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School Districts are Paying to Burnish Their Brands to
Counter Images and Compete with Charters
BY: Kathy Boccella

The Norristown Area School District hasn’t been in the news much in the last few years, and what little coverage it did get tended to focus on fights with the state over lack of funding, or how it coped with high poverty rates in the Montgomery County river town that gives it its name.

So when Christopher Dormer took over last August as superintendent, one of his first priorities was a sweeping district-wide effort to rebuild the brand of the Norristown district’s schools.

In just seven months, the school district, which includes Norristown and East and West Norriton, has unveiled a new logo (a distinctive block “N”) and begun working on a redrawn eagle mascot, hired a communications specialist and launched new accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — all toward a goal of bringing back a positive vibe.

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AP-NORC Poll: Bullying, Not Schools, Blamed for Shootings
BY: Emily Swanson, Carolyn Thompson and Hannah Fingerhut

Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting made practicing for armed intruders as routine as fire drills, many parents have only tepid confidence in the ability of schools to stop a gunman, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And while most Americans consider schools less safe than they were 20 years ago, the poll finds a majority say schools aren't at fault for shootings. Bullying, the availability of guns, the internet and video games share more of the blame.

Lee Wisdom, a mother of two in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, believes students and staff have been trained as much as possible to prepare for an attack, but worries schools are still vulnerable to things beyond their control, like a parent holding the door for a stranger or a child sneaking his father's gun in a backpack.

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