What public education needs is better public relations. I live three blocks from a middle school, yet never hear what is happening at that school. Does that school’s principal have a responsibility to keep me informed? No, but if he or she wants to tell about something great happening there, I’ll sit up and take notice. Now, I’ll be the first to admit schools shouldn’t necessarily be in the public relations business, but these are difficult times, and the public’s opinion of public school looks to be at an all-time low. If your school district won’t cast itself, and you as an individual teacher, in the best possible light (and most get an “F” in this department) it’s time for individual schools and teachers to pick up the ball and run with it.
Several teachers have contacted us recently because the job of creating a newsletter has dropped into their laps. By keeping the process simple you won’t feel completely overwhelmed and your newsletter will more likely go out on a timely basis. Creating a work of art may sound nice, but the first priority is getting the news out.
Our school is installing a Parent-Teacher Hotline, a telephone system that allows teachers to record messages to their parents, and parents can call in, enter the classroom I.D. number, and hear the teacher’s message regarding homework, upcoming activities, permission slips that need to be returned, etc. We’ll be using ours to include a Home Activity for the Week, a simple learning activity designed to involve parents in the learning/teaching process.
Nearly any grade can put out a newspaper, and desktop publishing is the tool to do it with. There are many styles and designs to draw from, and the project involves a variety of skills. Where else can you get students to get excited about a project that involves writing, talking to people, drawing, photography, and, basically, running a business?