Tooting Our Own Horn

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I finally received my copy of Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times, by Eric Sheninger. I am over 1/2 way through already taking advantage of a 2 hour drive to my son’s hockey game yesterday and some reading to my cell phone light on the way home. The book is very motivating and thought-provoking as I thought it probably would be. There are many ideas for using social media for communication, public relations, engaging students, professional development of staff and much more. It is amazing what some of the schools mentioned in the book are doing simply by taking advantage of opportunities available to us by various forms of social media.

One thing I don’t think we do a very good job of is tooting our own horn. We have so many good things going on in our school, but because they are just part of our every day workings we do not share them or brag about them. A few times so far in my reading Mr. Sheninger has written, “If we do not tell our story, somebody else will. Unfortunately, more often than not, the story that is told is negative.” It is hard not to agree with this because we often see public education and schools portrayed in a negative way in the media.

As a digital leader in my school it is my responsibility to do a better job of building capacity through positive public relations. I can say my plate is full, or what if something negative happens, or I do not have time for one more thing, but in a lot of ways, that is a cop-out. We avoid doing things because of the “time” excuse and later realize that time spent pays off many fold and was well worth it.

I have seen links on twitter about branding, but honestly I have not really paid much attention because, like a lot of people, I usually associate branding with big business and I am in the business of children and people. What does branding have to do with that?

Branding is creating an identity that people will recognize and buy in to. We are in control of what is happening in our schools, for the most part, and we know there are many awesome, experiences, moments, techniques and celebrations happening every day so why not spread the word.

We have put a lot of effort this year into using twitter as a communication and public relations tool with developing and promoting a school twitter account @PDaleSchool and classroom twitter accounts for all of our classes. I think we have done a great job and parents appreciate the effort put into being able to see those small moments happening throughout the day, receiving notices of things happening at the school and links to parenting or educational information. I also think it is a great professional development tool for many of our teachers.

We have made a great step toward positive branding of our school. The question now is…what is the next step?