Communication, Culture, Google

Help your staff stay informed and communicate better with this customizable planning document

Each summer I share this document with our campus and district administrators in an effort to keep them informed and help them communicate better with me and with the media. Although many of these tips and guidelines may seem like common knowledge to us, staff members outside of the school PR world need these reminders each year.

Click here to access the Google Docs version of this document. Simply go to File > Make a Copy to create your own version to use with your staff!

What publications do you use to foster an open line of communication with campus and district staff?

Communication, Culture, Productivity

I tried to remove this word from my vocabulary 4 years ago and it’s been slowly creeping back in

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of saying phrases like…

“I’m up to my eyeballs.”

“I’m in the weeds.”

“I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off.”

“Just trying to keep my head above water.”

On May 17, 2015 I blogged about the “culture of busy” and how I was going to try and remove the word “busy” from my vocabulary, but lately it’s been creeping back in. This time busy has been more covert, sneaking into my conversations in the form of “Oh, I’m good, just busy” or “You know, it’s a busy time of year.”

My friend once shared that she thinks we say these things because we’re afraid if we don’t TALK about how busy we are, people around us will think we’re not working hard. I think she’s right, but I also think it’s just our culture. ESPECIALLY in school PR where there’s always something to keep us occupied.

Dang. I just did it again. It’s easy to make the assumption that your own position or industry or department is the only position or industry or department that is spread too thin, understaffed, over capacity, etc. Can we all just agree that we’re ALL BUSY … the baseline is BUSY … it’s a given that we’re BUSY … so there’s really no need to state it.

How many of you have really paid attention to how often you say you’re busy?

When I started really paying attention to how often I tell someone I am busy, I WAS EMBARRASSED! Not only do I TELL people, I include it in my EMAILS! NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW HOW BUSY I AM! It’s obnoxious! EVERYONE is busy! I’m not the only one!

So, I am trying to hit the busy reset button. I am in busy therapy. I am again working to replace emails like “I am so sorry I have taken so long to respond. It’s a busy time. Let me check my calendar to see when we can get together” with responses like “Good morning! I am happy to help you solve that problem. When is a good time to meet?”

So…who’s with me?!! Let’s help each other remove the “culture of busy” statements from our interactions and instead focus on strengthening our “culture of caring” vocabulary. Let’s refocus on WHO we serve instead of trying to out-serve each other.

Branding, Communication, Culture, TSPRA

Guiding staff to build a better brand and engaging a diverse community – discussions and presentations from TSPRA19

Last week I attended the 2019 Texas School Public Relations Association conference, an amazing experience full of learning and leading together with my Texas school PR family! I had the pleasure of facilitating 4 roundtable sessions about branding, and presented a full session on culture and community. I took lots of notes during the discussions at the roundtable sessions and created a quick Google Docs flyer to share with you. I am also sharing the culture and community presentation in case you are looking for some new ideas. The presentation has links to all of our planning documents and materials for each initiative.

Are your teachers and staff brandED?

A strong brand can increase effectiveness, improve engagement, and positively impact climate. How can you guide staff to build a better brand and deliver results?

Click here for the Google Docs file. Go to File > Make a Copy to create your own version.

C4 Yourself! Cultivate Community, Communication & Culture

Come hear how one rural district is igniting systematic change and engaging a diverse community. Get simple strategies that break down barriers, change public perception, and build a community of public school supporters. No budget? No worries! Most of these strategies can be achieved with even the smallest departments and budgets. Leave this session with ideas you can implement immediately to maximize your resources and get a big return on your investment!

Culture

An easy (FREE!) way to boost staff morale and improve organizational culture

Everyone likes to be told they’re doing a good job – especially teachers. They have one heck of a tough job, and it’s often a thankless one. Several years ago I saw an idea from Hays Consolidated ISD called the Hays High Five Program, which allows anyone from the district or community to recognize an HCISD employee.

Genius.

So, we started something similar in my district called the Cub Compliment and it has been a GREAT success! Here’s how it works…

  • ANYONE can fill out the form – parents, grandparents, colleagues, supervisors, community members, etc.
  • ANYONE can receive a Cub Compliment – teachers, paraprofessionals, maintenance staff, custodial staff, administrators, etc.
  • I used Autocrat (Google Sheets Add-on) to automatically create a printable certificate and email it to me when someone fills out the nomination form – SO easy! (Learn more about Autocrat here)
  • I edit the certificates for typos, print them and give them to our superintendent who signs them and writes a little note of encouragement.
  • The certificates are sent to the recipient via campus mail with a coupon for a treat from a local business partner.

I have seen DOZENS of Cub Compliment certificates hanging on bulletin boards by desks, framed on bookshelves, and tacked to classroom doors. It means something when someone thanks you for a job well done. It means A LOT when the person who signs your paycheck also signs the compliment certificate. We all want our bosses to know how hard we work, right?!

Since we started the program in September 2016, we have delivered 753 Cub Compliments! That’s 753 smiles. 753 pats on the back. 753 days made.

How are you recognizing the staff members in your organization who go above and beyond the call of duty?