During Thursday’s meeting of the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) Board of Education, Chief Communications Officer Krista Davis provided an update on where the district stands in its efforts to rebrand every school in the district.
In April 2019, OLSD launched the district-level brand identity, which served as “phase one” of the district’s entire rebranding effort. The second phase began last August with the brand identity projects for the district’s elementary schools being developed. Davis said each individual school at every level in the district is being looked at.
“Throughout this school year, we have been working mainly on our elementary school branding identity projects, and just this August, we were able to launch all of our elementary and preschool brand identities,” Davis told the board.
The goal of the elementary branding development process was to create an identity specific to each elementary school so students would build school pride. “What we found across time in our district was that a lot of our elementary schools without a brand identity or mascot would relate to a given high school that they maybe thought they were going to attend…,” Davis said.
Each school has its own brand project team, which consists of administrators, teachers and parents. David said they are able to represent the students’ voices by having the students weigh in with their thoughts in small groups. Three mascot ideas were submitted by each brand project team, which were then reviewed by the Olentangy district leadership team before making a final decision and sending that decision to Cult Marketing for sketches of the mascots and logos.
Parameters for the elementary brands included an animal or insect serving as the mascot, alliteration with nicknames if possible, and a secondary color that would compliment the Olentangy blue found throughout the district.
The nicknames for the elementary schools were announced as follows: the Alum Creek Cardinals, Arrowhead Hawks, Cheshire Cubs, Freedom Trail Falcons, Glen Oak Goats, Heritage Huskies, Indian Springs Squirrels, Johnnycake Corners Jackets, Liberty Tree Larks, Oak Creek Owls, Olentangy Meadows Mustangs, Olentangy Preschool Penguins, Scioto Ridge Rams, Tyler Run Tigers, Walnut Creek Bees, and the Wyandot Run Wildcats.
Middle school projects began in April, and are being “wrapped up this fall,” Davis said, later adding the middle schools are currently reviewing the first drafts of their sketches.
Projects at the middle and high school levels will solicit student input on what the nicknames of their schools mean to them. Davis said of that input, “Soliciting students’ voices has meant asking students to draw what ‘Hyatt Eagles’ means to them, what ‘Liberty Middle School Warriors’ means to them. So, that’s been really amazing to see how they pull together some of the cultural pieces that they have heard within their buildings…”
In June, Davis told The Gazette that reimaging schools to address the Native American imagery used at some schools was one of the top goals of the rebranding effort. She said that while the imagery used in logos may change, the nicknames of the schools would remain. Color schemes will also remain the same, Davis said during Thursday’s meeting.
Once the middle school projects are completed, work will then begin on the rebranding efforts of the district’s four high schools. Targeted completion for the high school projects is next spring. Davis said the timeline for the projects being completed has been longer than they would have liked, but the district’s focus on the ballot measure last fall, as well as the pandemic, have prolonged the process.
As the new branding is rolled out across district buildings, the importance of licensing that imagery will also be important. Davis said the district is working with K12 Licensing, a company that specializes in K-12 school licensing, to finalize a licensing program. Davis highlighted in June the need for the district to distance itself from several trademark infringements that exist throughout the district, which also prevents the district from being able to license logos and sell merchandise.
“For me, personally, I’m not comfortable using trademarked imagery and logos knowing that they belong to someone else,” Davis said in June. “So, that’s really my motivation. I just don’t feel like that’s very ethical.”
Davis said she is hopeful the licensing program will launch within the next two to three weeks.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.