In 2012, the district was recognized at the national level for the work it puts into biannual Patron Tours with a National School Boards Association Magna Award Honorable Mention. Patron Tours highlight an elementary and a high school and begin as patrons are greeted by the superintendent, Governing Board members, school principals and, of course, students. While opening comments are shared, patrons enjoy a continental breakfast prepared and served by the school’s culinary arts students. Student guides lead small groups on the tour which includes visits to classrooms. A ride on a big yellow school bus to the second school is included and the day concludes with a question and answer session.
The issue of building relationships and maintaining a connection with the district’s business community and patrons is crucial. Patron Tours allow for increased understanding of the role of public education—its successes, its strengths, its needs and its dilemmas. The tours have been attended by elected officials, business leaders, prospective parents and the media. Each one has its own flavor to reflect the culture of the schools that are being showcased. The district leverages its solid relationships with the media to spread the word about upcoming tours and disseminates information through social media.