Category: Community Engagement
Many things can facilitate a transition to a new school both at the beginning of the school year and throughout the year and it can be a stressful time for families and their students. Joel speaks in this episode with Barney Arnold, a kindergarten teacher for many years in Carlisle, Massachusetts, about the key steps to recognizing a successful school.
“We ask so much of our teachers, we ask so much of our administrators but because of technology, we do expect that there is going to be consistent communication.” — Joel Gagne
In this week’s episode, we’re talking to Ty Debevoise, about how he created a TEDx event in his district and how you can too. Ty is the director of communication and marketing at Whitehall City School District. Partnering with the Whitehall Community, they created TEDx Yearling Road.
“Want to do a giant project? Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who’ve done it before. Seek a mentor.” — Ty Debevoise
This week’s guest is Susan Mahler from Mahler Strategic Consulting. Her work with Ohio Schools to build effective grassroots campaigns to pass levy issues has earned her a winning reputation as a strategic authority in education and campaigns.
This week’s show deals with communicating during the summer and how to stay in touch with all the stakeholders in your community. Summer isn’t a sleepy time to cut off communication, but an opportunity to engage, inform and tell your story.
When to Communicate
Early July is a time when a lot of people are traveling or may be busy. It’s not the best time to communicate. Late July and Early August is a great time to get out a newsletter, or bulletin that starts to get people back in the school mindset. A couple of weeks before school starts bringing the community back into the narrative of summer work and what the next school year holds is crucial. Additionally, once the school year actually begins, it becomes too busy for schools to engage, produce and distribute a newsletter.
Summer is a great time to reframe the previous school year, the work of the summer and the plans for the upcoming school year. Additionally, while it is a cost issue, color is so important. Having pictures that encapsulate real life, and a newsletter that looks pleasing really does a lot to communicate to the community.
With summer communication, it is important to frame the upcoming school year not just for the community and students, but for the teachers. Planning and disseminating information to the teachers about convocation can be really helpful. A couple of videos over the summer that goes along with what will concern convocation of the new year can be a great tool to communicate easily to teachers, the community and even prospective families looking to move into the district. One venue where districts can slow down a bit, it social media. People don’t need tweets every day or constant facebook posts over the summer. Take a step back and share the big things.
Regardless of when your board elections are or will be, taking time in the summer to take stock and potentially tap someone can be really valuable. Summer can be a period to start to help a potential board member see the district and see what that type of involvement would be like. You need to tell your school’s story. If you don’t then any other narrative, told by anyone will be what people know. Use summer to tell your story and engage your community.
This week’s show concerns creating opportunity for every student and finding ways to engage communities that may not necessarily be directly engaged with our schools. Our guest is Dr. Jeffrey Butts, superintendent of the Wayne Township School in Indiana. He has been a teacher, an athletic director, a principal, and assistant superintendent.