Independent School Web-Based or Electronic HTML External Audience Periodicals: Upper Canada College - Bronze Award

2008 Circle of Excellence Awards Program
Category 19c. Independent School Web-Based or Electronic HTML External Audience Periodicals
Upper Canada College
Bronze Award

John Carson
Acting Communications Manager
200 Lonsdale Road
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M4V 1W6
(416) 488-1125 ext. 3355


Julia Drake Communications Director
Andrea Aster Communications Manager
John Carson Acting Communications Manager


Connection, the Upper Canada College e-newsletter

General Information:

Upper Canada College (UCC) is an established day and boarding school for boys from Senior Kindergarten to Grade 12. Situated in Toronto, Canada, UCC is the oldest independent school in the province of Ontario; it celebrates its 180th anniversary in 2009. About 1,100 boys attend UCC; most are day students, with approximately 100 boarders from all regions of Canada and 18 countries. UCC is a member of the International Baccalaureate Organization, and inspires students to strive for one of the world's premier diplomas, the International Baccalaureate.


The communications team produces a monthly e-newsletter, Connection, which reports on the activities that happen at the Upper School and Preparatory School. It highlights upcoming and past events, student achievements, guest speakers to the College, fundraising initiatives, contests and other general news associated with UCC.


Working on multiple communications projects are two staff: one full-time communications director, Julia Drake, and one full-time communications manager, currently John Carson, replacing Andrea Aster who is on maternity leave from June 2007 until July 2008.

Target Audience:

Ten issues of Connection were sent last year. The key target audience is parents, but senior students, and faculty and staff of UCC also receive the e-newsletter. The UCC stakeholder audience is primarily English-speaking and is located worldwide. Some of these individuals have been identified as key donors, supporters and/or active participants in College programs who can help shape the future of UCC.

Market Information in Decision-Making:

Connection met its key objectives in 2006-07: to communicate timely news and information to the target audience; and to encourage parents to get more involved with activities at the College. The e-newsletter was designed for ease of navigation, and to give readers the choice of whether to read the whole story or not. We also included a downloads option for larger files and PDFs, and sometimes also a poll to gauge instant feedback.

The e-newsletter effectively communicated the activities of a dedicated UCC community (current students, parents, faculty and staff). Connection highlighted:

The core values of the College community as well some of the progressive "priority projects" that were either planned or under way (e.g., a new double-pad hockey arena, Green School initiatives, events at the Upper School and Prep);

News items that were well researched, timely and provided value to the readers (not "puff pieces");

Effective recognition of students, faculty and staff throughout the College community.

Budget and Allocation of Resources:

Juggling multiple other communications projects, the team of two is led by Communications Director Julia Drake who manages the definition of communications objectives and timelines for internal production of data and information. WhippleHill Communications provided the content management system that is used for sending the e-newsletter. There is no cost for most issues, but an occasional average fee of $50 for photo use.

The e-newsletter is sent to around 3,000 parents, students and employees, and each issues has between 16-20 news items.


Connection met its objectives in 2006-07. The e-newsletter was well received as being a timely and informative source of College news, activities and events. A recent parent survey indicated a satisfaction rating of 3.8/5 for Connection.

Example issues:

October 2007:

November 2007: