K-12 Leaders’ Biggest Challenges: Insights for Education Marketers

By December 15, 2021No Comments

What challenges keep K-12 leaders up at night? The answer to this question can help education marketers understand how to craft messages that resonate with school and district buyers—and during a recent CB&A Expert Series webinar, Project Tomorrow CEO Julie Evans revealed what her organization’s research has to say on this topic.

For nearly 20 years, Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey has polled K-12 students, parents, teachers and administrators to gauge their views on educational technology, school climate, the future of learning and more.

During the Nov. 18 webinar, Evans shared what the 2020-21 Speak Up data indicate are educators’ most pressing challenges.

View the Webinar: 5 Essential Truths about EdTech in Schools Today

For school district chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs), cyber security and student data privacy are the top areas of concern. As schools have invested in more digital tools to support remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic, this has created additional opportunities for cybercriminals to attack K-12 networks and for student data to become compromised.

The top five priorities for edtech leaders are as follows:

  1. Ransomware/cybersecurity
  2. Student data privacy (and teachers’ lack of knowledge about data privacy safeguards)
  3. Digital access for students at home, including the provision of tech support for families
  4. IT staff morale/motivation—and the increased workload in supporting all of this new technology in schools
  5. Helping teachers change their practices to use technology more effectively

Student learning loss and the social and emotional well-being of students and staff are among the biggest concerns for both principals and district-level administrators right now. The pandemic has taken a big toll on students and staff alike, and school and district leaders are focused on how to take care of the emotional needs of students and staff so they can learn and teach effectively.

Here are the top five areas of concern for principals:
  1. Mental/emotional supports for students
  2. Closing achievement gaps
  3. Staff morale and motivation
  4. Student learning loss
  5. Mental/emotional supports for staff
And here are the five biggest concerns for superintendents and other district-level leaders:
  1. Student learning loss
  2. Staff morale and motivation
  3. Mental/emotional supports for students
  4. Effective use of technology
  5. Adequate funding (including how to sustain investments made with pandemic relief aid)

Although the effective use of technology has always been among district leaders’ top 10 areas of concern, “it has never been as high as No. 4,” Evans said.

Students’ emotional health is also the No. 1 concern for parents, which could have something to do with why it tops the list for principals. When asked “What concerns you today about your child’s future,” here were parents’ top responses:

  • Impact of COVID on my child’s social-emotional well being (67%)
  • Impact of COVID on my child’s academic achievement (61%)
  • My child’s lack of engagement in school (50%)
  • My child not learning the right skills to be successful in the future (43%)

These insights can help education marketers understand how to position their products and services in a way that appeals to K-12 buyers. “These challenges are opportunities for companies that want to partner with schools and districts,” Evans said. “We need to be cognizant of that.”

You can watch the full webinar with Dr. Julie Evans here. Learn how CB&A can help you achieve your education sales and marketing goals here.