LAI Video has a proud history of working with DC Public Schools to highlight new programs and initiatives, often with the goal of demonstrating how one school or academic community’s successes can serve as a model for implementation across the school system. But just as DCPS adjusted its protocols in light of COVID-19, we saw a need to adjust our typical approach to collaboration. To facilitate a successful return to in-person learning, all DCPS families would need to feel confident that their specific school had met its readiness plans. We had to devise a compelling campaign for 80 elementary schools and PK-8 education campuses – a campaign that would show how DCPS is ready to #ReopenStrong.
When DC Public Schools was planning the transition back from remote to in-person learning, they knew they'd need the help of a trusted partner for a truly unprecedented endeavor. Through a sweeping content package that included a PSA and eighty (!) school spotlights, we communicated to DCPS families how the school system was ready to welcome back students and staff. Did we also mention that the finished product won a 2021 Emmy for Best Public Service Announcement?
A Plan for All Plans
As Account Director, Melinda knew that the foundation of this campaign was one of immense transparency – and that sharing the perspectives of school leaders would lay the groundwork for its success. Alexandria assembled a cohort of four principals and administrators for candid interviews at an elementary school, directing the professionals who would serve as the featured voices of the campaign’s flagship PSA. From signage in multiple languages to the CARE Classrooms already open for supervised virtual instruction, Jun and Favata captured essential visuals that emphasized the school system’s commitments to prioritizing safety, maximizing learning, and providing equitable access to resources and supports. Taken together, the PSA – which lives on DCPS’ #ReopenStrong homepage – not only presents the immense steps taken to open safely, but also the importance of reopening schools with the right plan.
Filming Safety, Safely
While hearing from leaders across the school system was essential, so too was inspiring confidence among families that their child’s particular school was meeting its readiness plan. And operating under an intensive production timeline, we also understood that providing a scalable solution for eighty different schools and campuses would be critical. Using provided messaging and a strict list of required shots, Justin fashioned a master script template for use across all videos. Melinda, Alexandria and Favata convened an intricate assembly line that would have a small army of cinematographers filming the standardized visuals at each school site before turning the footage over to our editors De’von, Jun and (back to) Justin. While the footage within each video is unique to its school, the voiceover and typography across them are uniform. Viewable on each school or campus’ dedicated page on the #ReopenStrong website, the series racked up over 40,000 views in its first few weeks online, reinforcing the power of mass video communication with thoughtful localization.
Melinda is the VP of Creative Strategy who is passionate about storytelling and connecting the dots. She's also BFFs with Rachael Ray. Jealous?
Jun Young Yang
Jun has been traveling everywhere (including a place called Anguilla) to document special events and create unique images for clients.
James specializes in exploring new avenues, and who knows, together you may even end up off the map.
De'von has a diverse background; from filming in night clubs to fashion models and music videos.
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