Standing Tall for Public Education

Posted 11/04/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: school communication, school PR

cheerleaderIn the past year, I noticed a few instances of people making a difference by standing up for public education.

No, I’m not talking about the campaigns to rally support because we need to wake up legislators at all levels so that they seriously look at how some of their initiatives harm our school children in local communities. The farther decisionmakers are away from everyday school life, the closer they are to making bad decisions.

We applaud statewide and local rallies, social media campaigns, and concentrated efforts to make positive changes for all children wherever we can. Many NSPRA members are leaders in these support-building efforts.

Creating a Culture of Support for Local Educators

I am talking about a powerful face-to-face local strategic tactic based on local leaders’ standing with and beside our education community. For example, this year alone I have learned about:

  • Business, government, and faith leaders of a local community who enthusiastically hailed high school teachers back to their school by forming a two-sided welcoming gateway. The video showed these respected leaders clapping and cheering the staff on to say that they are so important to their community. The video was then distributed for the community and school district employees to witness the stamp of approval given by these community leaders. Media coverage extended the impact of this seemingly simple tactic to help teachers feel good about what they do and to see how appreciated they are by these leaders.
  • This same approach was also implemented at middle and elementary schools, but this time parent group members recruited other parents to help with this welcome back and appreciation approach to instill support for educators in their schools.
  • At the student level, we have seen, via video streaming, high school seniors returning to their neighborhood elementary and middle schools and parading through the hallways garbed in their graduation outfits so that elementary students can see the older kids from their neighborhood who are happy and successful about graduating and proving that the youngsters, too, will be doing the same thing 4 to 10 years from now. Again, videos captured the excitement and smiles on the faces of the kids and are shared with parents in their communities. This tool motivates students to stick with their public schools as they can see first-hand just what lies ahead for them.
  • Younger students seeing themselves in their older peers can boost their self-worth and also helps keep your students in your schools. Often we lose students when they make the transition from elementary to middle or from middle to high school. So we have seen older students returning to their feeder schools to talk about what lies ahead for them. Often the older students wear athletic jerseys, cheerleading and band apparel as well as sharing other school club activity materials. It all helps to build excitement for the students’ next step in their systems.

 

Low-Cost Approach to Build Support

Creating a culture of support does not have to cost a great deal of money. It takes time to organize activities and the effort needs the cooperation of principals and other staff members to make events happen. For those educators who fret about students’ leaving our schools for other opportunities, giving back some time to build continued support should certainly be worth the investment.

 

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Rich Bagin, APR

NSPRA Executive Director

 

Photo by Jim Cummings, APR, Glendale Elementary School District

Uncommon Accomplishments by No Ordinary Joe

Posted 10/06/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: tribute

joe-3-jpgBlogs give us permission to be more personal and opinionated. And this one is just that.

Last week we learned of the sudden death of a long-term NSPRA member, leader, and friend, Joe Krumm, APR. I am still a bit numb from this harsh reality, but I would like those of you who never had the opportunity to work with Joe, to have some insight to learn from this role model for our profession. Joe was a special human being who epitomized the soul of what a top pro can do for your entire school community.

Joe worked in the North Clackamas School District (Milwaukie, Oregon) since 1990. He started out as a one-person shop and grew it into a comprehensive program focused on all levels of engagement and social justice in his greater Milwaukie community. In August, my wife Carolyn and I hosted Joe and his wife Colleen for two nights during his east coast major league baseball park tour. They both appreciated MLB and their beloved San Francisco Giants.

We are so glad for that visit because we had the leisure time to engage in wonderful discussions about national politics, School PR, and future endeavors. We laughed over those two days as Joe and I realized that we both had led our first NSPRA sessions on the “one-person shop” early in our careers.

Joe Served on NSPRA’s Board Twice

Fortunately for us, Joe served two tenures on the NSPRA Board: First, as a  Northwest Regional VP (2000-2003), and then as NSPRA President in 2012-2013. We worked closely together during his presidency and that’s when I learned first-hand about his love for his family and his parental priorities and his deep feeling of the need to do more for all Clackamas children.

Joe was a force who never stopped thinking and working on behalf of his family and community.

Comments and testimonials continue to flow into NSPRA on Joe’s passing. Here are just a few examples:

  • Joe’s reach was far and wide locally, regionally, and nationally. You didn’t need to be with Joe for more than a minute to know his deep love for his family, his music and his community. Joe was the foundation for building strong collaborative relationships between the District and students, their families and the community. His leadership for social justice and equity for all students was always as the heart of his work — to help each student succeed. Matt Utterback, North Clackamas Superintendent
  • Joe was one of the best PR pros I have ever had the opportunity to sit with and discuss our profession and its impact on children. Joe’s musical talent for performing helped him to not take himself so seriously — it is what preserves sanity for those of us who have done this for a few years. Joe also understood his role in impacting the future for children and he played that gig to the fullest as well! Tim Hensley, APR, Past NSPRA President
  • Joe was always so gracious, kind, unassuming as a leader and friend. What a tremendous loss to the NSPRA family, his own family and his school district. Susan Hardy Brooks, APR, NSPRA Past President
  • He was no common Joe, but a tremendous man of uncommon accomplishment and capacity. Rich Bagin, APR, NSPRA Executive Director
  • He was determined to make public relations a valid, no-spin approach to getting information to people who were interested in the schools. He really held the community together in ways that are going to be difficult to replicate. I can’t believe that he’s not going to be around to joke with and hear play his drums. Lew Frederick, Oregon State Representative
  • He was an amazing person, and when you met him, you knew you had just met one of the kindest and most generous men you will ever know. Laura Edmonds, President North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce
  • Shoes and a little boy ball cap; contemplative, kind, enigmatic, dedicated — deeply dedicated; played drums like he was pounding our troubles into dust. Jim Dunn, APR, Past NSPRA President

 

Red Shoes, Good Music, and Accountability Connections

During his first tenure on the NSPRA Board, Joe used to bring his computer and portable speakers to play music. I remember more Board members looking forward more to the musical break than to covering the items on our agenda.

Joe loved his family so much in so many ways. But I especially remember his glee when he was telling us about the stand-up comic jokes of his son, Martin. And they were really funny jokes!

Joe was known for his penchant for red sneakers and music. He actually gave elementary instruments to the NSPRA Board members as his thank-you gift when his term had ended. In recognition, discussions are already underway about how NSPRA members may have a red-shoe tribute throughout our San Antonio Seminar next July.

Some say there is little connection between student achievement and a comprehensive communication program. Joe tirelessly demonstrated tangible connections and helped NSPRA with its benchmarking project to prove that theory wrong. During that project, we both collaborated about the accountability issue and reminded anyone who would listen that our raison d’être was the improvement of teaching and learning in our schools.

My personal last memory of Joe was during our August visit to attend a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and his beloved SF Giants in D.C. Before the game,  we had a chance to stop off at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial; the photo above shows Joe walking into the memorial with his Willie McCovey shirt and red shoes. If you look a bit ahead, you can see Colleen in her scooter beginning to scan the wonderful social justice quotes depicted throughout the memorial. It was a meaningful morning, but the only thing missing was Joe’s drum set. You can bet he’s now playing his social justice “set”  for us in the next steps we all take in our profession. Joe taught us well and now it is up to us to continue the beat of this one highly respected and admired man.

Joe’s wife of 32 years, Colleen Murray, has said, “I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection for how they saw Joe and I appreciate it very much, because that’s exactly how I saw Joe.”

Colleen, that’s how we all saw and knew Joe as well.

 

A memorial service for Joe Krumm is scheduled for Sunday, October 23, at 2 p.m.:

Rex Putnam High School, 4950 SE Roethe Road, Milwaukie, OR 97267

Donations in Joe’s memory can be made to North Clackamas Education Foundation:

6031 SE King Road, Milwaukie, OR 97222 or online at North Clackamas Education Foundation.

In addition, NSPRA members may also want to honor Joe with a donation to NSPRA’s foundation. Just go to www.nspra.org and follow directions to contribute to the Foundation for the Advancement of Education in Joe’s name. The funds are used for member scholarships to the NSPRA Seminar.

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Rich Bagin, APR

Executive Director NSPRA

Pat Jackson’s Place on PR’s Mount Rushmore

Posted 09/12/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: Uncategorized

pat-jackson-1-full-crop-shortened If there were a PR Mount Rushmore, Pat Jackson, APR, would be there along with Edward Bernays and two others. From my experiences, both people have had a lasting impact on our public relations and communication profession. (During my career, I was fortunate to have worked with both of these luminaries.)

And if there were a Museum of Public Relations, Pat Jackson would certainly deserve to have his own exhibit.

But wait, there is such a museum, thanks to the folks at Baruch College in New York City. And now a month-long exhibit about Pat is on display until September 30th.

On September 8th, I was honored to be a panelist for the launch of the exhibit and NSPRA was one of the sponsors for the special evening. NSPRA Board members Vicki Presser and Evelyn McCormack also attended. It was great to have a chance to give back to Pat because he gave so much to NSPRA for nearly 20 years in many ways unknown to our members.

NSPRA Connection Through Anne Barkelew

In case you are unaware, Pat was a major force in our profession. In 1956, he founded his own firm Jackson, Jackson & Wagner (JJ&W). His firm started out as a public interest firm and then expanded its scope to providing service to major corporations, nonprofits, and government organizations. His real connection with NSPRA came in the early 1980’s when he was president of PRSA and Anne Barkelew, APR, was NSPRA President. These two leaders collaborated with other PR organizations to form a council to tackle major issues in our collective fields.

A Credible Advocate for the School PR Professional

Pat was one of the first major PR gurus to fully understand how truly substantive, talented, and experienced NSPRA professionals are. As an example, in our own archives, we have audio files of Pat speaking about many new communication pros who start at corporations like Motorola and who may become pigeon-holed into working only on internal newsletters for 10 years, while NSPRA’s school PR pros may write and edit both internal and external newsletters, deal with teacher strikes, face a major life-threatening crisis, and also help pass a bond referendum after just being on the job for 18 months.

Pat Jackson “got us” and promoted our work wherever he could. And during his monumental career, he gave more than 4,000 speeches over 26 years alone.

Pat Was Always the Go-To Session at the NSPRA Seminar

Throughout the years, Pat’s Seminar sessions were always jam-packed with people sitting on the floor and others standing near the doorway just to catch a few of his teachings. He is known for his behavioral process of making public relations a vital and necessary function for any organization.

He also firmly believed in doing low-cost, “dip stick,” actionable research to shape your PR activities. Pat translated the statistics of public opinion research into messages that stuck with our members. We all found that we could actually use his translation to sell new programs to our bosses.

He believed in going around the gatekeepers and building relationships with the public opinion leaders in the school community. During his career, Pat work with schools in 41 states and 4 Canadian Provinces. He taught us so much about behavioral research and the practice of PR. Plus, Pat gave back to NSPRA by never charging us for his presentations as we only picked up his expenses for these annual events.

Best of All, His Advice Still Works Today  

As I reflected on Pat’s work in preparing for this recent panel, I focused on some take-aways from Pat’s teachings that demonstrate his relevance to us today:

  • Go directly to the stakeholders that are important. Cut out the gatekeepers.
  • When recommending a new PR tactic, always ask, “Why are we doing this? To what end?”
  • Risk analysis has to be part of what we do. Assess the risk potential of misunderstanding the problem or the risk of bad messaging or no messaging at all. (Use this strategy to sell new strategies or tactic to your decision-makers.)
  • People want to be served, not sold. They want to be involved, not told.
  • People who attack us often take charge of the issue. No, we need to take charge of the issue. (Think Common Core.)
  • Preach to the choir and call choir practice.

I Saved the Best for Lastsponsorpage

Each year Pat produced with his team 50 issues of pr reporter for 26 years. As a young professional, I found it to be the one newsletter that quickly became a “must-read” in my life.

And now you too can learn from that very publication because Stacey Smith, APR, of Jackson, Jackson & Wagner announced at the exhibit launch that all back issues of pr reporter as well as other items like Pat’s papers and presentations are continually being updated on a new website at www.PatrickJacksonpr.com.

NSPRA still sells an audio collection of Pat’s presentations at the NSPRA Seminar and the proceeds go to the Pat Jackson Scholarship Fund which enables a member to attend our National Seminar. Just go here at nspra.org.

I thank Stacey Smith and all the folks at JJ&W for completing this project so that we can share more of Pat’s career and counsel with our members.

Rich Bagin, APR

Rich Signature-bold cropped

NSPRA Executive Director

Will ESSA Follow the Bumpy Road of Common Core? Or Will It Blaze a New Path?

Posted 08/08/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: Communication, ESSA, school communication, testing

Tags:

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State assessments and testing are often catalysts for discussions that can lead to bashing public education. In addition to privacy issues in some states and the regionalized opt-out movement in others, state testing will once again become an issue as states are now wrestling with their new approaches to their assessment program mandated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Our prediction is that the new assessments will either sink or swim in the court of parent and public opinion depending on whether authentic communication and collaboration are effectively completed with staff, parents, and students.

If we want to see how implementing ESSA can fail, just take a whiff of the Common Core implementation where little attention and spotty consideration were paid to early communication and engagement with these same key audiences.

Today, graduate-level prep courses for aspiring superintendents should dissect the entire Common Core movement from inception to today’s testing and tomorrow’s reporting of those results. In those courses, what will surface are the glaring gaps in communication, collaboration, and engagement with educators at all levels, parents, students, and political leaders from all state and local government bodies.

Many years ago we sounded an alarm that Common Core will falter unless we commit to communication and engagement throughout the process. Most of the literature on organizational change clearly indicates that without two-way communication, effective change normally fails In the communication business, we can now add another example of Common Core to the PR maxim, Create a communication void, and your critics will be more than happy to fill it.

And Fill It They Did

The critics’ proactive approaches led to all kinds of dysfunction at state and local levels. Often the critics approach to defining Common Core had little to do with the original intent of the Common Core movement. By creating the communication void, critics had ample opportunities to drive their own brand of Common Core messages that resulted in making Common Core a toxic phrase that by political candidates at all levels echoed. Those critics may or may not have known what the Common Core movement was all about, but they knew it was not a phrase that will help them get elected, so naturally they trashed the initiative — seemingly the only position they ever offered on education.

Will Lessons Learned from Common Core Teach Us About Our Next Steps for ESSA?

Let’s hope so.

Unfortunately, early indications are not promising.

In  early May, a new Gallup report (Make Assessment Work for All Students— published in partnership with the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) — revealed  that educators, parents, and students want a balanced approach to K-12 testing, using a variety of academic assessments with a strong preference for those that improve teaching and learning.

In that report, parents and students noted that “the assessments don’t have anything to do with us.” They said it was just used by their state to measure the schools and did not focus on student learning.

Additional communication key findings from Make Assessment Work for All Students include:

  • More than 6 in 10 parents, or 61%, say they rarely or never have conversations with their child’s teacher about assessment results.
  • Parents need more information about assessments.
  • Gaps in understanding of the purpose of assessments remain.

The report makes a number of recommendations and also touches on the opt-out movement and the need for more time to communicate, collaborate, and train staff at all levels.

Making the commitment up front to engage, collaborate with, and train all the relevant players will be key to making the new ESSA roll out successful. Otherwise we are headed for a Common Core Redux and another documented failure for public education.

We know that the fiscally strained state departments of education do not now have the capacity to commit to the communication, collaboration, and training needed to fully implement ESSA to make it a helpful force in their states.

By collaborating with local leaders and their selected staff members, much great work can be accomplished to pave the way for effectively implementing ESSA. In addition to staff, engaging parents also must be a priority early in the process so they are not left to fill in the blanks themselves when it comes to their state’s assessment program.

And finally, each state’s collaborative teams must honestly map a realistic timeline for the implementation. Rushing into the implementation without training and communication at all levels is a path leading to failure.

We urge states to hold their ground and seek waivers in developing their approved timelines for implementation. Having an effective implementation one year later than originally planned is so much better than watching the “dysfunctional dance” we saw with the Common Core.

Local educators also must get aggressive with their state departments of education and “shake some trees” to learn more about their approaches and commitment to collaboration and communication.

The time is needed to Get It Right so that education leaders can prove that we learned some lessons with the bumpy and pot-holed roll-out of the Common Core policies of a few years ago.

Rich Signature-bold cropped

Rich Bagin, APR
NSPRA Executive Director

Photo by Jim Cummings, APR, Glendale Elementary School District

 

Moses and Aaron, His PR Staffer, Would Have Trouble Today

Posted 06/10/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: Communication, school media relations

Dr. Don Bagin, my late brother and a pioneer in our communication field, used to tell an old joke that went something like this:

Return with me to the days of Moses leading the Israelites fleeing from the Pharaoh’s army that was gaining ground on them. The Israelites were leaving their homes with their families and their possessions.

When Moses approached the Red Sea, he realized that he and his people were in immediate trouble unless something dramatic happened.

While pondering his next step, Aaron, Moses’ confidant and PR person, suggested that Moses stand on the large rock on the bank of the Red Sea, spread his arms while holding his staff (for a better dramatic visual, I assume), and seek God’s assistance to part the waters of the sea.

After the Israelites had crossed safely, Aaron again counseled Moses to wait for the Pharaoh’s army to enter the dry path created and then close his arms again with the staff (again, for a better visual) and the sea wall will close and cut off the army’s access to Moses and his beloved followers.

Moses seemed a bit skeptical of Aaron’s advice and asked, “Will this really work?”

Aaron responded, “I’m not sure, but if it does, I can guarantee you two pages in the Bible.”

Rim shot, please! Blame my brother.

The Silly Joke Has Teaching Value for Our Profession

Guaranteeing that you’ll get any media coverage for a story has never been possible unless you are totally in charge of the outlet. That’s why we often smirk a bit when we hear statements from superintendents and board members who proudly hail their accomplishment of hiring a former reporter from a menacing paper or TV news station because it will guarantee that they’ll get great coverage of their schools.

The truth is that while these reporters do know the inner workings of their outlets, they also know that posting continuous good news stories will not fly by their previous bosses, editors, and assignment gatekeepers. Former reporters can bring a positive edge for this one function of a PR professional, but they, too, cannot guarantee anything. And their previous bosses may not be so happy about their leaving, and consequently may not be eager doing them any favors.

Today’s Technology Disrupts Sure-Thing Placements

If social media and today’s technology were alive back in the Moses era, other scenarios would have played out like:

  • Just about any Israelite with a smart phone could guarantee coverage of their own story by posting it through social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. Only thing, it is not the type of story you would like to see.
  • Using today’s tech tools in Moses’ time could have led to one of the Israelites texting his brother-in-law back in the Pharaoh’s army and spilling the beans about Moses’ plan. Had that happened, the results would have been very different. They could have used Instagram, Twitter, email, and periscope and even drones — all leading to a very different outcome.

Today’s PR Professionals Need a Diversified Portfolio of Tools and the Skills to Go with Them

The point is that top PR pros realize the importance of having good professional relationships with the media and they know how to effectively work with the media to get desired results. They also know that having healthy media relations is just one tactic needed to be to produce positive results for their schools.

Top pros understand the critical importance of having a strategy linked to district goals and using numerous tech tools, engagement programs, internal communication efforts, and marketing approaches to build an effective program.

Believing that media relations alone will carry your communication effort is a mistake.

And, yes, I guarantee it!

Rich Signature-bold cropped

Rich Bagin, APR

NSPRA Executive Director Communication E-Kit for Superintendents---3--06262013_Page_01

P.S.: 

NSPRA has a practical free tool that provides insight on what is needed to start a professional communication program for your school district. It even offers advice on hiring the right person.

You can get your own free copy by going to http://www.nspra.org/communication-e-kit-superintendents.

 

New Insights When We Talk About Testing

Posted 05/08/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: Communication, Education, testing

NWEA_Final_2016_Page_01

State assessments and testing are often catalysts for discussions that can lead to bashing public education. In addition to privacy issues in some states and the regionalized opt-out movement in others, state testing will once again become an issue as states are now wrestling with their new approaches to their assessment program mandated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Our prediction is that the new assessments will either sink or swim in the court of parent and public opinion depending on increased authentic communication and collaboration completed with staff, parents, and students.


If we want to see how implementing ESSA can fail, just take a whiff of the Common Core implementation where little attention and spotty consideration were paid to early communication and engagement with these same key audiences.


Where commitments were made to early communication and collaboration, implementation was, for the most part, successful. And we all know the “rest of the story” when the value of two-way communication was ignored, critics filled the void that our collective inaction created.

 

Good News: We Still Have Time and New Insight to Make Good Things Happen

In early May, a new Gallup report, Make Assessment Work for All Students, was released. Commissioned by the not-for-profit Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), it reveals that educators, parents, and students want a balanced approach to K-12 testing, using a variety of academic assessments with a strong preference for those that improve teaching and learning.

Through Gallup, the NWEA surveyed more than 4,200 students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents. We urge you to use this new free resource because it will give you insight on what collaborative steps you can take within your district as well as well as throughout your state. The resource can also help drive some messaging when it comes to testing and communication in your district.

Last week a discussion about the survey took place at Gallup Headquarters in Washington, D.C. One of the findings in the report that was embellished during that discussion rings true for all  communicators: We know that our messaging has to be relevant for our audiences. In the report, parents and students noted that “the assessments don’t have anything to do with us.” They said it was just used by their state to measure the schools and did not focus on student learning.
Additional key findings from Make Assessment Work for All Students include:

  • Three in four students (75%) believe that they spend the right amount of time or too little time taking assessments, as do more than half of parents (52%). In contrast, 83% of teachers, 71% of principals. and 79% of superintendents say that students spend too much time taking assessments.

NWEA_Final_2016_Page_05

  • More than 6 in 10 parents, or 61%, say they rarely or never have conversations with their child’s teacher about assessment results.
  • Data coaches are available in a relatively small proportion of schools and districts, but principals and superintendents who have access to data coaches overwhelmingly say they improve student learning (71% and 85%) and the quality of teaching (82% and 89%).
  • Parents need more information about assessments.
  • Gaps in understanding of the purpose of assessments remain.

 

The report makes a number of recommendations and also touches on the opt-out movement and the need for more time to communicate, collaborate, and train staff at all levels.

Local educators also need to get aggressive with their state departments of education and “shake some trees” to learn more about their approaches and commitment to collaboration and communication.

The time is needed to Get It Right so that education leaders can prove that we learned some lessons with the bumpy and pot-holed roll-out of the Common Core policies of a few years ago.

To see the full report released last week, go to Make Assessment Work for All Students: Multiple Measures Matter  including findings and recommendations.

Rich Signature-bold cropped

Rich Bagin, APR
NSPRA Executive Director

Demanding Jobs and Great Performance Earn Respect

Posted 04/11/2016 by schoolpr
Categories: Professional Development, school communication, school PR, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

boy 1Great school communication professionals always have too much to do. It’s just the nature of our business.

We never totally catch up because we see opportunities that need our help or other assignments are tossed in our laps because most PR people are known as the “go-to” resource when bad things happen to our schools. And most of us see reputation management as one of our key contributions we make to build support and understanding when they are most needed.

 

Being the Most Helpful When Your Expertise Is Needed the Most

All this converts to a 24/7 demanding lifestyle that can take its toll on the motivation and physical and mental well-being of our colleagues. Some NSPRA members seem to thrive on being the most helpful person when their expertise is most needed. And from our NSPRA cat-bird seat, that’s when many professionals are extremely valued as their bosses and boards realize just how bad things would be without the talent, work ethic, judgment, and results generated by NSPRA professionals like you. It’s in these situations that you earn your leadership stripes in school administration.

 

Avoiding Burn Out Becomes a New Priority

So, just how do you avoid retreating and doubting that you will ever get it all done? From personal experiences and observations of some our leading members, here are a few points to consider:

  • Developing a positive relationship with your superintendent is at the top of the list. In many ways your job is very similar to the superintendent’s job — or at least you should be worrying about and acting on the same issues day in and day out. Opening a dialogue with your superintendent about the key aspects of your job will build more support for both you and the PR function in the days ahead. Your superintendent will know that complaints from a principal about the student travel club’s not getting publicity easily takes a back seat to the task of passing next month’s bond election. It’s critical that you do all you can to strengthen the relationship with your top boss.
  • Create an operational plan that has a bit of wiggle room. Every year you should hammer out a plan with your key leadership that demonstrates how the PR function is helping your district achieve its annual goals and objectives. Often when things beyond your control are tossed your way, you can refer to the plan so that key leaders understand that some parts of the plan will not be accomplished or will be delayed. Always add some new proactive approaches to the plan to keep you and your staff fresh in doing new things and adding to your own professional growth. An operational plan can also serve as a shield from having too many extraneous assignments being piled on throughout the year.
  • When pressure mounts, walk away from the situation to clear your head and remember why you are in the education business. Years ago, I used to walk form the central office to a next door elementary school where I would “observe” kindergarten classes and remember the joy of just being a kindergartner. Smiling with 5 year-olds can do wonders to relieve the political stress of your office just 50 yards away. Some members use those times to grab their cameras to take photos and capitalize on those moments to stockpile productive results they can use later.
  • Get away for the NSPRA Seminar or an NSPRA chapter meeting. It is always good to interact with experienced and friendly people who fully understand what you do for a living. And in our world that means primarily just two spots — either at a local chapter meeting or at NSPRA’s Seminar. Each year, Seminar evaluations are full of comments like, “total recharge,” “these people totally understand me and I learned so much,” “I learned in 3 days what would normally take 2 years on the job,” and “I now have a new network of colleagues to chat with throughout the year.”

 

Through these meetings you learn that you are not in this alone, and that collaboration goes a long way of getting you through your next year of triumphs and opportunities. So, if you need to recharge your battery, remember, it’s not too late to register for NSPRA’s National Seminar, set for July 17 -20 in Chicago. To learn more, just go to:  2016 NSPRA National Seminar.

 

 

Rich Signature-bold cropped

Rich Bagin, APR

NSPRA Executive Director

 

Photo by Jim Cummings, APR, Glendale Elementary School District