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Pawtucket Engages Citizens to Help Improve City and School Communication Systems

Pawtucket – The City of Pawtucket and the Pawtucket School Department launched a "Connect With Us” landing page for residents and visitors to easily contact us and stay up-to-date with the latest information. The site is available on the City and School homepages.

Residents can find links to our websites, phone numbers, social media, newsletters, calendars, registration for city and safety alerts, event booklets for the senior center and parks and recreation, online reporting for sidewalk, street sign and zoning issues, as well as the parent/student portal for our schools.

Mayor Donald R. Grebien said, “We heard from you, our residents, businesses and stakeholders, that the City and the Schools needed to make it easier to find information and sign up for the alerts that you need. This is just one step in our continuing effort to improve our customer service and remove barriers. We welcome our residents, business owners and stakeholders to connect with us.”

“There are incredible things happening in our schools every day that we want to share with parents and the community,” said Superintendent Patti DiCenso. “There are also ways in which our working families can keep up with their child’s grades, events and up-to-date information, like school closings, from home. The School Department is committed to keeping the lines of communication open with our families, and we are always looking for input and ways to improve.”

This summer, the City and School Department officials met with groups of parents, students, businesses, religious leaders, seniors, community groups and nonprofits to get their feedback on ways in which the School Department and the City communicate and engage with them, and gathered their ideas to improve those systems. Our staff reviewed the data and determined a course of action, incorporating feedback where possible.  

The review also showed a common thread between all groups – that residents needed a simple way of being able to choose the ways in which they connect with both the City and the School Department.

After looking at the data, there were some issues that could be addressed immediately and we have already gotten to work.

At the city level, we have:

  • Increased our social media presence to highlight resources within the City and communicate alerts, such as our phone system being down and extended hours.
  • Publicized our upcoming street paving list and sent advanced letters to homes letting them know.
  • Public Works has replaced and removed signs across the City. This is a large project that they will continue to work on.

At the school department level, we have:

  • Started working on our website and social media presence, including a Superintendent’s Newsletter, similar to the Mayor’s Newsletter that was well-received by participants.
  • Added a parent liaison who is able to work with parents and communicate in both English and Creole.

The focus group session was the result of Pawtucket municipal leaders taking part in an innovative leadership skills training program called ‘Leadership Matters RI'. The program was developed by The Public Sector Consortium, a national nonprofit dedicated to the ‘reinvention of public leadership for the public good in partnership with the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The improvement of communication systems and civic engagement in Pawtucket is the innovations portion of this past year’s program. 

The City of Pawtucket has made it a leadership priority to improve the one-city approach, and began with the alignment of the human resources, information technology, and financial systems between the School Department and the City.

  

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