Tacoma Public Schools

Replacing outdated perceptions

The Situation

The district didn’t deserve its bad rap. Improved test scores, innovative programs and devoted teachers were proof. Tacoma Public Schools was the only district in the state to be designated as an innovative school zone by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The district was onto great things. With hardened perceptions, it would take authenticity and persistence to break through.

The Solution

We unburied outdated perceptions through stakeholder interviews and took a deep dive into the brand structure. We found inspiration for a new brand platform in the district’s relentless efforts to close the achievement gap and to innovate. Bold messaging, a distinctive logo and an actionable communication strategy came next. And the work continues with JayRay as sometimes a guide, sometimes a resource, always a cheerleader for the district and the kids.

The Results

Following the launch, the tone of local news coverage and public conversation shifted. The district used the brand messaging platform in explaining a $500 million bond measure, which passed within months. The district’s new branded newsletter and school calendar engaged Tacoma residents in new and meaningful ways. Departments from human resources to planning services were early adopters. A bonus success? JayRay was honored with multiple national creative awards.

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