BOTH/AND: How the Emergency Services Team of the California Department of Education Can Build a Reputation for both Agility and Legitimacy

Research output: Working paperPreprint


A mass evacuation below the compromised Oroville Dam in 2017 threatened local schools and spurred the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to reach out to the California Department of Education (CDE) to coordinate a response. Subsequent wildfires brought the urgent need for emergency management leadership within the CDE itself into high relief. The CDE launched a new Emergency Services Team (EST) in October 2020, and its School Emergency Reporting System (SERS) in August 2021. The goal of the EST is to provide reliable, timely information and resources to schools before, during, and after emergencies. By partnering directly with other government agencies and emergency funding sources, the EST is working both within and against the reputation of government bureaucracy, and faces the time-critical challenge of engaging the participation of school districts before a disaster strikes. How can the EST use communication to shift K-12 preconceptions about the CDE, increase engagement, and create a distinct reputation that is both agile and legitimate?
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Dec 6 2021


  • K-12 education
  • disaster management
  • California wildfires
  • COVID school closures


  • Education
  • Organizational Communication
  • Education Policy
  • Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Public Administration

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