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The Superintendent’s Perspective… Dilemma: Building a Positive Image

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You are frustrated because the school district located next to yours is constantly receiving positive press, often spoken of in a supportive tone in the community, and frequently the target others say you should shoot to match. Yet when you look at the objective data, the neighboring school district does not seem to be performing any better than yours. In fact, in some aspects, the performance of your students and schools is higher. You feel as though you may be oversensitive, yet the positive messages seem to be too consistent for the situation to be a matter of chance. You wonder what you can do to “level the field” without appearing defensive or as though you are overreacting.

Key Considerations:

  • You have taken an important first step by collecting comparative data and benchmarking in key performance areas. Be sure the picture you’ve developed is current, accurate, and comprehensive enough to capture the areas of performance valued highest by your community.
  • You might make some inquiries regarding why the neighboring school district believes it is enjoying such positive informal marks for its performance and what strategies are being used to “tell their story.” You may learn some relatively easy and inexpensive strategies you can adopt or adapt.
  • Understand that people naturally like to compare, even if they do not have good information on which to base comparisons. You will want to be sure you are getting the most accurate and important information about the performance of your school district into the community conversation.
  • Know that people like to be associated with a winner. Review how your communication efforts build and reinforce the perception that your school district is successful.
  • Enlist the efforts and leverage the connections of your staff and supporters to spread the word and help build the image of your school district.
  • When you hear someone say something positive about your school district, pass the news along. Passing along what others have said can add impact to your message. Social media can be a particularly effective strategy to employ for this purpose.
  • As you begin to feel the momentum build as a result of your efforts, talk about it, thank people for their support, and make people feel even better about being a part of a school district that is increasingly being seen as a winner and a benchmark against which others will want to compare themselves.

 

Article taken from Galileo for Superintendents. To learn more about this publication, please visit: www.masterteacher.com/Publication-for-Superintendents

Thought for the Week

We have one final opportunity to give our students some advice to reflect and rely upon in the months and years ahead.

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