In this episode, Carole Dorn-Bell and Joel Gagne talk about how to use the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year.

The bottom line: It’s not wise to just turn off the lights or go on cruise control.

The less chaotic summertime can be a great chance to learn new forms of social media, prepare newsletters, conduct polling or manage outreach for an upcoming fall ballot.

“Summer goes away quickly, and so before you know it you are right on top of some of those publications and the need to get those out,” Dorn-Bell says. “So take advantage of the bit of luxury of time that you have with those and get those done.”

Just because kids are not in school doesn’t mean parents and the community won’t think about policy issues.

Prepare for the topics that are sure to come up throughout the school year.

“For example, what comes up in every school system is the idea, real or not, that maybe administrators are paid too much, or we pay more in taxes than anybody else,” Dorn-Bell says.

Use the summer for some fact-finding to be armed with the correct information.

“So you might as well do the legwork in advance,” she says. “People do know what’s going on, and what they think they know may not be factual. Once people get an opinion, it’s usually hard to undo that opinion.”

Summer is even a good time to meet with local media, to foster a relationship or discuss priorities for the coming school year.

With all those items on the to-do list, Gagne does offer words of encouragement: “Of course, take a vacation.”