Tag Archive | welcoming

PR Palooza!

In my new role as a high school AP at DC Everest Senior High School, I am tasked with developing and maintaining our presence and brand via various social media channels. This morning, I sent the email below to all staff at the high school. Rather than wait for our beginning-of-the-year staff meetings, I decided to get out the word early. I’m also hoping some of the folks in the building want to help me spread the word about the awesome that takes place every day in our building. Below is the email I sent out to staff.

Hey everyone!

Hopefully you all have received my intro letter and are starting to get to know me.

One of my roles as the new AP is to maintain our Social Media (SM) presence. To that end, we have added an Instagram and Twitter account to our arsenal of SM channels, and students and parents are beginning to find us there. In my time at Clintonville Middle School, we took a toxic, negative culture and turned it around – and in the beginning it was all about telling the positive stories going on in our building. We do not have that culture here at DCESRH, so we get to simply share the awesome you all create for kids every day. Honestly, we just need to share the work you do every day to keep the positives rolling.

As such, please make sure to contact me about activities, etc. that you want to publish to our SM channels. I do not want to create extra work for you, so if you contact me ahead of time, I can come into your classrooms to take photos or video. Heck, we could even ask the Help Desk to take some video and help you edit it down for posting.

If you haven’t yet had a chance, check out our three SM channels:

  • https://www.facebook.com/DC-Everest-Senior-High-School-1533150163603717/ (Like our page, please – it helps drive traffic and can expand our reach)- Kids will tell you that parentus lameus hang out on Facebook, along with the curious but wary grandparentus oldus. Don’t let them fool you, though. The kids are coming there, too. Since we dropped the Football preview video on July 28, we have added 60 page “Likes” and drawn a wider audience. I believe we will eclipse the 600 “Like” mark before school even starts. I’d love to feature your club, sport, or activity so those parents and grandparents can see through the school walls. Please, let us help you to tell your story.
  • https://www.instagram.com/dceseniorhigh/ – This is where the cool kids hang out (The really cool kids hand out on Snapchat, but we can get there later). Instagram has some great tools, and we are using a service to let us get really granular. Some pics and videos are kid-oriented and belong on Instagram. Some should go to only Facebook. Others should go to all of our channels, and we can do that. The ability to use filters to create stunning effects makes Instagram a popular choice for kids (Plus, the Kardashians live on Instagram – negative for society but a plus for us in attracting kids).
  • https://twitter.com/DCESeniorHigh – We will have to see how Twitter goes. The district has had lukewarm success thus far, but we have to give folks a reason to come to Twitter – “If you build it, they will come” – or they won’t come. A number of you already hang out on Twitter, and that is AWESOME. I am there, too: @jeffreyasee We can utilize Twitter in a variety of ways, and I will probably start next week by hashtagging the TLL training next week and calling on some of you to share your learning via a Tweet. I’ll even do the Tweeting and video a few responses to hear what you learn next week and share that learning. I can even point you to some folks you might want to follow on Twitter who make great peeps from whom to learn.
I realize that is a lot of info in one email. If you have suggestions about how we might leverage these channels, I am all ears. I want our school team to tear down the figurative school walls and build even more parent and community support for the excellent work you all do. If you want to learn how to set up your own Twitter account or try something in your classroom, please come see me.
Kids will be here before we know it! Enjoy these last few weeks of summer and I cannot wait to meet all of you in person.

My One Word: Connected: Welcoming All Families

As a teacher, I thought I knew the value of good relationships with parents. In truth, though, I focused on relationships with students; if possible, I tried to make sure parents understood I had their child’s best interests in mind.

As a principal, I have learned the true value of family engagement. When I interviewed for my position, I talked a lot about the importance of bringing in families and helping them see the school as their school. I held that as a core value, but in reality, I never had to put it into practice.

The National PTA shares information about Family-School Partnerships. The PTA even shares National Standards for Family-School Partnerships:

  • Welcoming all families into the school community
  • Communicating effectively
  • Speaking up for every child
  • Sharing power

Over the last year and a half, I have learned what those standards look like in practice. In August of 2014, Clintonville Middle School had a negative image reflective of its toxic culture. From day one, we worked to make the middle school a place that welcomes all families into the school community. We worked with staff and a fledgling PTO to spread the word that the middle school was safe for students, and families started to ask about enrolling their students at CMS. Before we knew it, private school students started walking through our doors on a regular basis – and many of them stayed.

Welcoming all families also included working with students and families who had not had positive experiences at the middle school. Some of that negative experience stemmed from the fact that the middle school originally served as the high school, and some of that negative happened inside that walls of the middle school.

My principal, Scott Werfal, and I greet families at the door and always want to know “How can we help you?” It seems simple, but an office design focused not on the adults in the office but on customer service for students and parents has made a world of difference. The change seems subtle, but parents now have room when we ask them to wait, and the new flow in the office allows us to have a friendly face greet all comers. Students, parents, subs, and community members have all commented on how friendly the school and particularly the office feel. We are proud that people don’t automatically look at the building or the office with distaste and disdain.

I strongly recommend that educators read Beyond the Bake Sale.  You will start to see the importance of trying to form true school-community and school-home partnerships. Joining Twitter chats will also afford you the opportunity to collaborate with people who have already made inroads to become more connected with families. You may even develop your own cohort who will go through the process with you.

What do you think? What experience have you had with trying to cultivate positive connectedness with home?