This morning the superintendent and board of directors hosted a continental breakfast for the folks we call Key Communicators. They are leaders in the community who can pass “the word” around about what’s happening in the school district.
The KC guest list included a mayor, a city librarian, both school union leaders, a police commander standing in for the chief, a senior park and rec manager, a minister representing the ministerial association, the head of our county-wide Stand for Children organization, the exec director of our schools foundation (a private fundraising not-for-profit that provides various grants for programs in the district), five out of seven board members, the supe, and the assistant supe for school improvement.
I’m not sure who else was invited, but this was a pretty fair cross-section of folks with access to many more people. They are the ones we rely on to get the information straight and pass it on without having the intelligence corrupted as you might find in a game of “telephone.”
Clear and accurate communication is a big goal for all organizations, and school districts are no different. Without our network, it’s doubtful we could have passed a bond last year that enables us to build four new elementary schools and a replacement middle school, as well as major additions to two of our four existing middle schools, and major and minor repairs to twenty-eight other elementary schools.
After a meet-and-greet, we sat around a set of tables and the supe coordinated a ten-question survey that was designed to see how the folks in the room (our public board meeting room) felt about issues that were dealt with in the 39th Annual Gallup/Phi Beta Kappa Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools in the USA and NCLB. Not surprisingly, our attitudes were very similar to the poll results, even allowing for the tiny sample our group afforded.
We briefly discussed our points of view and the conversation served to remind me that everyone has something to say about public school education, and we’d darn well better make sure they have good information from which to form opinions, because the public is going to form opinions based on whatever information they’ve got.
Go ahead. Find out what America thinks of public education and NCLB.