School district leaders must keep a diverse audience of teachers, principals, parents, local community leaders and other stakeholders informed of important district activities and learning initiatives.
Sometimes it can be a challenge for administrators to convey to a broad audience how a school district is transforming teaching and learning with educational technologies and digital content.
Spreading the word
While each school system’s story is different and the avenues of communication will vary from district to district, here are six ways superintendents can spread the news about their efforts to create authentic digital learning environments:
- Use local broadcast and print media. One way to inform your community about your work is to collaborate with your local broadcast and print media. Through either your personal outreach or through press releases and media alerts, share the who, what, when, where and why of your activities, and convey how those activities fit into your larger learning initiatives. Make sure press releases and media alerts are sent to other important stakeholders, such as elected officials, local community leaders, and the presidents and executive directors of local education associations. Also consider including local business partners, foundations, and nonprofits you regularly work with in your outreach.
- Use your district’s website. If you create a press release announcing an important component of your education-driven technology initiative, consider repurposing this press release for a story on your school district’s website. For many stakeholders, your district website is the single most important source of information about your district, so this story can help drive broad interest in your school system’s ed-tech efforts. Then, use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to promote that story. Also, make sure to include a link to this story in your school system’s weekly email communications.
- Blog it. In addition to a news story, a blog post directly from the superintendent can be a great communications tool. It can help convey both news and opinion in a short format and, like a story on your website, can be promoted via social media and included in your school district’s e-communications.
- Write an op-ed for your local newspaper. As the leader of your community’s public school district, you have a unique and valuable perspective to share with your community. Your op-ed should focus on how digital learning environments are preparing students for college, careers and citizenship in both your local area and our increasingly global society. Once the article appears, use social media to promote it.
- Present to your school board. School boards are critical stakeholders that need to be kept informed of your district’s commitment to leveraging educational technologies to improve education. Create a presentation for your school board that demonstrates the ways education is being transformed in your district. Be sure to showcase the hardware and digital content students will be using, and if possible, provide your board an opportunity to get “hands on” with the technology. Also, include in your presentation administrators, teachers, students and parents who can personally speak to the importance of these new technologies in supporting the success of every student.
- Add an educational technology component to your next community or parent/teacher night. Community or parent/teacher nights are crucial to engaging parents in various district initiatives. At your next event, add a presentation on the ed-tech components of your ongoing learning initiatives. Hands-on exercises led by your school district’s experts can illustrate the academic benefits of new tools, resources and strategies. You also should allow students to demonstrate to their parents the technologies they are using in the classroom. Finally, provide time where parents can interact with the technology, so that they can get a better understanding of their children’s classroom activities.
Across the country, school systems are undertaking exciting, innovative initiatives to better prepare students for their futures. Use these action items to begin to tell your district’s story today.
Scott Kinney, senior vice president of education partnerships at Discovery Education, has been a powerful voice supporting the use of educational technologies to power learning initiatives for more than 20 years.