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Communications FAQ


Communications FAQs

There's a lot happening at Garrison Forest School! The Communications Office strives to share the news of our campus and community in a variety of ways.

Search the Frequently Asked Questions about how to share news, etc. below or contact the Communications Office for more information. We look forward to sharing YOUR news.

Q: What constitutes news for the Garrison Forest website, magazine and/or social media?


A: Our goal is to post a variety of what happens at Garrison Forest. Together, every news item tells the full story of GFS’s mission and culture, be it:

  • A field trip and/or guest speaker
  • A class project, lesson, lab, etc., especially one that is cross-disciplinary, around a theme, inspired by a current event, etc.
  • A service project on or off campus
  • A video made by students or faculty
  • Student and faculty accolades (humility is a virtue, yes, but we want to be sure we share your accomplishments with the GFS community.)
  • A concert, play, and exhibit, both to promote and report on post-event.
  • A new sport or team accomplishment, be it a winning season or lessons learned.
  • A GFS event you have planned

Q: Where is news posted?

A: We post news stories in a variety of places on www.gfs.org. Every news item will be featured on your department or division news page. For example, news about a GFS team is on Athletic News.


News also is shared across the website as appropriate. The Communications Office decides what news items are on Homepage News, the GFS App, Facebook and Twitter in an effort to reflect the range of divisions and programs at GFS.

In addition to our website, we use a variety of social media sites to share the news about GFS (at right).


Q: But I put my news on Moodle? Can’t you get it from there?

A: We can’t! While we are delighted that so many are sharing their news on Moodle, remember that only the parents of your students can read about it on Moodle. By sending us your news, we can share it with alumnae, all parents, prospective students, etc.


Q: How do I get my news to the Communications Office?

A: Email or call us, preferably before it happens—at least a weeks’ notice, if possible, is great! Just write a quick email with the particulars: What did you/your classes do? When? Where? Why (the curricular/programmatic link to GFS)? Who? Bullets are fine; we DO NOT need full paragraphs! If you are more comfortable talking to us, call us with the details, and we’ll write a draft.


Q: I have news that I think would be great for local media. How do I inform reporters?

A: Your first call should be to the Communications Office. All media coverage about GFS or a GFS student or faculty member needs to be coordinated through our office. We have relationships with local and regional print and broadcast media and can draft and submit a press release. Please do not contact media yourself. If you are working with any GFS families on an event and they are interested in getting media coverage, please refer them to us. Also, in the event that a reporter contacts you directly for a story or shows up on campus with a camera, please refer him/her to us.


Q: What about taking photographs for my news item?

A: Photos are very important--a picture can speak a thousand words! We much prefer photos for a story. Take photos with your phone or check with your Divisional assistant or with your Division’s Technology Coordinator for a digital camera. Don’t worry about taking a ton of photos—a few are fine. With enough notice, we can arrange to take photos but we are unable to photograph every event or story on campus. Please contact us two weeks prior to your event, if possible.


Q: How do I get my photos to the Communications Office?

A: There are several options for copying photos:
  • PREFERRED: Copy all photos as jpegs to P:/Website Photos & Images. Look for the folder marked for the CURRENT academic year. Each academic year has subfolders by division and departments (Athletics, Alumnae, etc.). Preschool through Lower School classes have a sub-folder for each class. For Middle and Upper School, just make a new folder for the event, such as “Architectural Expo” or “Snoball.” Using shared drives and not email to share photos saves storage space on the GFS servers. IMPORTANT: Please let us know that you’ve placed photos on the P:/Drive.
  • Copy all photos to a disk or thumb drive and give it to us.
  • Bring your camera card or your phone with a USB cord to our office. We have card readers and can download them directly from the card.
  • You can also email photos to us, though this does take up valuable storage space on the GFS servers.
  • NOTE: We are unable to download photos from online galleries, such as Kodak, Picasa, Shutterfly, etc.
Q: What about video and other media? Can you use that?


A: We love video, voice threads, etc.! Copy all media using one of the options above. IMPORTANT: Any student in the video should be addressed by first name only; for Upper School students, use your discretion. Copy any video onto P:/Website Photos & Images/Video and let us know that it is there.

Q: I have a Twitter feed, blog, etc. for my class. Is that helpful to share with you?

A: Absolutely! We can share your class’ social media on our GFS accounts and broaden your audience. Showing parents, alumnae and prospective families what goes on in the classroom is the best “marketing” we can do.


Q: Do I need to clear any curricular social media use with Communications?

A: No. The Communications Department is not a clearinghouse or approval process for how best to use social media in the classroom. If you have questions about how best to use social media as a curricular tool, please contact your Department Chair or Division Head. Each Division’s Technology Coordinators and Renee Hawkins, Director of Libraries and Instructional Technology, can assist you with the particulars of setting up a Twitter feed, blog, etc.


Q: Do I need to brand my class’s blog, etc. as Garrison Forest School?

A: Any GFS web presence is a reflection of Garrison Forest School overall, and any outside viewer will assume that your blog, etc. is an official GFS website. Please keep this in mind when creating content and the look of your site. For example, any description on a post should refer to “Garrison Forest School” and not “GFS” for clarity to a viewer who may not be familiar with us. Though not required, the Communications Office is happy to work with you if you have questions. It is the Office’s responsibility to ensure that the Garrison Forest image across social media is consistent. Please contact us for the most up-to-date GFS, link to our website, etc.

Please refer to the Faculty Handbook for the Social Media and Web Use policy if you have further questions. Note that school policy is to use no name, first name or first name and last initial for students Preschool through Middle School. Upper School faculty should use their discretion when identifying Upper School students in social media.


Q: I stay connected to my former students. What if I hear news from them of an award they’ve received, etc.?

A: Please share that with us! Just shoot us an email with the details. We will determine the best way to share this news with a broader audience. We also collect such accolades for possible use in the annual Garrison Forest magazine (in Class News and/or in the “Newsmakers” section). If you hear of an alumna’s wedding, new degrees, etc., please share that with the Alumnae Office. Keeping track of everything our alumnae accomplish is a challenge, and we welcome your help

Employment Opportunities

Logos and Templates

Please follow the link below to access official GFS logos and the GFS Powerpoint template. Before using the GFS logo, please contact the Communications Office.

Sarah Achenbach
sarahachenbach@gfs.org
410-559-3179

Aja Jackson
ajajackson@gfs.org
410-559-3133

Find logos and the Powerpoint template here.

Style Guide

Please refer to the Style Guide for all written and digital communication. Questions? Contact the Communications Office.

A note about the GFS Style Guide: Guidelines were created to provide uniformity in school communications. They have evolved (and continue to evolve) as more and more communication goes online. For example, the Communications Office no longer uses the serial comma ("I ate apples, oranges, and bananas") in printed or electronic letters, the GFS magazine and online. The guidelines were modified in 2014-15. Any revisions will be posted online.

Letter and Mailing Standards for all Divisions

  • Letters should be produced on good-quality letterhead. Do not run the letter on one piece of letterhead and then run it through the copier on copy paper.
  • A one-page letter is best, whenever possible. If a two-page letter is necessary, use the other side and make the margin two includes from the top.
  • Each large mailing should contain a cover letter. The second sheet or the bottom of the letter should show a list of mailing contents and the dates when pieces are to be returned to the School. All other information sheets should be in bullet form.
  • Divisions should agree upon common mailing dates for large mailings and broadcast emails. This ensures that parents, especially those with children in multiple divisions, will receive all of their information at the same time.

Style for Letters

Please adhere to these standards for printed and electronic letters. Except where noted, standards are for both hard and digital formats.
  • The standard type face is Times New Roman, 12 point.
  • Please use block letter format with the date, salutation, body, closing and paragraphs all left justified.
  • The right margin is unjustified.
Margins
Printed letter: 2 inches from the top, beginning with the date. All other margins are 1 inch.
Electronic letter: begin the date at the top of the copy content block. The date should be as close to the top as possible. Put it above the content, followed by two hard returns.

Spacing
Printed letter: The inside address or salutation is four hard returns from the date; the body copy is two hard returns from the salutation; the closing is two hard returns from the last paragraph; and the signature block is four hard returns from the closing. If four hard returns between the closing and signature block causes the text move onto a second page, the number of hard returns can be decreased between those blocks, however there should be at least two hard returns between the closing and signature blocks.

Electronic letter: There is no inside address. Salutation is two hard returns from the date; the body copy is two spaces from the salutation; the closing is two spaces from the last paragraph; and the signature block is two spaces from the closing.

Punctuation


  • Punctuate the salutation with a comma, not a colon. Example: “Dear Parents,”
  • There should be ONE space between a period and new sentence. This is particularly important for letters that will be emailed to constituencies.
  • Automatic hyphenation should be turned off. Hyphenate as needed, but not from one line to the next.
IMPORTANT: It is recommended that letters be proof-read by at least two people with final approval by the person whose signature is on the letter or blast email.


Calendars and News Items

  • Use Title Case
  • Spell out names of divisions (Upper School not US, etc.)
  • Follow the same format for PDFs and titles
  • Use name of Division instead of building (Lower School, not Livingston; Preschool , not Moncrieffe)

Other Helpful AP Style Guidelines:

  • Numbers: Spell out one through nine. Ten and over, user the numeral. Numerals should not be used at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Decades: Do not use an apostrophe. Correct usage: The 90s. Incorrect usage: The 90’s.
  • Time: Use AM or PM, not a.m., p.m. or o’clock 7:00AM or 7:00 AM.
  • R.s.v.p. is spelled just this way, not RSVP in all caps.
  • In a series: Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series. Example: She can speak French, Spanish and German.
  • Put a comma before the concluding conjunction in a series, however, if an integral element of the series requires a conjunction: I had orange juice, toast, and ham and eggs for breakfast.

State names:
Spell out the name of the 50 states when they stand alone in the copy. State name may be condensed for space when necessary. Eight states are never abbreviated in text or datelines: Alaska (AK), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Iowa (IA), Maine (ME), Ohio (OH), Texas (TX) and Utah (UT). Also, District of Columbia (DC).

Use a state abbreviation with the name of a city, county, town, village or military base in text. Separate the town and state abbreviation with a comma after the state name. Large, well-known cities do not need a state reference. Only use zip code abbreviations in full addresses. Example: Baltimore, Md.


Usage for ages:
Always use figures. When the context does not require years or years old, the figure is presumed to be years. Use hyphens for ages that are adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun.

Examples:
  • A 5-year-old girl, but the girl is 5 years old.
  • The boy, 7, has a sister, 10.
  • The woman, 26, has a daughter 2 months old.
  • The woman is in her 30s (no apostrophe).
Composition Titles:
Apply these guidelines to book titles, computer game titles, move titles, opera titles, play titles, poem titles, radio and television program titles and the titles of lectures, speeches and works of art:
  • Capitalize the principal works, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters.
  • Capitalize an article — the, a, an — or words of fewer than four letters if it is the first or last word in a title.
  • Put quotation marks around the names of all such works except the Bible and books that are primarily catalogs of reference materials. Do not us quotation marks around software titles like WordPerfect or Windows. GFS uses italics for books in report cards, in the magazine, etc. It varies on the website because of web-program formatting limitations.
  • Translate a foreign title into English unless a work in generally known by its foreign name.
  • Names of most websites and apps are capitalized without quotes: Facebook
  • Capitalize “The” in a newspaper’s name if that is the way the publication prefers to be known. Do not place the name in quotes or in italics.

Official GFS PMS Colors & Fonts

Dark Blue: 287
Light Blue: 278

When stating "GFS" on a heading, etc., use Trajan font
When spelling out "Garrison Forest School" use Caslan 540 font

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