Schools Rebuilding Public Trust
By Nora Carr
Few would argue that turning around struggling schools is not difficult work. District leaders covet principals who specialize in transforming failing schools in the same way that CEOs prize managers who can right failing divisions, product lines, and brands.
When an entire district’s reputation is in the tank, it can take years to undo the damage. Parents, employees, and community members tend to have long memories. Not surprisingly, it often takes longer to repair an organization’s reputation and restore public trust than to fix the problems that created the issues in the first place.
Restoring tarnished reputations and regaining public support require more than simply trotting out a shiny new logo or marketing campaign. In fact, rushing out new marketing materials too quickly is likely to make matters worse.
Mass communication efforts tend to work best when the goal is to inform the public or to make them aware of challenges or issues the school or district is facing. When trust is eroding, school officials need to rebuild tattered relationships and increase transparency first.
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