Proactive and sustained relationship building and communication is necessary in order to gain the momentum needed to achieve wide stakeholder participation in the Stand Up For Public Education movement.
Engaging both internal and external audiences in the great conversations about our schools is essential in building universal support for public education. Internal audiences include your school board members, administrators, staff, parent/teacher groups, retired teachers and students. External audiences would be your taxpayer community, business community leaders, legislators, media and other local governments. Internal stakeholders must reach out to external stakeholders to spread the good news about the achievements of your students and staff and create an atmosphere of pride for all people involved in public education and in the community.
Engage your local school boards: Local boards must work together to instill a sense of pride and value the achievements of their schools. Your school board should consider showing the Stand Up For Public Education DVD (also found at http://www.StandUpforPublicEducation.org) and adopting a resolution in support of the campaign and share it with the press and PSBA. Emphasize accomplishments in the district by adding School and Student Successes to your meeting agenda for every regularly scheduled public school board meeting. Invite the media and families of the students, teachers and administrators involved in the successes and honor them at the meeting.
Engage the local media: When it comes to moving the masses, media sets the public agenda. Developing strong relationships with the local media and providing them with a steady stream of positive news so they will help spread the good news about your school district is key. If you don’t consistently tell your story to the media, the critics will be sure to tell their story. Encourage your local media to value your successes by providing press releases when your schools, students, teachers, administrators, board members or other staff have important accomplishments and successes to report to the community.
Engage the Parents: Play the Stand Up For Public Education DVD at the next PTO/PTA, booster club and other parent group meetings taking place in district. These are the parents that volunteer so most likely they already have a sense of pride for their neighborhood schools. Continue to nurture these relationships and show them how important they are in communicating their side of the story.
Engage the Community: Reach out to the taxpayer community and senior citizens by inviting them to a “see for yourself” community forum. Play the Stand Up For Public Education DVD followed by showing them stellar programs in action so they can see first-hand the good work that students and staff are accomplishing. Many school districts are already holding community forums so reach out to other districts in your region for ideas or you may contact PSBA for best practices.
Engage your legislators: Invite them to a “see for yourself” community forum that includes playing the Stand Up For Public Education DVD and a showcase of stellar programs. Continue inviting them to award ceremonies and other school events that recognize the great accomplishments of your students, teachers and other staff. Again, proactive and sustained relationship building and communication with your legislator is critical so they are familiar with your school district’s achievements.
Engage other local governments and the business community: Invite local government and business leaders to a community forum. Share the positive news and stories about your schools but balance what you say with some of the needs you are experiencing, what your plan is to meet those needs and how they may be able to help. Partner with the business community and local government officials in creating recognition awards to honor the various achievements of students and teachers and be sure to engage the media.
Engage all school entities in your community: Partner with your local career and technical schools and Intermediate Unit in the movement and share the positive information about your collective achievements with one another and all internal and external stakeholders. Remember that they are all our children!