Does Your School Have Good PR?

Davis_alinaDo you have a public relations team at your school? If you have teachers, staff, students, and parents, then you do. In the Sunday Annual Conference session, “Marketing Your School: Strategies That Promote Communication, Collaboration, and Consistency,” Russ Claus and Liz Dunham, of the Department of Defense Education Activity Schools, shared the importance of using this public relations team.

Claus talked about how first impressions are everything. When someone walks into the main office what do they see, hear, and feel? The tone should be inviting. The presenters gave the following suggestions:

  • Living room lighting
  • Plasma screen TV to display kids’ work
  • Seating area with comfy chairs and books to read
  • Teachers and staff who are trained to be welcoming

Dunham also said that PR moves out into the hallways and around the school. Having children’s work on display, visible and approachable administrators, positive gossip, and regular team-building activities were a few suggestions.

Taking the time to build connections outside school is another way to sell your school. Make phone calls home that are optimistic and encouraging. Share exciting events and learning experiences when you have conversations with people in the community. When someone asks you about your school, share its awesomeness instead of its challenges. Make a lasting impression.

I think every school strives to emulate a positive aura. In my school, the children’s artwork is hanging in the office, and there are murals in the hallway. The principal is visible, cheerfully interacting with the students and other guests. The PTA parents involve the community in our events and advertise on Facebook. While there is room for improvement, I think our school is a welcoming place.

How are you marketing your school?

Post submitted by Alina Davis, an ESOL K–8 resource teacher in Orlando, Fla., and a 2010 ASCD Emerging Leader.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It really is the responsibility of the stakeholders to establish good public relations. For the most part, the community only knows what it hears. If teachers and staff are only sharing the positive things that happen in their school, it will go a long way towards establishing a positive image.
    According to your description, my school sounds like it is doing everything right, with the exception of the living room lighting in the office. Thank you for prompting the consideration of a topic we all have some control over, public relations.

  2. Our school (a residential school) uses art/education students from the nearby college to do special displays in our hallways where parents and visitors can see them. We have very strong PR in some areas of the school, we have a very welcoming waiting room. The classrooms themselves on the other hand is another story. Our cleaning staff leaves a lot to be desired (not that they do not work very hard, they are understaffed). So I take it upon myself to do some cleaning (wiping off the desks each day, sweeping, cleaning computer key boards and even mopping sometimes). It’s important for teachers to do their part to keep their room neat and clean but is anyone else required to clean to this extent?

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