Communication, Culture, Leadership

Set up a “good news stand” on your campuses to capture the best stories and reconnect with your staff and students

One of the hardest parts of my school PR role is balancing administrative tasks with my role as chief people person and lead storyteller. It’s easy to get sucked into the “at my computer” and “in meetings” duties more than the “get out and see real, live kids and staff” responsibilities. Here’s the saddest part of that scenario, the longer you go without visiting campuses regularly, the more you feel like an imposter when you do visit. 

Now, I have worked on almost every campus in Brenham ISD over the last 18 years, so admittedly, I still feel very much at home when I visit most schools. BUT, staffing changes and the growing distance between me as “one of them” and me as “one of THEM” have created some challenges. The start of 2020 (+ our AMAZING #k12prbooks title Stories that Stick by Kindra Hall) renewed my desire to get out there, connect with my people and tell our district’s stories. To help facilitate that and take a more intentional approach, I decided to set up “good news stands” across our district. Here’s what I did…

Good News Stand Plan

{email to admins with idea}

Subject: I can’t wait to share your good news!

Good morning! I am so excited to office from your campus soon to spend an ENTIRE DAY spreading the good news about your students and staff! You don’t have to do anything special on this day, but I do need help selecting a date that will work for you and your campus. I also ask that you please allow me to use a space on your campus (empty classroom, conference room, library, closet, hallway, corner) that can be easily accessed by your staff on that day.

Please click here to select a date. {link to Google Form here}

On your preferred date, I will be asking your staff to stop by and “tell me something good” and/or invite me into their classrooms to see your students in action. All of my media posts that day will be about YOUR staff and students! 

THANK YOU for being our district’s best storytellers and for allowing me access to your campuses! Great things are happening all over Brenham ISD and I am so proud to be able to share your good news!

TECH TIP: Create a Google Form with your available dates in a dropdown question format. (Be sure to give admins plenty of choices!) Then, use “Choice Eliminator” in your form to remove options from the list when they have already been selected.

{email to campus conference}

Subject: Raise your hand if you want a jeans pass!

The start of a new year has renewed my focus on finding the good news on our campuses and sharing it with the world! Tomorrow I will be on your campus all day long and I’d love to hear some good news. Find me and tell me something good, any good news at all, and I will give you a jeans pass. EASY! 

OR, click here to book an appointment slot {link to your preferred appointment tool} and invite me into your classroom for a few minutes to see your good news in action. In return, I’ll give you a jeans pass AND enter your class into a drawing for a class pizza party. Mmmmm!

You see the good news on your campus and in your classroom each and every day. I need your help to make sure our community also sees the great things happening in Brenham public schools. THANK YOU for being your campus’ storytellers and for allowing me access to your classrooms! Great things are happening all over Brenham ISD and I am so proud to share your good news!

TECH TIP: Use Google Calendar appointment slots to add the classroom visit invitations to your calendar and the requestor’s.

My first good news stand was last week at one of our elementary campuses. I’ll be honest, I was nervous. I had NO idea how it would go (perhaps they’d think this was the dumbest idea ever?!). Nope – it.was.awesome. I hadn’t even been on the campus for 10 minutes and someone had already shared good news with me! (Jeans passes are VERY powerful!) I literally set up my laptop on a metal rolling cart in the hallway of the front office – it was the most perfect, visible place to be! At the end of the day, 17 staff members had shared a piece of good news and I had been invited into 5 classrooms! There were several times when I thought I might burst into tears – it was that good.

I have to give a shout-out to my pal Corey Ryan who is the chief communications officer in Leander ISD and the Central Area TSPRA VP. He did a great activity at a CASPRA meeting called a “school story takeover.” Check out his NSPRA Tip Sheet below for even more ideas!

I would love to know how you are engaging with your students and staff, being intentional about campus visits, and telling your best stories. Share your ideas in the comments below or email me to collaborate!

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