In the summer of 2015, Seattle Public School teachers went on strike for five days. Strikes are not unusual in K-12 public education, but can scar relationships permanently and divide a community. Seattle Public Schools needed a strategy that began with the end in mind; informing audiences while protecting relationships with teachers for the long term, despite differing viewpoints at the bargaining table.
Using prior experience with bargaining, Jacque developed a strategy that involved consistent messaging, straightforward tonality and regular updates to the public. Issues were many, including the instructional day and salary compensation. Messaging in media briefings, updates to parents and FAQs centered on the lack of adequate state funding which impacted the amount of money Seattle actually had to reach agreement with teachers. A Seattle Times Guest Opinion piece is one example which helped inform the public on the issue of state K-12 education funding; a complex issue on which both the district and the union agreed.
To build trust through transparency, Jacque recommended the district post both district and union bargaining proposals on the district web site side-by-side to enable the public to read without filters.