as old public administration (OPA), new public management (NPM) and The key relationships in the ways school leaders strengthen teacher .. personnel matters including hiring and firing, staff appraisals, and union negotiations .”. School Public Relations: Personnel Roles and Responsibilities. Norton, M. Scott. Journal of School Public Relations, v29 n3 p Sum This article. Before you hire a consultant or a public relations staff person or recruit a parent volunteer, begin improving public relations in your school district by evaluating.
Most important, is time allowed for audience discussion? Is the community notified of school events? Are parents given enough notice so they may re-arrange their schedules to attend?
School public relations done right is effective school marketing
How well do teachers and administrators communicate with parents? Parents Want to Know Communication with parents and the public is essential—and the communication must be meaningful, clear, and engaging.
The tricky part is knowing what parents really want to hear and what will be perceived as propaganda. Parents are astute at knowing the difference," Harms said. For communicating with parents, Harms sees newsletters as primary communication tools. It's not design that people are concerned with, but content," he said. Whether it's a simple, black and white one-page newsletter printed on paper or a colorful electronic message on the school's website, be sure the information is relevant and timely.
Harms related that he once received a beautifully-designed newsletter with irrelevant content—all the events listed had already passed.
As the editor of a newsletter for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Harms said he strives to view the product from a parent's perspective. We know that parents want to know about their children's accomplishments.
And they want to know what's going on with the curriculum but in a way that it relates to their interests.
Tips for School Administrators (and Other School Professionals)
It's always great to share news about a project that students are excited about, for example. Such communication is vital because you can't rely on students to accurately relay what's happening at school—if they tell their parents anything about school at all. Anything you can do to explain to parents what children are learning will be appreciated," Harms said.
When good news happens, don't wait to showcase it. As time goes by, the news becomes old news and, therefore, less relevant. You'll get the most impact from parents and others if you publicize your good news early. Don't forget to find out who on staff likes to take photos—they are great additions to social media sites and if a newspaper editor declines to print a story, she might turn around and print a photo with a descriptive caption you provide.
Make sure to get photo release permission from parents. A way around dealing with permissions is to take photos from far away or showing students' backs. You can also show the set up for your events and can include both staged shots and candid shots of teachers in action.
Both parents and news editors love pictures of students engaged in a learning activity, so it is worth the extra effort to get these visuals. Public schools must be aware that their communication obligations extend to the community.
It would be fun to think that teachers have time to do this, that principals have time to do this, but the reality is they don't.
- Public Relations for Schools
But whether a school hires someone to manage public relations or decides staff members can handle it on their own, it's important to give public relations the attention your parents, your community—and your school—deserves. If your district has hired a pr executive to represent the district, it's still up to the school teachers and administrators to inform him or her about the positive news and accomplishments happening with your staff and students.
Fostering Media Relations Why does one school get more media coverage than another? The answer may be as simple as their administrators pick up the phone more often. Schools often overlook the fact that getting coverage of events and accomplishments can be as easy as letting local newspapers, radio stations, and cable TV channels know what's going on. Reporters and editors aren't mind readers; they're also very busy, and the squeaky school If you want media coverage, know thy media.
Read all the newspapers that cover your area, listen to local radio stations or tap into a parent who does and keep current on your local cable channel. Consider videotaping your school board meetings for local access cable television.
Get to know people in the media—stop in and say hi. Take an editor to lunch. Learn what makes interesting photos and news stories. Create a list with the names and numbers of key media contacts in your community.
Remember to include "behind the scenes" people such as assignment editors TV and radioproducers TV and radiopeople at the city desk newspapersas well as reporters. Get to know the people on this list and become familiar with their specific duties and what information would be useful to them. Keep their phone numbers, fax numbers, mail and e-mail addresses. Also get your name and information in their address books.
When you hear a national news story, contact the people on your press list and let them know how it is affecting your school. Reporters are always looking for ways to put a local twist on a national story. News people love numbers. Use them to illustrate your point.
When you learn of surveys concerning areas relevant to your school, forward them including who conducted the survey to reporters on your press list and include a quote or two on how these compare to life in your school. You receive more phone calls directly to your office because your audience can get the answers faster by calling rather than checking unreliable sources.
The message you're sending: That is key in school public relations. There are students, parents, teachers, and staff to name a few. Each public has different nuances to their communication, involvement, and needs with regards to their relationship with your educational institution. Understanding your audience and actively working on building positive relationships is the foundation of good school public relations. Have you ever had one of those friends who just talks on and on and never takes a break to listen to what you have to say?
Good school PR relies on listening as well as communicating; this is called two-way communication. Or when you listen to and fulfill the needs and concerns of your customers, you could just call that good customer service. Consumers today have options for every service imaginable, education included.
So how do they make decisions like where to send their kids to school? They talk to their friends and family. They turn to their social media platforms and ask for recommendations and referrals. They look at your website. They look for reviews of your schools on places like GreatSchools.
Because public relations is intentional, consistent communication and active listening to your audiences that establishes and nurtures positive, mutually beneficial relationships.
Holding teacher development training or dedicating an entire week to drug-free education may seem mundane to you; however, those little things you do on a daily basis are going unnoticed by your audiences, unless someone takes the time to point them out. A common misconception of school PR is that you only need it if you have a crisis. Public relations for schools is just as important, if not more important, when there is good news to share.
Good Public Relations Can: Branding is the overall look and feel of your organization. It includes your mascot, the colors and typeface you choose for your materials, the tone of your school communication, etc.