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Pawlas on PR for Principals...

Share the Pride:
Six Statements of Pride
Get Year Off
To a Great Start


The start of a new school year is a time of excitement, renewal, and hope for you, your faculty, and students. It provides opportunities to reconnect with parents, community members, and business leaders too. In addition, the start of a new school year can provide opportunities to reiterate some of last year's great successes and build upon them a plan for continued success.


As the lead communicator for your school, you strive to provide a clear and informative message to your school family, the school board, the media, and the general community. You aim to take advantage of every opportunity to share good news about public schools -- your school in particular. One way to do that is to organize your ideas, school data, and other information into six "pride statements" about your school.

Pride statements are clear, straightforward, and positive statements that share things you can say with pride about your school. Can you come up with six statements that highlight a mix of ideas? Maybe you are proudest of your school's test results, your athletic teams' prowess, your teachers' skills at involving parents in the classroom, your school's many cultures and how they blend into a true family, your service-learning program, your media center, your Your six pride statements should tell about the biggest successes, your proudest accomplishments, your most valued resources. For example, your pride statements might be similar to these six statements that I have gathered from principals I know.

  • "Partin Elementary has consistently held A-Plus and Five-Star School ratings."
  • "Edgewater High School has a wonderfully diverse, multicultural student body that represents the real world."
  • "We offer a Family Service Center, an on-campus school partnership that offers free community health and social services."
  • "We have Renaissance program -- a school-wide program promoting academics, social responsibility, and attendance."
  • "Our school has an anti-bullying program that includes ongoing teacher training."
  • "Our high school is the Engineering, Science, and Technology (EST) magnet school for the county."
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So what do you do with your six "pride statements" once you have them? I suggest you print them on a 3- x 5-inch card. Then put that card in your wallet or purse so you have it with you to refer to at all times. In addition, you might enlarge the statements on the card into posters and display them prominently throughout your school. Post them in the office area, classrooms, the cafeteria, each teacher's classroom, in car unloading and loading zones, and, don't miss the biggest opportunity of them all: share them in your newsletters that are distributed to parents and others in the community.

But your use of the six pride statements need not end there. You've got your school's back-to-school PTA/PTO meeting coming right up. What a perfect opportunity to share your pride with the entire school community! You always aim to make this "open house" a positive event, so what could be more positive than sharing your statements of pride? You have a ready-made "welcome back" speech!

But don't stop there either. When you're at the Chamber of Commerce meeting, board meetings, talking with the media, or simply going about the daily business of life, your six pride statements will be such a source of pride that you'll have them on the tip of your tongue to share with everyone you meet. You might even have pre-printed cards made up that have your pride statements on one side and your school's contact information on the other. Hand them out to interested parents, media, and other citizens.

And when the going gets tough -- when there's a controversy that means you must face the media or another stressful time -- you'll have your six pride statements on which to fall back. You can respond to the serious issue, but add, with pride, that that one issue is not what your school is all about. You can share how you have so much to be proud about when it comes to your school.

Another great thing about pride statements: they aren't stagnant. They will evolve from year to year. Why not involve your whole school family? Encourage staff and students to make suggestions about new statements of pride. Your school's statements should be updated on a yearly basis as new reasons to be proud identify themselves.

With a little reflection, and some serious thought, six pride statements can serve as one of the cores of a comprehensive and functional communications plan that will set as a priority sharing the good news about your school.

NEXT TIME: Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Article by George Pawlas
Copyright Education World 2005