Office of the State Superintendent Issues Marketing & Media RFP

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Division of Student Transportation (OSSE-DOT) seeks a qualified contractor to develop, provide and implement a Brand Strategy Plan and Marketing Communications Program on behalf of OSSE-DOT.

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education – Division of Student Transportation (OSSE-DOT) is a regional transportation system within the State Education Agency that transports eligible students with disabilities who are residents of the District of Columbia who require transportation services to/from their educational programs. OSSE-DOT provides school bus transportation services to approximately 3200 special needs students annually. OSSE-DOT is required to provide “safe and appropriate round trip transportation (“special education transportation”) at no cost, for all eligible District of Columbia students receiving specialized education and/or related services, whose individual needs require transportation to and from education programs and/or related service sites by means of other than public transportation or on foot. These services must be provided, uninterrupted, throughout the school year and the extended school year, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 34 CFR.

OSSE-DOT requires branding consulting services to project a more positive and broader light on the transportation services that it provides to students and its activities within the stakeholder communities. The branding and public relations consultant will direct communications that advance the presence of OSSE-DOT and highlight positive activities that welcome and implement parent feedback along with improvements to its services and responsiveness to student riders and issues that may arise in the school year. In addition, the consultant will assist OSSE-DOT in directing its communications, outreach, and visibility to all of its stakeholders.

Scope of Work:

·         Oversee branding (or re-branding) strategy for OSSE DOT.

·         Oversee the development and implementation of a parent based portal to receive/submit information and related tools.

·         Communications messaging and placement strategy for earned media, including placement of essays and opinion pieces in local and government focused media. This would require initial sessions to get a clear understanding of the specific ideas for moving forward, followed by targeted research and a plan to reach our goals. This would include defined themes to exploit over a prescribed time period, so that each piece adds to a consistent theme, primarily in the areas of student transportation, special education, and improvements in the area of educational outcomes for students with disabilities in the District of Columbia.

·         Leverage relationships and media contacts to gain additional exposure for OSSE DOT in traditional and new media, including but not limited to securing relationships for the submission of regular content to targeted media partners like Radio One, WHUR, Washington Business Journal, the Washington Post, the Washington Informer, and other related educational media partners. The goal would be to establish a monthly presence in at least one strategic print publication and at least one regular broadcast partner that would agree to segments once every month to six weeks.

·         Develop a media outreach plan and proposed editorial calendar of targets for OSSE that align with important dates. This could include a stronger focus on recruitment efforts, school bus safety week, back-to-school campaign, safe passage campaign and Vision Zero.

·         Meet at least once weekly, or as needed, in person or via conference call with the agency to strategize about how to take advantage of news for quick hits and to develop a longer-term strategy to support ongoing efforts and deliverables.

·         Develop and execute, with the ordering agency, a media strategy that creates opportunities for earned media through press conferences, events and placement of essays and opinion pieces.

·         Write content for essays and opinion pieces as needed, at least one per quarter to respond news events and/or to advance established strategic communications goals.

·         Be on-call for crisis communications issues that threaten the overall health of the organization.

                Digital and Social Media/Creative Development

·         Assess current social media strategy, with a particular focus on creating opportunities to raise the social media profile. Deliver an assessment of what’s being done well and where improvements can be made.

·         Create consistent messaging plan and content strategy for each desired social channel based upon client guidance. Develop branded e-blasts, blogs as needed to execute agreed upon social media strategy.

·         Raise profile of OSSE DOT on social media channels by, for example, hosting regular Twitter chats or question and answer opportunities that allow followers to engage directly.

·         Create/modify a template for digital newsletter that will be used to deliver a regular newsletter (monthly, bi-monthly) that will consist of curated content from other OSSE DOT channels and newsletters. The goal is for the topics to be forward looking, with big themes, rather that exclusively discussing the nuts and bolts of governing.

·         Assess current social media strategy, with a particular focus on creating opportunities to raise the social media profile. Deliver an assessment of what’s being done well and where improvements can be made.

                Media Planning and Placement

·         Media planning and placement for broadcast and print especially cable television, radio, print, and digital media.

·         Negotiate best media rates for OSSE DOT.

·         Make recommendations to OSSE DOT on potential cost reduction ideas on media.

·         Verify all media was run in conformance with billing submitted.

                Community Outreach

·         Provide targeted outreach and recruitment to support event participation.

·         Verify all media was run in conformance with billing submitted.

                Event Management

·         Lead and direct on-site event management by creating event plan, management and execution for on-site event management.

·         Contractor and Subcontractor coordination.

·         Provide necessary equipment that is needed for event.

·         Provide and assist with photography and provide digital and still images.

·         Provide videography services for events and provide footage

Due Date:

February 27 


1050 First Street, NE, 

Washington, DC 20002

Agencies with relevant experience include MWW PR and Rubenstein Communications.

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