Chat with us, powered by LiveChat What tool do you feel is the most effective means of reaching the widest audience?? Provide a rationale for your answer. If you do not feel you would lean toward one single most of c - Writeedu

What tool do you feel is the most effective means of reaching the widest audience?? Provide a rationale for your answer. If you do not feel you would lean toward one single most of c

  • What tool do you feel is the most effective means of reaching the widest audience?  Provide a rationale for your answer.
    • If you do not feel you would lean toward one single most of communication, tell us why.
  • In your opinion, has technology improved the way that we communicate with stakeholders?  Why or why not?
  • "Although it is widely recognized that technology expands communication opportunities, how might technology negatively affect relationships"? (Kowalski, 2011, p. 24)

In your required readings, you have been provided with information on the pros and cons of

various communication tools. No tool should be viewed as universally effective. As a school

leader, you will have to make a specific determination of which communication tools best serve

your school, your stakeholders, your intended message and your leadership style.


1. Based on the readings, write 2-4 well-developed paragraphs, addressing the points

below. Cite evidence from the reading or other scholarly sources.

○ What tool do you feel is the most effective means of reaching the widest

audience? Provide a rationale for your answer.

■ If you do not feel you would lean toward one single most of

communication, tell us why.

○ In your opinion, has technology improved the way that we communicate

with stakeholders? Why or why not?

○ "Although it is widely recognized that technology expands communication

opportunities, how might technology negatively affect relationships"?

(Kowalski, 2011, p. 24)


Required Reading Material

Kowalski, Theodore (2011). Public Relations for Schools (5th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Chapter 2: Social and Political Contexts

Chapter 8: Using Technology to Exchange and Manage Information

Warner, Carolyn (2009). Promoting Your School: Going Beyond PR. (3rd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Chapter 1: The Foundation of Success

Chapter 4: Publications/ Electronic Communications

Chapter 13: Communicating with Technology: Going Beyond Web Sites

Recommended (Optional) Reading and Supplemental Materials

Optional Reading/ Resources

DeLoatch, P. (2015). The 25 Best School Websites. Retrieved from oatch

Links to an external site.

Principals Share Tips for Newsletters That Work. Retrieved from

Links to an external site.

Atlanta Public Schools Student Handbook

Atlanta Public Schools 2018-2018 School Year Handbook.pdf


Optional Video (3 minutes)

Silver Spur Elementary School Principal, Marta Jevenois, presents on the implementation of the Harper for Kids Youth Character Development Program at her school.

Harper for Kids with Principal Marta Jevenois (Pyramid of Success)

Links to an external site.

Harper for Kids. (2015). Retrieved from


Warner, C. (2009). Promoting Your School (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc. (US).

Chapter 1: The Foundation of Success

“If you’re the only one who knows something, it’s a secret.”

In days past, schools did not always need solid communication and public relations programs. The school was there, the teachers were there, parents sent their children, the law said so—and that was it!

Half a century ago, more than three-quarters of the families in both rural and urban communities across the United States had children in public schools. Today, fewer than one-quarter of families have children in public schools, leaving many community members with no direct line of communication with their local schools.

Thus, the traditional modes of communication from the school to the public—report cards, parent-teacher conferences, calls home when a child misbehaved, open house, flyers announcing special events, a newsletter, sporadic media coverage of special activities—were deemed adequate for keeping the community informed. But today, these methods, although still important pieces of a comprehensive communication plan, are simply not sufficient to build the broad-based support schools need to be successful.

The rightness of your “cause” (your position, your district’s mission) aside, people just aren’t going to take your word for it anymore. They want to see results, accountability, proof. Can you blame them for being skeptical in the face of the current, widespread public furor over the crisis in American education? However, it has been demonstrated that, over the long haul, communities will support a school system that exhibits a solid, measurable commitment to quality.

As a professional educator or public education supporter, you know that in most schools throughout the country, most educators are doing a good job with most students. Yet the public’s knowledge of and confidence in public education does not always reflect these achievements. It is up to you to be the principal communicator, to make sure your community has the best possible image of your school, because it is their school, too. You must strive for constituency “buy-in.”

Public schools are sizable financial enterprises. Many school districts, especially in rural areas, are their community’s largest employers. School board members and administrators are responsible for managing large amounts of tax dollars. With that fiscal accountability comes the responsibility of informing federal, state, and local taxpayers (the stockholders in the enterprise of public education) in honest terms about how their money is spent, how their investment is managed, and what return they are getting from their dollars.

The siren song of “No new taxes!” is strong in this economic and political climate of deficit reduction and fiscal restraint. After all, it is easier to rationalize withholding financial, political, and even moral support from an institution than from the individual taxpayer who is struggling to pay the mortgage or to obtain affordable health care.

The school that takes its communication role seriously is the school that will receive the greatest public support when a program need arises or a crisis occurs. Public confidence cannot be bought. It must be earned through the daily actions of the entire school family and through a planned communication effort involving all education supporters, from the local school principal and PTA president to the district superintendent and the governing board.

THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS What is communication? It is an exchange of information between people. Conveying information alone does not involve an exchange; it is simply the act of providing someone with data, a one-way flow. When we communicate with someone, what are we really attempting to do? Most of the time, we are trying to change or mold that person’s attitude about something so that it becomes congruent with our own. Information is disposable; it can be presented, reviewed, or discarded—and with no attempt at changing attitudes, it may be simply a one-shot process. But you must make communication and attitude formation a continuous process.

Everyone involved in education is a communicator—a good one or a not-so-good one. As a principal or other educational leader, one of your major challenges is to build a schoolwide team of people who can effectively carry a positive message into the community about your school or district.

The communication process begins with determining what is currently being communicated about your school and deciding whether or not this is really what you wish to communicate. It then requires developing a strategy with an action plan that targets the opinion leaders within your community. These people will add their own perceptions to what is communicated and share their versions of the information with their constituencies. Local media will either reinforce the communication or add its own interpretation. Parents with students in your school will have their own assessments, as will your faculty and staff. This leads you back to Step 1, and the process begins over again. Once you understand the process of communication, you can begin to build understanding and support for your school.

DEALING WITH PERCEPTIONS Educators tend to communicate with the public on the basis of facts, but the public does not always care about facts. Most people tend to function on the basis of individual perceptions. Each involved group operates according to a general consensus of what its members perceive. With the media adding its own spin, the public becomes confused and confidence levels toward schools drop.

As an example of perception, suppose two people witness a hit-and-run accident. When the police ask what color the car was, one witness says “gray” and the other says “green.” Who is correct? The fact that the car was actually blue loses out to the perceptions of the witnesses.

Recognizing that perception is often more powerful than reality, how do you address this incongruity, a matter over which you may feel you have no control? First, you try to look at your school from the points of view of your varied constituencies. When you realize what their perceptions are and understand why, then you are ready to plan and work to bring perception and reality closer together.

As in any other major enterprise, good public relations and positive public perception are important keys to a successful school operation. These keys are almost as important to schools as what goes on in the classroom—because they greatly enable schools to be more effective in providing quality education.


There are diverse groups of people involved with the schools. As an educational leader, you at various times deal with the following people: Governing board members

● The superintendent’s public information officer ● Central office staff ● Principals ● Teachers ● Support staff ● Students ● Parents ● Social service providers ● Community members ● Business leaders ● Legislators ● The media

Within most of these groups are individuals who function as opinion leaders. They are the people to whom others in the group turn for information and advice. How do you identify these citizens who have a following, who have credibility within the group, be it for their trustworthiness or for their expertise?

These opinion makers can be any number of informal leaders: the school secretary, the 25-year teacher, the president of the PTA, the local grocer or dry cleaner, the bank vice president. Always be aware that, in one way or another, these opinion leaders have an interest in the schools of their community.

One of the interesting characteristics of opinion leaders is that they are seldom the loudmouths in their group. The person who complains at every PTA meeting is not an opinion leader. An opinion leader, generally, is the one who stands to speak when it is important and has a valid statement to make. These citizens are usually activists and positivists, and it is vital that you cultivate their support.

GETTING THE WORD OUT In spite of our best efforts to be effective communicators, we aren’t always successful in reaching our desired goals. This is true for many professionals, but especially true for educators because they tend to be so focused and dedicated to simply getting the job done that it seems almost unprofessional to be seen and heard tooting their own horn. This terminal modesty is a dangerous by-product of dedication to the task at hand.

Former high school teacher, coach, and principal (and Governing Board President as of spring, 2008), Orin K. Fulton of Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona, doesn’t mince words: “Publicize throughout the community your student successes in everything—athletics, academics, performance groups, success rates. Don’t hide your good qualities—flaunt them!” Here’s a challenge for you:

● Inform the public about your school’s programs and activities. ● Build confidence in what you, your faculty, and staff are doing for students.

● Restore the partnership between parents, teachers, and community in meeting students’ needs.

● Rally support for the total educational program. ● Enrich the home, school, and community by improving educational opportunities for all.

Now, that’s a tall order. How can you possibly accomplish all of those tasks? Chapter 2 will explain how to

● identify the image your school presents and identify the community’s perception of your school.

● develop a strategic plan. ● develop an action plan to implement your strategic plan. ● become an educator who communicates and put your plans to work.

If community members are made aware of the quality work your school is doing in educating their children, they will support your efforts wholeheartedly. You, as well as the students and their parents, faculty, and staff—in fact, the entire community—will reap the benefits of such a partnership. Confidence in American education will be renewed—step by step, student by student, family by family, school by school, and community by community. Let the communicating begin.

Commandments for Communicators

Thou shalt accept that it is difficult to communicate clearly. Thou shalt know what thy message is. Thou shalt define what thine objective is. Thou shalt remember who thine audience is. Thou shalt simplify. Thou shalt repeat. Thou shalt repeat. Thou shalt respect the power of the parable. Thou shalt weave humor into the fabric of thine message. Thou shalt analyze how thy message has been received. Thou shalt stop when thou hast no more to say.

Source: John Jay Daly, Daly Communications, Chevy Chase, MD.

Chapter 4: Publications/Electronic Communication

“If you want it to be remembered, put it in writing.”

One of the most important charges given to public schools is to teach children to communicate through the proper use of language. Throughout the elementary grades, the primary focus is on teaching and reinforcing the skills of reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and pronunciation. In high school, more advanced uses of language are emphasized through creative writing, journalism, speech, and drama.

As an educational institution, how much effort and emphasis does your school place on utilizing these same communication skills to educate, inform, and enlist the support of your principal constituencies? Because it is a given that your school should be doing this, this chapter focuses on the hows and not the whys of written communication from you and your school.

First and foremost, every written communication from your school must be well-written, grammatically correct, and free of errors. You can never allow these seemingly small details to slide because you are pressed for time or are dealing with other issues. Once a publication reaches the hands of the intended readership, an image of your school and your leadership is created that may be difficult to undo without a great deal of time and effort. Therefore, it makes sense to ensure the quality of any publication up front.

If a publication from your school contains typos or spelling and grammatical errors; if it has inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading information; if it is visually hard to read because the type is too small or too faint or the layout is cluttered; if it is written above or below the average reading level of your targeted audience, readers may well draw comparisons between the quality of the publication and the quality of education you provide. Such publications send this hidden message: “You, the reader, aren’t very important to me, the writer.” That is a message no school leader can afford to send—to anyone!

School publications are an important, and somewhat unappreciated, form of communication. Although traditionally they have been used as vehicles for providing information to parents, with the advent of site-based management and similar decentralization concepts, publications should be adapted by educators to provide information to other community groups as well.

There are a variety of publications that schools can use effectively. You may need a brochure for one project, a flyer for another, or an announcement on your Web site for a third. These days, everyone is inundated with incredible amounts of information on an enormous number of topics. Because people cannot possibly read everything available to them, most have become much more selective about what they do choose to read. Some simply do not read much of anything; others, especially older and retired people, avidly read everything that comes their way. As a result, school publications must be adapted to these varied and changing information needs. You want your patrons to choose to read what you send them, so you must make it easy and appealing for them to do so.

To create or improve your school’s communications/publications plan, ask yourself four questions:

1. Who? Determine the publication’s audience. Who do you want to read it? Is it for staff, parents, students, the community at large, or a special interest group such as parents of a particular student population? The targeted audience will determine how the publication is written and designed, as well as how it is distributed.

2. What? Determine the purpose of the publication. What do you want it to do? Is it meant to provide basic information about your school programs and activities; to report on local, state, or national educational issues; to enhance your school’s image with the community; to ask for help; or to recognize achievement? Does the overall design reflect the purpose?

3. When? You will need to determine not only the audience and the purpose of the publication, but also the frequency. Is it a one-shot item or an ongoing effort?

4. Whether you send it out weekly, bimonthly, monthly, or twice a year, if you are consistent, many in your targeted audience will begin to look for it. If the design is always the same in size and color, your intended readership will recognize it whether it is mixed in with their other mail, folded inside their child’s backpack, or lying on the floor. Design the publication with those thoughts in mind.

5. How? Decide how best to communicate the information the publication is intended to disseminate; then determine a writing style to match. Is it appropriate for the audience and subject? Is it clear, focused, accurate, and interesting? Is the type size and style appropriate and easy to read? For example, publications for young children and seniors should use a large, clear typeface. Children like lots of graphics and illustrations. Is the reading level appropriate for the audience? (Use the Fog Index check discussed near the end of this chapter.)

NEWSLETTERS Perhaps the most common type of published school communication is a newsletter. Desktop publishing by personal computer has greatly simplified the process of creating an attractive newsletter. There are several different commercially produced software packages on the market that are specifically designed for creating newsletters and similar publications. You can also buy graphics software that eliminates the need for pasting in “clip art” or having someone illustrate the page.

Sample school newsletters are included at the end of this chapter, from Fall Mountain Regional High School in Charlestown, New Hampshire, and Washington Jr. High in Toledo, Ohio.

The following guidelines consist of 10 commandments for a good newsletter. ● Make it interesting. If no one wants to read your school’s newsletter, you have wasted

significant time and resources. Review your concept with others, including intended members of the target audience. Get, and use, constructive advice. Remember, a newsletter is intended to accomplish something for a specific set of readers; it isn’t a diary.

● Follow the 30–3–30 principle. That means your newsletter is written to provide pertinent information whether the reader has 30 seconds, 3 minutes, or 30 minutes to spend. This is why it is important to use headlines with action verbs, subheads within blocks of copy, strong lead sentences, and first paragraphs that address the content of the story. For an

outstanding example of the application of this principle, study the presentation of the news in USA Today.

● Have an easily identifiable masthead that is used consistently. The masthead should incorporate the following:

○ The name of the publication ○ The school name ○ An identifying logo (This could be the school mascot or a distinctive use of type.) ○ Publication date ○ Statement of purpose (Examples are “A Newsletter for Parents and Patrons” or

“A Publication for Staff Members.”) ○ The school address, phone number, and e-mail address (This can alternatively

be placed at the bottom of the page.) ● Leave lots of white space. You don’t have to fill every inch of space available. If you try

to do so, the pages will look cluttered and will be unappealing to the eye. Short paragraphs and a column format with plenty of space increase readability.

● Use color for emphasis. In the interest of cost, most school newsletters use only one color of ink. However, you can “punch up” your newsletter by preprinting quantities of your masthead using two or more colors. These can then be run through the copy machine and printed on an as-needed basis. You can also stretch the use of color by using “spot color” or “screens” (shades of color or black/gray) to create varied shades or by overlapping two colors of ink to create a third.

One caution on using screens created with desktop publishing and laser printers: The quality and appearance diminish with each generation run on a copy machine and quickly begin to look muddy or smudged. Run a proof copy first and evaluate the effect. You may be better off eliminating screens and using borders to highlight copy instead.

If you opt for using colored paper for your newsletter, use soft neutral colors such as ivory, beige, or pastels. Brighter colors may attract attention, but they make the newsletter difficult to read. Save the neon colors for flyers.

● Avoid endless columns of text. Use subheads, bullet copy, borders, graphs, and graphic art to add interest to the page and break up blocks of “gray” copy. Warning: Use art only if it relates to the story so it will be complementary rather than distracting. When using art, be sure that it is in the public domain or that you have purchased the right to use it, for instance, in a software package of clip art. Using comic strips from the local newspaper or other published art is in violation of copyright laws. No one is likely to go to the trouble to sue you, but it is unprofessional and could damage your credibility with key members of the constituencies you want to build a relationship with—especially the media!

● Use consistent type elements. One of the pitfalls of computerized newsletters is the temptation to use every typeface available. Stick to one style of type for the body copy (text) and another for headlines. Body copy should generally be a serif type (letters with tails or flourishes that lead the eye to the next word) and headlines in sans serif (plain type without tails and flourishes) in a larger size than the body copy. Use bold or italic type for emphasis within a sentence. Never type body copy in all capital letters—it is the written equivalent of shouting at the reader. Most copy, including headlines, should be

printed in standard upper- and lowercase for readability. By the same token, do not print entire paragraphs in bold or italic.

● Use photos judiciously. Before you use photos in your newsletter, be sure that you can ensure good reproductive quality. You may be able to use a computer scanner to place the photograph in your publication. However, if the copy machine you are using is not capable of reproducing clear and identifiable copies, you are better off leaving photos out. If your newsletter is printed on a press, you can have the photos stripped in by the printer and you won’t have a problem. Like art, photos are effective only if they add to the story. Caution: Photos taken by students or teachers are great to use in district or school publications as long as they do not require copyright permission—most do not if taken and used for school publications on school property, but be careful that all FERPA (Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act) laws are followed and that each student pictured has parental permission. All other copyright laws prevail. (Most school districts use an opt-out clause in the Student Handbook that parents will sign. Use good judgment and follow district policy with regard to photos posted on Web sites, especially those created by students.)

● Use the best printer you can find. A laser printer is excellent, but if you don’t have easy access to one, you might consider taking your newsletter to a local quick-print shop to have an original copy printed. For a minimal charge, they will print your newsletter on a high-quality laser printer or imagesetter. All you have to do is provide the computer disk with your newsletter copied on it exactly as you want it printed. You will then have a quality original from which to run your copies.

● Make sure copies are clean and neat. Before you waste 800 sheets of paper running newsletters that turn out to be unreadable or crooked, take the time to run several proof copies and check them carefully for problems. While the copies are running, periodically pull one to make sure it still looks good. You are better off catching a problem halfway through and correcting it, rather than catching it after the fact. Paper is expensive—and so is your time!

Parent and Community Newsletters Publishing a regular newsletter gives you a chance to inform patrons about the positive education stories that apply to their school and stories that the local media don’t know about, don’t have room for, or don’t choose to cover. It can be a monthly, biweekly, or weekly publication, depending on available time, energy, and resources. As was mentioned earlier, the front pages of several sample newsletters are included at the end of this chapter.

Traditionally, school newsletters have been distributed to parents only. But as more schools move toward building-level decision making and a greater level of community involvement, educational leaders need to create a news link to people and organizations and businesses that do not have child

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