School Communications.. What does that even mean?

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When I graduated from college in 2011, if someone had told me I would have ended up working in school communications and public relations, I would have been confused… school communications and PR? What does that even mean?

Nearly three years later, I’ve learned more about education, and school communications, than I’d ever imagined. While school communication professionals don’t occupy the same role in the educational landscape that teachers, principals and administrators do, communications specialists can help fill in gaps, and make sense of things that often “get lost in translation” between classrooms, students, parents and members of the media. School public relations professionals may not play the same role that certified staff members do, but they can help tell the story of these professionals and share their work, as well as the accomplishments of a district’s students.

By clarifying school budgeting and finance, for example, PR professionals can help improve communication and transparency within their district or school. Recently, my district held budget information sessions with staff and community members. In addition to providing information about our 2014-2015 budget, we also gave our staff, teachers, families and community members an opportunity to provide input to the budget, including specific proposals as well as budget-decision making factors (ie statements that budget proposals should be judged against).

After the sessions, I published all of the submitted proposals and factors on our website, further increasing clarity and the sense of cohesiveness among all of our key stakeholders. As school budgets (and the processes used to craft them) become increasingly dicey year after year, reducing confusion and involving as many parties as possible can help make the process less contentious and more inclusive. Click here to view the page. 

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