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"The Cascade"


In an organization of 15,000 employees, getting the right information to the right people wasn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. From principals to teachers to administration to custodians and beyond, Denver Public Schools needed a way to effectively and intentionally share information among these many employee groups to move the organization forward as a whole. 


Enter the “Newsletter Cascade,” a trickle-down approach that shared information with leaders, teachers, managers and other employee groups throughout each week. Through a systematic submissions system -- which opened the opportunity to collect the right information from across the organization -- updates and messages were formalized, streamlined and polished before being sent to the appropriate audiences. The newsletter format also offered the opportunity for executive communications, call-outs, photos and more -- all packaged in a digestible, engaging and consistent layout. After launching the cascade, I led its process and refinement, and oversaw the daily production of five weekly newsletters and two monthly newsletters.


The cascade was the first of its kind for major urban public schools districts in the United States. Open rates grew from an average of 28% at launch to more than 43% on average, with the highest opens often exceeding 75%. To scope, we sent about 6.8 million emails each year, with an open rate about 14% higher than industry averages.


“The cascade” became common-speak through the district and was a valuable resources for employees:

“I thoroughly enjoy the newsletter. It is definitely nice to hear the stories and celebrations as well as the districtwide announcements.”


“I’m not sure who is responsible for writing the newsletter, but I have to say that I am always impressed with its quality. You consistently do a tremendous job of proactively communicating what could be hot-button issues and promptly responding to emergency/urgent situations. You plainly explaining the complex and share your accomplishments using tangible data. I appreciate the transparency in which you share forward-thinking plans with your audience.  And rounding it off, you’ve mastered the right balance of heart felt, personal accolades.”

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“I really enjoy Team DPS Weekly. It makes me feel more connected to the whole DPS community. There are also a lot of useful tips included in it.”


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