As President and CEO of Digital Promise and Senior Vice President of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education, we spend much of our time on the road, meeting with school leaders and teachers across the country. A common theme we hear is the importance and challenge of keeping stakeholders not only informed, but also engaged. This is consistent no matter the size or location of the district.
It seems the breadth of school stakeholders has grown over the past decades. When we were in the classroom, the list of key stakeholders who school leaders needed to keep informed about activities and plans was more limited to district staff, school boards, and parents. But, that is no longer the case. Today, the list of stakeholders who school leaders must keep apprised of their school activities and direction has expanded. Local elected officials, business owners, religious and cultural leaders, and a myriad of community organizations, as well as students themselves, are all critical audiences with whom effective and progressive school leaders are seeking to engage in an effort to support the success of all learners.
Every community is different and the leaders and stakeholders are unique to the fabric of the community. Engaging the influencers will come from an ever-deepening understanding of the community and where they get their information, as well as developing strategies for identifying, owning, and sharing the stories that showcase powerful teaching and learning in your district.
Stories have the power to inform, inspire, connect, and mobilize. Compelling stories can cut through rhetoric and show the reality of the world around us — successes, challenges, and everything in between. With many competing opinions on how to implement digital learning effectively, compelling stories can influence decision-makers and inspire people and communities to action.
What are some of the ways successful school systems are communicating with diverse audiences in their local communities? Here are seven and we invite you to leave other examples in the comments:
Educators nationwide are transforming their classrooms into dynamic digital learning environments that prepare students for success in an ever changing world. It’s up to you to lead your community with a compelling story, and remember, as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson once said, “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”