Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
There are many reasons boards should pay attention to and formalize their efforts to communicate. The Washington State School Directors Association offers the following tips for formalizing the board's communication efforts.
Planning Your Communication Plan
Elements of a board's communication plan include:
How good is your district's communication plan?
Is there a policy in place that defines the communication process the district will use to ensure two-way communication between the school system and the public?
Is your public relations program evaluated regularly?
Does your public relations program involve as many people as possible?
Do all school board members, top-level administrators, department heads, faculty and on-academic staff contribute to your public relations program?
Do the board and superintendent provide leadership and gear district or school policies and actions toward good public relations?
Do the board and superintendent provide clear lines of authority and responsibility for public relations procedures?
Are the duties related to public relations delegated in terms of district priorities, objectives, functions and jobs to be done?
Do the board and superintendent understand clearly the purpose and organization of public relations program activities for the district?
Is a written statement of public relations policies given to each staff member?
Does the staff promote good public relations?
Are all available media used?
Are the publics served by the district identified?
Are surveys conducted regularly?
Are topics of human interest used for news releases?
Does the superintendent make full use of the district's annual report as a public relations instrument?
Using the Communicator System
A useful tool for improving communication with the community is the key communicator system. Using this system, education leaders target opinion leaders who:
|The five major steps to
develop a key communicator system are:
Identify eight to ten people whom you believe are will known and respected in the community using what you know about opinion leaders. Coordinate with other members of your board to be sure you aren't all converging on the same people.
Call the identified leaders on the phone personally. Tell them you are trying to improve two-way communication about the schools and want to identify key opinion leaders who can help you. Ask them to identify 10 such leaders and invite them to include themselves, as well. Try to get both names and phone numbers.
Compare the lists from these calls. Several names should pop up on more than one list. These are your potential Key Communicators.
Call each of these people. You don't have to know them. Tell them you want to improve two-way communication between the community and yourself as a school board member. Ask them if they would be interested in being part of a cadre of community leaders who will:
Schedule time to call each one. Spend more time listening than telling. Take notes on the questions they ask and issues they raise. Look for trends.
In this Module:
In the Toolkit:
|Toolkit Home Page||Why Change?||Why Technology?|
|Planning||Policy||Curriculum and Assessment|
|Community Involvement||Facility Planning||Funding|
|Prof'l and Ldrship Development|