Search form


Principal Ideas: Fundraiser, Community Connections, and More

Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today! See the sidebar to learn how to be part of Principal Ideas.

From Ed World's

Crisis communications aren't always for bad news -- good news can prompt a flood of media attention as well. In either case, instruct those answering the phones to collect complete information -- name of person, name of news organization, phone number, and the reporter's deadline -- and prioritize phone calls to be returned based on that information. A few things to keep in mind when talking to the media during a crisis:
  • Never tell a reporter anything you are unwilling to see in print. "Off the record" is sometimes misunderstood and misused, so don't rely on it to protect you.
  • Listen to yourself speak. This helps you to speak slowly and it helps you monitor your statements for accuracy and clarity.
  • If you are asked a question that is off the point, confused, or inappropriate, answer the question you wish you had been asked. "What's important here is that . . ." Reporters are often satisfied to receive a clear, quotable statement, even if it is not perfectly responsive.
  • Stop talking when you are finished -- even if a reporter waits in silence for more. Don't feel compelled to fill the silence, or you may say more than you intended.
  • If you are angry or upset about an issue, try to postpone the interview until you regain a normal, calm demeanor.
    Source: Public Relations 101: How-To Tips for School Administrators

No More Door-to-Door

Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Virginia, held a no-fuss fund-raiser. School officials simply asked parents for cash. Last year, they raised more than $10,000 that way. With more traditional fund-raisers, when a product is sold, only 30 to 50 percent of the product's retail price aids the school, and the rest is the business's profit. With this cash-only fundraiser, parents seemed relieved that all -- not part -- of what they contributed went to help the school. And they didn't have any kids knocking on their doors!

Source: "Fund-Raising Ideas: Raise Money Without Selling Door-to-Door" (, 1999)

Making Community Connections

I consider myself fortunate that the local Kiwanis Club has taken a leadership role in hooking up the school with a few dozen businesses. Many local business leaders are Kiwanis members who have taken an active role in sponsoring and advising the school's community-service club. Many businesses open their doors to our school's classes and to students who participate in the school's job shadow program. In addition, the local WalMart store sponsors teacher projects and gives a special annual donation to a teacher or classroom. Fred Meyer, another local store, supports a mini-grant program for teachers. Both stores are always receptive to requests for classroom supplies, lesson materials, and mentors. Other partnerships involve a local bank, a landscaping company, and the state's ecology management division. Teachers in our school have received special training in how to reach out to businesses. Some businesses approach us, but most become willing partners when we approach them with a reasonable request to become involved. We make certain that all of our business partners and other businesses throughout our community regularly receive information about our school.
Source: Patricia Green, "School-Business Partnerships That Work: Success Stories from Schools of All Sizes" ( -- September 16, 2003)

Train Parents to Be Teachers

Our school counselor had persuaded the community to provide the McGruff anti-drug and anti-crime materials and puppets for each classroom. As the year went on, though, we realized that for the teachers this was one more thing to do. Many were not planning to use the curriculum as it was meant to be used simply because they didn't have the time. So our counselor asked for parent volunteers. Those volunteers were trained by her and given suggestions on what and how to teach curriculum objectives. Now, each year we ask for and train new volunteers, and each week a team of mothers -- and a few dads -- arrives at school, activities and lessons prepared. It has been wonderful for our school, our students, and it brings a group of very positive supporters into the building on a regular basis. Several other schools in our district have adopted the idea.
Source: Barbara Wood, "Principals Share Parent Involvement ideas " ( -- February 28, 2000)

Graduation Day Letter Exchange

In the days leading up to graduation, have the soon-to-be graduates write a letter to their parents and ask that the parents write a letter to their child. Exchange the letters at the ceremony.
Source: "Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades" ( -- May 13, 2003)


Join the Fun -- Share an Idea!

The ideas presented in this article come from the Education World archive and from principals just like you. Since these principals have been kind enough to "show and tell" an idea, now it's your turn! Share an idea you've used to

- Celebrate Students
- Welcome Students Back to School
- Motivate Teachers
- Involve Parents
- Raise Money
- Plan a Special Event
- Make Graduation Day Special
- Liven Up Your A.M. Announcements
- Plan an Effective Staff Meeting
- Get Some Good PR for Your School

or any other topic of interest to principals.

Send your idea today to [email protected].

Be sure to include your name, your school name, and your school address because if we post your idea in Principal Ideas, we'll send you an Education World mug!

Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2006 Education World