Lesley Rogers, SVP of Education, Strategies 360
In case you don’t know, the Twitterverse has spoken and this Friday, May 10 is the first-ever unofficial School Communicators Day.
What does that mean? Superintendents around the nation will soon ask their school communications director to write their own thank you.
Just kidding. Well, actually, I’m not. Of course you should let them write their own thank you, that would be great. Because they are really good at writing. And editing. And communications strategy. And social media, storytelling, crisis communications and dealing with the media. Oh, and they are also part-time therapists for superintendents, board members and peers.
A running joke among school communicators is that we should get an award for the worst story we kept out of the news media (seriously, ask any school PR pro to share their version of this). At the end of the day, it’s the school communications person who has the job of making the superintendent, the school board and school leaders look good, and also allow those leaders to spend their time doing what they need to do – focus
on teaching and learning and the systems needed to make sure each and every student achieves. When I served as Chief Communications Officer for Seattle Public Schools, my most rewarding days were when I was able to help a principal or school leader by handing a tough communications issue, letting them be where they needed to be – with their staff, families or students. (My least favorite day? Err, week? When a fake story about “spring spheres” made international news. The term even has it’s own Urban Dictionary definition).
And to our friends in school PR, if you’re stretched to capacity and couldn’t possibly fit anything else in – even a thank you note for yourself – give us a call. At Strategies 360, we are proud to work directly with school PR pros every day. We know what your day is like because we’ve walked in your shoes. And now we’re here to help you. Our team is on call when you need an extra set of hands in the office, when you have a crisis, when you have a long-term communication need or when you’re planning for an upcoming school funding measure. You don’t have to go it alone, we are here in support of you, your work, your schools and your students.
And for the Superintendents looking to find a way to show some appreciation for your hard-working school communicators, whether you have a one-person shop or a full communications department, a simple “thank you” will do. Just a reminder that you know how difficult their job can be, that they are often the face of bad news, they hear the first-hand complaints from the community and they are working hard to make sure staff, families, students and the community know what makes your district special and amazing.
So thank you, school communicators. In our eyes, every day should be #SchoolPRDay.
Superintendents: How to thank #SchoolPR pros
- Social media shout out: Tweet or Facebook a thank you picture of you and your school communicator, or a photo of them behind the scenes at work.
- Make it pretty: Here’s every #schoolpr trick – make it look professional with an easy and free custom graphic using free resources like www.canva.com or crello.com
- Let others know: Send an email to staff and families, thanking your school communications members
- Support professional development: Send your communications team to the yearly National School Public Relations Association seminar in July to learn best practices and trends in school PR. (Strategies 360 was a sponsor at our yearly WSPRA conference last week, and it was wonderful to listen, learn and connect with the school PR community).
- Caffeine: Bring your school public relations pro a cup of their favorite brew.