A community standing front and center.

Brooklyn Center Community Schools.

Brooklyn Center Community Schools (BCCS) has long been a leader in addressing issues of equity and opportunity, becoming the first in the state of Minnesota to adopt the forward-thinking Community Schools model. This model seeks to eliminate barriers to learning often found in economically challenged communities, such as access to medical and child-care, immigration and refugee transitioning, and language and cultural challenges. Since 2009, the district has become a robust hub for community and student development, creating programs and services that have bridged gaps for students and families in the community.

 

BCCS partnered with CESO  Communications to clarify their brand and communication strategies for an expanded, future-forward vision of their schools and community. The vision went beyond fundamental achievement of equity to tackle the systematic injustices that fueled inequity – racism and inclusivity.

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Tackling issues head on.

We ultimately wanted to develop a flexible brand platform that would inspire students, staff and the community to embrace a more transformative vision of their future, but to do so, we needed to unpack the underlying truths driving this initiative. What we discovered was that the district was perceived as a community on the “fringe.” The rich cultural diversity that they took pride in, was being used to marginalize them within the surrounding metro area. They were victims of misguided perceptions that affected their reputation and capability to achieve on the same level as adjacent school districts. Many had discounted them simply because of their diverse enrollment percentages, casting them off solely on racial biases.

The ugly truth was that the strengths and vibrancy of their schools would remain hidden as long as racism persisted. Equity would be an unattainable goal in the shadow of racial or cultural biases.

"We are going to lean in and create an institution that is grounded in anti-racist and inclusive practices."

-Dr. Carly Baker, Superintendent

Discovery Workshops & Student Focus Groups

Listening is at the heart of our strategic approach. Discovery workshops and student listening forums were important tools we used to develop a well-rounded view of challenges and successes. These sessions also became opportunities for staff and students to view their individual perspectives through a different lens, often providing valuable insights for problem- solving and pathways for collaboration.

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Finding inspiration

within the voice of the

"challenger."

Our strategic approach helped Brooklyn Center Community Schools find inspiration within a brand archetype that aligned with their unique values, personality and vision for the future. As fearless “challengers” of the status quo and champions of the marginalized, individuals like Bryan Stevenson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became examples of their bold brand voice.

Standing front &

center so our voices

are heard.

We helped BCCS develop a unifying idea that became the foundation for their new brand platform – we stand front & center. This brand idea does not shy away from the challenges, but instead leans into their position as a challenger to injustice and inequity. We wanted to help them debunk the perceptions of being a community on the fringe and show people that they’re a community centered around their convictions of equity and inclusivity. We also wanted to give voice to their achievement, asserting that they will not be disqualified because of past perceptions.

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Amplifying a bold rallying cry

The brand idea has become a rallying cry for BCCS and its students, filling the hallways and classrooms across its schools. Designed to be open-ended, the rallying cry gave students and staff an opportunity to take ownership, expanding its reach into multiple topics.

An identity designed

to challenge the status quo.

Bold strategy requires a bold delivery. We designed a gutsy identity that put their voice on center stage, giving students and staff a powerful toolkit for their transformative messages. No stone was left unturned as nearly every aspect of the identity was thoughtfully designed to concisely align with their values and mission. It’s an identity that serves a community and a cause, providing a framework for their enduring and fearless spirit.

Turning a mascot into a bold truth-teller

Readying its bow, the Centaur has a powerful message to deliver – the truth shall set you free. We reimagined the iconic mascot, giving it new meaning as a bold truth-teller capable of delivering a powerful jolt to the status quo.

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A design system created in

the image of the community

Bold and diverse, the new identity system reflects the contrasting make up of the community. It was designed to highlight the diversity of the community by mixing and matching font combinations, creating a blended appearance that distinctively sets them apart. With a seemingly endless number of combinations, the identity always remains fresh.

At the center of pride, purple reigns.

Every cause needs an identifiable color and at BCCS one color reigns supreme – purple. It’s not only the spirited color adorning the jerseys on game day, it’s a symbol for their campaign for justice. Purple is where pride and purpose intersect, giving a community a common flag to unite under.

"Communities can come join us because of what we stand for and against."

-Josh Fraser, Principal of Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM