It seems like everywhere we turn, education is under the microscope. From members of Congress to the mother next door, everyone has an opinion on education. What we should do and how we should do it. And, to me at least, the focus is on the negative. "This is what's wrong." "Why aren't these test scores better?" "What was that teacher thinking?"
But as someone who spends a lot of time walking the hallways and seeing kids in the classroom, there is so much good out there. I see kids doing amazing things everyday that we can share with our school community, our parents and the world.
It's all about Public Relations.
And while we might not think of a school needing a PR rep., its true now more than ever. The world needs to see whats happening behind those walls. The job of PR in our schools can be all our responsibility. However, there is really one person, who is well suited that we can turn to to be our PR Machine.
Look at any celebrity and you might think of PR as a full-time job. For the Principal, it doesn't have to be. You walk the halls everyday and see great things. More often than not you have that powerful device, the mobile phone, you carry with us everywhere. Why not put it to use for more than just email and capture the moments during the day that can help tell your story. And doing that is easier than you think.
Twitter-I have been advocating the use of Twitter in the classroom and for professional growth for a while now but even easier than that, it can be used by the administrator to tweet about Ms. Smith's Kindergarteners and their weather project or to tell the community about the service project the seniors did. In 140 characters you can change the way people see inside the building and give valuable insight into the good things.
Facebook-We usually see Facebook as a place to like our game show or store but it can be a great place to share stories from the classrooms. The principal could post photos, videos, firsthand accounts of sports stories, academic bowl victories (or defeats) and special moments. This could also be a place to invite kids and the community to share their thoughts as well.
Instagram-With the power of our phones in our pocket, we can capture and share those moments in our day that are fun, special or just plain awesome. The Principal PR Machine can capture those moments with the flick of an app and share then with the world.
Blogs-While a great place for reflection the blog can be a way to capture, day-by-day, week-by-week, the stories we see when we walk around our buildings. But one of the neatest projects I've seen is a school that invites, everyday, a teacher, student or staff member to share a moment of learning they remember that had an impact on them. What a great idea! Sharing with the community and being open about our learning can help change the conversation.
Youtube-Take a look at the front page of Youtube and you will see videos there that you just have to scratch your head and wonder "who watches this stuff?" Take some video, instantly upload and you share those moments that matter and help shape the story that your school tells.
It doesn't take a lot of skill or time to share your story. All it takes is getting out, walking around and looking for the good moments to share with the world.