A speedy-kwik back-to-school PSD for every school communicator – SCN

As we launch a new school year in our districts, the spotlight is rightfully on all things “teaching and learning.”


Don’t forget us!

New thinking and new approaches need to be carried into school communications, too.

And that requires us to keep up with a wide range of new “learnings” and trends.

I hadn’t really thought about this all that much (who has the time!) until I made a slip of the tongue yesterday.

“Wow, Cindy,” I began. “Did you know that I’ve now written more than 700 Encouragers?”

You have?!?” she quizzed.

Deputy Fife and I are often easily surprised.

Deputy Fife and I are often easily surprised.


I thought her next question would be something like, “Do you know how repair projects we could’ve tackled around here if you weren’t so busy blogging?!?”

But she surprised me. (The pistol!)

She said, “That’s a lot. So, what have you learned?”

One of those never-started repair projects would be easier to undertake.

Since I didn’t have any immediate answers right away, I retreated to the safety (relative) of my office in the basement to try and come up with some.

So what actually have I learned?

Upon agonizing self-reflection I arrived at 10 new learnings in school communications that are looming bigger than ever and are requiring me to up my game.

Don’t worry.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 4.32.13 PMI won’t dwell on these 10 new learnings now.

My plan is to focus on two of them everyday in bite-sized morsels, now through Friday.

If you’re already on top of all of these, good going!

I’m happy for you!

Just send me a few of your tips and resources to get me up to speed, buddy ol’ pal.

And whatever you do, don’t send your résumé to my superintendent.

With two of my daughters looking forward to 2016 weddings, this wouldn’t be a good time (for me!) to have him tempted to make an administrative change.

Here’s My School Communications Back to School Learnings List

1No one can quibble about  my #1.

We’re now living in the age of FAST.

We’ve all now got to be speedy-kwik school communicators.

Or else!

Consider our district crisis response plans.

Given the impact of social media and citizen journalists (aka anyone who breathes), many experts recommend that the communications component in a crisis response must be up and running within the first 10 minutes to be effective.

Yikes! I can barely locate my emergency notebook, charge my phone, swing by the bathroom, and recall what passwords to use in less than 7 minutes.

So, in the weeks ahead, I’m going to share a few ways schools can set-up a 10 minute crisis response plan.
(In other words, please send in your ideas so I can pass them along and take the credit!) 

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 4.57.22 PM#2 is connected to #1.

Along with having to operate FAST, my learning #2 recognizes the challenge we face with the ever-exploding communications clutter.

And there’s no end in sight to the thousands of daily messages interrupting the lives of our parents, community members, and each other!

Our messages are getting lost in the shuffle… and when they aren’t getting lost, they’re getting ignored.

No doubt about it, our schools will have to communicate clearly and concisely like never before.

And second chances and re-do’s are drying up, too.

Communications clutter has also squashed our capability to send out clarifications and explanations later.

No one has the time to see or read those, either.

I’ve got some suggestions for you on how to deal with communications clutter.

And I’ll share those in the future, too.

Here’s one I can give you now, though.

If you want to get a particular school message out to your public, just accidentally release a draft version of it.

You know, the version I mean – the one that includes typos and perhaps even the wrong date and location.

Without fail, this is the message the whole world will see.

Trust me.

Somehow whenever we can be embarrassed by typos and the wrong information, communications clutter never seems to be an issue.

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