Establishing Trust and Transparency at Magnolia Public Schools



Magnolia Public Schools (Magnolia) has distinguished itself over the past 13 years as a high-quality network of public charter schools that has developed a critical academic pathway for students throughout California. However, negative perceptions about its operations were adversely affecting the Magnolia brand and jeopardizing school reauthorizations. Magnolia hired respected education reform leader and turnaround expert Dr. Caprice Young to take the helm as CEO and address their organizational needs. Magnolia turned to Larson Communications during this critical transition to help rebuild trust with authorizers, families and teachers by strategically communicating to stakeholders that through this new leadership, the Magnolia system would be strong, stable and accountable.



Larson Communications ran a series of media campaigns as well as direct communications to stakeholders to regain trust and establish leadership and transparency. These campaigns sought to redefine Magnolia on its own terms by leveraging Dr. Young’s leadership and credibility as the new CEO. They also were designed to show the significant corrective steps Magnolia was taking to strengthen the organization’s processes to complement the strength of its schools. 



Prior to the hiring of Dr. Young and engaging Larson Communications, Magnolia was featured negatively in 21 news stories in 2014— without any positive coverage. Over a period of several months, Larson Communications dramatically improved the media and broader public’s perception of Magnolia, with the second quarter of 2015 yielding more than a dozen strong news stories showcasing the positive gains Magnolia made. Magnolia’s first announcement on Dr. Young assuming leadership of Magnolia Public Schools led to nine stories in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, LA School Report and other publications, which began to spark an overall change in the tone of Magnolia’s coverage. Now the news media and broader public are beginning to understand that the organization is making real and impactful changes – setting Magnolia up for further expansion and impact.


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