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George Pawlas's
PR for PRincipals...

Communicating Is a
'Family Affair'


The greatest resource any school has for building support in the community is its staff or, as I like to call them, its "family."

The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) concurs; it reports that the general public gets its information about its schools from these people, and in this order: secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.

The message is clear: be sure the support staff members of your school family are fully informed about all important school decisions, even those dealing with curriculum.

For instance, if you adopt a new reading program that requires students to be more active, and possibly make more noise in the classroom, the support personnel, if uninformed of the program, might report that students are out of control and money has been wasted on a new idea.

While it might seem that the best way to communicate about such changes would be through staff bulletins, I found that I had better luck when I took time to meet with my school's support staff in small groups. For instance, I might meet with four different groups: the classroom teachers' aides, the custodial staff, the office personnel and school nurse, and the cafeteria workers. These smaller groups knew each other well and felt comfortable asking questions or making comments within their groups.

Keeping your school's support team fully informed can go a long way toward making sure your school's goals are met and communicated with the wider school family.

Read more practical tips from George Pawlas

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Explore this series of nine articles by George Pawlas:
  • Share the Pride: Six "Pride Statements" Get Year Off to a Great Start
  • Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Newsletters: An Essential Tool for Every Principal
  • Building Positive Relationships With the Media
  • The Benefits of Being an MBWA Principal
  • More Tips for Great Newsletters
  • 50 Million Students Can't Be Wrong: Improving Perceptions of Your School
  • Support Personnel Are P.R. People Too
  • Create a School Profile Brochure
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