New branding of Harrison School District discussed at latest BOE meeting

The district recognized the work of the District Branding Committee, who made changes to the schools' mascots and website.

During the latest Harrison Township Board of Education meeting, the district recognized the work of the District Branding Committee.

The BOE had been speaking about rebranding the district as far back as last year. Branding is a process that colleges and private institutions have been doing for years to attract potential students to their schools. Over the last few years, New Jersey has taken the success of higher education and has begun to apply it to its public k-12 districts.

The goal of the process is similar, according to Superintendent Margaret Peretti, although the district doesn’t need to solicit students to come to its school because of the way public schools work in the country and the state. Instead, the branding will act as a process to follow to ensure the district is presented to the community in a consistent and positive way, according to Peretti. 

“In a time where there are so many options that families have for educating their children on a pre-kindergarten through the college level, whether it be private schools or homeschooling or virtual schools, we as a public school really want to make sure we’re setting ourselves apart from and branding ourselves so that people understand what our goals are,” said Peretti.

The committee was spearheaded by Supervisor of Instruction Chad Flexon. 

The first thing the district did in the process was completely redo its website. It felt that it needed to communicate better with parents and students. When the committee first began at the start of last school year, it didn’t want to change anything. It wanted to focus on “who are we” and “where are we going.” 

“What we found was that there was a little bit of disconnect between the Hawks and the Panthers. There wasn’t necessarily a message behind that or a message that went with that,” said Flexon. 

From there, the committee did a lot of communicating as to whether the two schools should have one cohesive mascot. 

After reaching out to the community for input, students decided to name both of its schools the Explorers. 

“We felt it was a great tie-in to Clearview as the Pioneers,” said Flexon. 

As of now, there have been a few visual changes made to the schools. The wooden signs outside of each school have been redone with the new logo. More changes regarding rebadging are expected to occur in the near future, according to Flexon. 

The next BOE meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Pleasant Valley School music room.