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Community Relations

Community Relations Philosophy Statement
        According to Blendinger and Snipes (1993), "student academic achievement and behavior is more apt to improve through school-home collaboration when the school administrator takes the lead in planning and implementing parent involvement strategies and activities in three major categories--school-home communication, at-home learning, and at-school participation" (p. 9).  I too believe that strong home-to-school connections increase the chance of favorable educational outcomes for students.  In addition to improving home-to-school collaboration, educational leaders need to be knowledgeable and skilled in creating and implementing a formalized public relations program that reaches out to the community as a whole.  
        Educational leaders need to understand the effect family and its associated factors can have on a student's development.  They need to be skilled in creating innovative ways to promote collaboration between home, school, and the community in order to enhance students' chances of success.  Educational leaders should help parents assist their children educationally by providing them with support, information, and resources.  In order to design the most effective programming for students, educational leaders should make valuable links between the school, the family, and community agencies.  It is important for educational leaders to be sensitive to the cultural issues that may impact home-school-community collaboration.  Overall, educational leaders can be influential in getting parents and community members involved in their schools (i.e., as school board members, curriculum development team members, student mentors, classroom volunteers) and educating them on the importance of family and community involvement in children's development.  
        The key to successful public relations programs is that they are strategically planned.  Reeve (n.d.) believes that "a well-thought-out public relations plan will help ensure that a school district carries out its mission and meets its goals with the support of its staff and community" (n.p.).  As an educational leader, I will need to be knowledgeable about my district's public relations plan and my role in implementing its components.  If my district's public relations plan needs revising or does not exist, I will follow Reeve's four-step process below:

  1. Research - up front analysis on where the district stands in regard to all publics it wishes to reach
  2. Action plan - developing public relations goals, objectives and strategies that go hand-in-hand with the district's overall mission and goals
  3. Communicate/Implement - carrying out the tactics necessary to meet the objectives and goals
  4. Evaluate - looking back at actions taken to determine their effectiveness and what changes are needed in the future (n.d., n.p.).

By implementing the steps described above, educational leaders are able to develop a plan that aligns with the needs of the public and the overall mission of the school, develop goals that can be monitored, and evaluate what may need to be adjusted in the future to increase positive outcomes in their schools.
        In summary, educational leaders need to be skilled in communicating a positive image of their school or organization to the community.  They also need to promote strong school-home collaboration to increase the likelihood of positive educational outcomes for their students.  On a larger scale, educational leaders need to work with community members to establish goals and objectives that supplement existing school and district goals.  These goals should be incorporated into a planned public relations program that is frequently evaluated and adjusted to meet the ever-changing needs of the community and its students.  

References
Blendinger, J., & Snipes, G. (1993). In search of a theory of parent involvement for school administrators. Retrived February 21, 2010, from Education Resources Information Center Web site: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/ detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED374525&ERICExtSearch_ SearchType_0=no&accno=ED374525

Reeve, J. (n.d.).  Resources/articles: The four-step public relations process. Retrieved February 21, 2010, from National School Public Relations Association Web site: http://www.nspra.org/node/49

G.     Community Relations: Core Competency

  1. articulate organizational purpose and priorities to the community and media;
  2. request and respond to community feedback;
  3. demonstrate the ability to build community consensus;
  4. relate political initiatives to stakeholders, including parental involvement programs;
  5. identify and interact with internal and external publics;
  6. understand and respond to the news media;
  7. promote a positive image of schools and the school district;
  8. monitor and address perceptions about school-community issues;
  9. demonstrate the ability to identify and articulate critical community issues which may impact local education.

Artifacts

The following artifacts demonstrate my competency in the area of community relations:

This artifact demonstrates my ability to relate political initiatives to stakeholders, including parental involvement programs (G4).  As part of my director's field experience project, I was asked to share a summary of the state's Continuous Improvement Monitoring Program (CIMP) survey results with the St. Croix River Education District's Parent Advisory Council.  During my presentation, I provided the parent group with a brief overview of the CIMP process to educate them on this political initiative.  Then, I shared the results of the stakeholder surveys, emphasizing the parent results.  Lastly, I informed them of the steps the education district would be taking in response to the stakeholder feedback.

This artifact demonstrates my ability to promote a positive image of schools and the school district (G7) within the community.  Through my involvement with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, I had the opportunity to promote a positive image of my school within the community.  Our team is continually looking for ways to expand our Go WILD program out into the community.  One of the ways we accomplished this was by having our student members ask local businesses to show their support by hanging Go WILD posters in their windows.

 
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