Using Technology to Tell Your Story

By Nora Carr

Stories matter. We tell stories about what we value and to illustrate our point of view. We tell stories to inspire others to action; we tell stories to stop action. Our stories underscore why we do what we do and help to explain complex concepts.

Telling stories well is at the heart of effective communications. Each district and school should strive to tell stories at multiple levels. The goal is to create a cohesive, overarching narrative that is bolstered by a steady stream of stories, facts, illustrations, experiences, and examples.

Public schools always have done a pretty good job of communicating with most parents, teachers, support staff, and others deemed part of the family. Unless there’s a gap between messaging and experience, those closest to our schools tend to rate them more highly than those who lack firsthand knowledge.

The presence or lack of relevant experience is why parents typically give higher ratings to their children’s schools than to their school districts, and why they rate their school districts higher than public education generally.

The same holds true for senior citizens, business leaders, and the general public. The greater the distance, the wider the gap in perspective and the more individual opinion is shaped by forces outside of public education. Those forces include media coverage and political rhetoric.

This is also why school board members, superintendents, and other public education leaders need to engage more actively in ongoing state and federal conversations about public education and public schools. The current national narrative defining public education in America is based on a limited and distorted view of public schools. To change this view, we need to ramp up our communications and share our success stories more proactively.

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