Innovative ways to tell your school story – SCN Encourager 3/18/2014

Here’s a “Session #2 Review” from the MSPRA Spring Conference.

But before I give you a recap based upon my extensive scribbles, the SCN legal counsel (barristers to indigent) requested that I begin with the following:

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 4.48.36 PMThis Encourager may or may not be a work of fiction. The expense report turned in by this author to his school district financial director following the MSPRA Conference is the only document which should be considered 100% accurate. Names, characters, school districts, urls, places, events, and incidents may easily be the products of the author’s imagination or the outlandish misrepresentation of a presenter’s powerpoint slide. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Whew! Sorry to start off  with that legal mumble-jumble today.

But I’m still a little spooked by the two attorneys who spoke at length toward the end of the conference.

Following Dr. Lew Dotterer’s opening keynote on “Finding Life Balance” the next presentation was “Innovative Ways to Tell the Stories of Our Schools.”

It was another winner.

And I have to give MSPRA President Allison Kaufman (Kent ISD) a few double-duty kudos.

If I was on the conference organizing committee, it would’ve been for the sole purpose of avoiding a big time trip up to the podium.

Not so with Allison.

She eagerly stepped behind the microphone for Session #2 within seconds of working on assorted conference details from the back of the room. (Yes, my check is in the mail!)

I doubt I would’ve been so calm.

But Allison had confided during the previous life balance session that she rarely gets out of her robe before noon on Saturdays, so maybe that’s the secret to a flexible multi-tasking mindset.

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Allison and Assistant Superintendent Ron Koehler (also Kent ISD) spotlighted the creation of the School News Network, the Kent ISD’s unique ad-funded platform for covering the overwhelmingly positive and educational stories coming out of their region’s school districts.

Getting every member school district on board with this strategy probably required an effort not seen since the construction of the Hoover Dam, but with 100% buy-in, public education now has a pro-active new friend.

The second half of the “Innovative Ways…” presentation was delivered without an intermission by Danelle Gittus and Jean MacLeod from Oakland Schools.

They presented how Oakland Schools are using its video channel and every major social media tool to share critical school messages to an ever-expanding audience of supporters and advocates.

Steadily building an online audience in the midst of today’s communications chaos isn’t something you can do on the speedy-kwik… so this effort requires great consistency and a long-term commitment.

Since there aren’t any overnight results to show off, you have to admire their patience and pluck.

Like the Kent ISD storytelling tandem, Danelle and Jean are effective “shippers” in keeping with Seth Godin’s definitionjust getting those projects done and “shipped.”

Everyone could also see that Jean has a firm grasp on social media.

When she asked our group of school communicators if we had set up Facebook company pages for our respective school districts, nearly every hand in the room shot up… even mine.

When Jean asked if we were also accessing Facebook’s beneficial “Notes” feature, all of our hands went back down. (Whazzat!?!)

She then explained where the FB Notes icon was found and why to use it.

This is called gently establishing yourself as an authority in your field. (I know this because I heard it explained on one of my radio shows.) 

So Jean earned a place on my list of social media gurus.

The only thing I disagreed with her about later was her comment that “you never know what you never know.”

Oh, how I wish this were true.

There’s are tons of things I don’t know… and I know exactly what they are! 

Of course, I stewed on this in silence.

I didn’t want to do anything that would cause Allison to put me on next year’s conference organizing committee.

Tom Page, SCN








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