. Short term measurable results would be improved
attitudes and feelings of being valued by our teachers with long-term
results including higher performance and employee retention.
Implementation: Having both an in-house print
shop and television production studio, it was decided to produce a
series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) alongside a poster
campaign that would allow for both high creativity and high value. To
get started a project proposal was written followed by a focus group
with community members involved in the public relations and marketing
fields. Collectively, they chose teachers who would participate in our
PSAs from a pool of Polk Teacher of the Year finalists from the past
five years. Additionally, they gave input on ideas for the scripts and
made general suggestions for processes and procedures. The scripts were
written, the selected teachers were invited to participate and a second
focus group was held with an acting coach who is also a PCSB teacher
where the teachers edited the scripts for message and authenticity.
Actors were recruited from the local acting community, with assistance
from executive directors at our local community theaters. A costume
shop was contacted and costumes were donated. A musical score was
developed and recorded by a local musician free of charge. PCSB staff
directed, filmed and post-produced the series. Air time grants were
secured with Bright House, Comcast, and PGTV to show the PSAs. The
commercials were made available to all of the schools to show on their
Our Office of Community Involvement contacted
the CEO of Cobb Theatres to see if they would offer an incentive to our
teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. Cobb Theatres not only offered
children’s rates (a $3.50 discount) to all PCSB employees for that
week, but also agreed to play one of our PSAs in the pre-movie
advertisements at both of their Polk County locations. Letters were
sent out to all area Chambers of Commerce and economic development
groups in Polk County asking that businesses use their marquee signs to
celebrate our teachers during this week.
Letters were sent to the
principals of all schools notifying them of the campaign, asking them
to use their marquees to celebrate teachers, and with instructions on
the posters, the videos, and the special movie rate for teachers.
An electronic survey was developed and distributed to school board
employees and community members, representing both teachers and
non-teachers. The results showed the following:
88 percent of teachers who responded to the survey were aware of one or more programs associated with the “I teach” campaign.
percent of teachers who responded to the survey and were aware of one
or more of these programs felt marked improvements in either levels of
support from the Polk County community, levels of support from their
district administration, or motivation to succeed at their jobs.
90 percent of all respondents to the survey were aware of one or more programs associated with the campaign.
percent of all respondents who were aware of one or more of these
programs felt marked improvements in either their support for teachers
in the Polk County community or levels of support for teachers from
their district administration.
Budget: The actual out-of-pocket costs for this
campaign were $250 paid in set-up fees to Cobb Theatres for converting
our commercial to go on the big screen and $75 for the in-house
printing of the posters. Studio space, costumes, music, and air time
were all donated by community partners. Bright House aired the PSAs
2,016 times for a value of $100,800. Comcast aired the PSAs 300 times
for a value of $15,000. Cobb’s teacher discount represents an estimated
$4,000 donation. Airtime during the pre-movie advertisements represents
an additional estimated donation of $10,000 for a total of $129,800 in
in-kind donations. Approximately 215 “on the clock” man hours were
spent recruiting, developing, writing, filming, editing, designing and
distributing the pieces of this campaign. An additional 98 hours were
volunteered by our focus groups, actors, teachers, and other community
partners to make this campaign successful.