School crisis response takeaways (and repairing my damaged ego) – SCN Encourager

Yesterday’s Lunchinar was a winner.

Not that you could keep score.

rick-kaufman-at-4-01-13-pmBut you know what I mean.

Beyond sharing a number of experienced-based tips, school crisis response expert Rick Kaufman demonstrated his passion for school PR and what we all do.

And his value-packed observations didn’t just waft down to us from some lofty ivory tower.

No, they came from someone who’s proud to be in the trenches with us everyday.

I liked that.

A lot.

Rick pointed out how – thanks to the free flow of social media everywhere – the TIME we have available to respond to a crisis has been “crunched down” to mere minutes.

As stressful as this is, he offered up an affirming perspective.

Accept three truths:
1.  You didn’t cause the crisis.
2.  It’s largely outside of your control.
3.  So have a plan ready which ensures you won’t make the situation worse.

Because a speedy-kwik response is now more important today than finely crafted comprehensive message points, Rick advised keeping these concepts in mind.

I’m not giving his 45 minutes with Holly McCaw justice, but here’s what popped out of my Lunchinar scribbles.

•  Be sure to have designated crisis response teams, school-by-school and one for the district.
•  Find a way to accurately engage in the rapidly spreading “crisis conversation” as soon as possible.
•  Convey caring and empathy.
•  And don’t wait until every detail is known to let parents know their children are safe. Of course, if you don’t know this 100%, don’t fan false hopes. But if your students are safe, tell parents right away… even if that’s about all you know. You can report the other details as they become known later.

When Holly and I heard Rick speak at NSPRA this summer, he handed out the one-page crisis response guide used back in his district, Bloomington Public Schools (MN.)

Here’s the pdf if you’d like to have it, too. It provides an excellent template.

So now, what’s next?

Well first, I’ve got to get going on beefing up my personal brand.

I saw this sad stat in an infographic last week.








What the….?!?

I don’t get anywhere near this amount.

How embarrassing!

I can’t believe I’m not even close to being below average of the average!

Yeah, I know this makes me seem petty, but this is a major ego deflater.

I’m fortunate to be married to someone who thinks clearly like Rick.

Once Cindy pointed out to me this only applies to “adults” I felt much better.

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