Communicating What You Teach
As curriculum debates continue to be waged across the U.S., schools can learn from the mistakes of others.
Winning School Finance Elections
The old tried-and-true strategies aren't working like they once did, but you can sway skittish voters with sound strategy and creative engagement
The Customer Service Approach
How a parent, volunteer, or business partner is treated can have a larger impact than you think, no matter how well your students perform.
Research & P.R.
Knowing what works and what doesn't in communications is just as important for board members as other key areas of the district's operations.
A Foundation of Funding
From mini-grants to multi-million-dollar gifts, private investment in public schools is increasing. Public school foundations are leading the charge, earning anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $15 million or more each year. These foundations are also getting more strategic. More are targeting individual donors, and getting better results.
Setting the Community Agenda
The well-documented perception gap between school leaders and public school reform advocates is getting bigger, not smaller. Pulling together today’s fractured communities in support of a shared agenda for public education is no easy task. Everyone, it seems, has a different opinion as to whether public schools are succeeding or failing—and what to do about it. If public education is going to thrive, school officials need to reclaim their agenda-setting role. Setting the record straight on what’s working—and what’s not—in public schools has to come first, however.
The Benefits of Going Direct
When it comes to shaping public opinion, whoever frames the issue first has the upper hand. That’s why getting there first with the news—good or bad—is a basic tenet of any sound issues management strategy. Plus, it beats the naysayers at their own game.
New media communications like blogs, podcasts, e-mail, and websites are making it easier for educators to connect with one another and with students and their parents. Used wisely, these tools can build relationships in new and more powerful ways. Used inappropriately—or even criminally—the new media can mean new headaches for school officials. Digital mishaps are particularly potent because the viral nature of the Internet means that one errant key stroke can result in global embarrassment.
The Art of Spokesmanship
In today’s media-saturated world, school districts need to speak in one clear voice, and the person doing the speaking could be you. If school leaders want to reclaim their rightful roles as the face and voice of public education, they have to spend more time honing their ability to communicate wisely and well.
The Value of Data-Driven PR
Good communicators want to know—with statistical validity—how the district is perceived, where people get their information, and what sources are most credible. To turn around public opinion, investing in communications research and public opinion polls are wise moves for school districts.