Education Crisis Communications

Strategic Communications. Meaningful Results.

The Perry Group | Tel: 401-331-4600

Creating a thriving school community is a difficult undertaking. K-12 school systems, and the chief executives who lead them face an unprecedented barrage of crises – health pandemics, politically charged conflicts and unfathomable tragedies. Not to mention the myriad legal and human resources challenges that in recent years, have only gotten worse.

We can help. The Educational Crisis Communications practice within The Perry Group couples the critical lived experience and institutional knowledge of Victor Capellan, a former school superintendent, New York City school principal and Rhode Island state education official, with Gregg Perry, a seasoned communicator who brings creative thinking, legal sensitivity and a unique perspective to clients who are facing reputation challenges.Together, Capellan and Perry have more than 65 years of combined experience in education and communications.

When navigating crises, the first several hours are critical. Having individuals who understand all the nuances and interactions happening during a crisis in a school setting because they have been in those leadership positions, is invaluable. Leveraging our extensive experience navigating myriad crisis situations for our corporate clients, The Perry Group provides education leaders the tools to develop a cohesive and transparent narrative to help them navigate reputation threats in a way that will build a thriving and caring school community.

Our Work in Education

University Crisis Communications
Since 2015, The Perry Group has served as strategic communications counsel to both the president and chief of marketing communications of one of the nation’s leading colleges. Our work has focused on crisis communications, and labor relations issues, including a strike by non-faculty staff as well as faculty labor negotiations. In 2016, we developed an enterprise-level crisis communications plan for the school and in 2019 TPG updated that plan to incorporate the School of Continuing Education, and its Summer Youth Program.

Labor Relations for Public Schools
In the era of COVID-19, The Perry Group worked with multiple school districts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island locked in disagreements with teacher union locals over issues surrounding on-line and hybrid learning.  Our work included developing direct communications to parents, students and the faculty as well as media relations.

Racial Discrimination at a Massachusetts High School
Racial discrimination happens blatantly and subtly, in the case of one of Massachusetts largest high schools with a majority BIPOC student body, a blatant display of bigotry by a white teacher led a newly installed Superintendent to hire The Perry Group to provide counsel during a year-long crisis that included litigation and other challenges.

Crisis Communications Programs for an Educational Accreditation Organization
An educational accreditation organization engaged The Perry Group to develop a crisis communications program for this organization that partners with 1500 public, independent, and international schools in the US and worldwide to assess, support, and promote high quality education for all students through accreditation, professional assistance, and pursuit of best practices. The Perry Group continues to serve as outside crisis communications counsel on an on-going basis as needs arise.

Informing the Community
A confidential public school district in Massachusetts hired The Perry Group to assist with developing a communications program following the arrest of an elementary school teacher and coach arrested on multiple child pornography counts.  Working with outside legal counsel and the Superintendent of Schools, The Perry Group provided counsel that included the development a multi-tiered communications program designed to keep the public informed, and programs to assist students and parents navigate the psychological issues surrounding the issue.

Communications Around Racism in Sports Teams
When high school football players meet on the gridiron – tensions can become heated quickly.  When one of the teams is majority white and the other majority BIPOC and racial slurs are tossed around, those tensions boil over.  The Perry Group was hired to help a large Massachusetts school district develop appropriate and sensitive communications for students, parents, coaches, faculty and the media in the immediate aftermath of this incident and during the subsequent investigation.

Executive Transitions
In any organization when a top leader announces plans to leave, there is natural apprehension among key stakeholders about what the impact of that departure will be on the organization. When the leader is a dynamic change agent who has put in place serious education reforms at a prominent Rhode Island day school, an abrupt departure by that leader can undermine the good work they accomplished.  The Perry Group was engaged to draft and execute a strategy to inform key audiences about the executive transition, why the new leader was chosen and how the innovations put in place will continue to move forward.