Communicating Lasting Impressions

The Secret to Building Strong School Ambassadors

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Success stories abound on every school campus in America. Getting these stories into the hearts and minds of stakeholders is a goal of school public relations.boarding-school-bus

Some of the most powerful success stories are those shared by school employees. Teachers, administrative assistants, aides, food service personnel, bus drivers, custodians and other support staff possess a credible voice about what is happening in their local schools.

As employees visit with others in the community, both in-person and through social media, they are in a powerful position to advance information sharing and serve as school ambassadors. As such, communicating with these individuals should be a priority.

So what is the secret to building strong school ambassadors among staff? Email is one way to keep employees informed. However, face-to-face communication trumps email every time.

Depending on your target audience, try hosting monthly roundtables with your superintendent, senior leaders or a campus principal. Use these simple guidelines:

  • Name your event.
  • Invite a cross-section of employees. Try to limit to 20 attendees per leader.
  • Encourage attendees to visit with others and meet someone new. If useful, include icebreaker ideas to promote conversation.
  • Serve food.
  • Show an upbeat school video.
  • Give your designated leader 10 minutes to share the state of your schools, dispel rumors and address organizational concerns. Allow time for Q&A.
  • Invite employees to introduce themselves, tell what they like about their work and to share something positive they’ve seen in their department or on their campus. Try to stimulate sharing that speaks to your organization’s core values.
  • Inspire and challenge attendees to share with coworkers and friends the things they learned and the stories they heard.

Prepare to be amazed by the motivation and inspiration generated by these gatherings. When a bus driver shares how a previously disengaged child is now eager to attend school because of her choir class, everybody gets excited. When a cafeteria worker relays how a custodian took time to cheer up a crying child, everybody is motivated.

These are the stories that create lasting connections. So gather regularly to celebrate and share successes in your schools.