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Community Engagement is not a luxury for a district. In today's competetive, high-stakes environment, it's key to your success as a school district leader.
Here are some tools that can help you incorporate Community Engagement into your already packed schedule. We welcome your suggestions as well! Submit Community Engagement ideas or resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips from MASA members and others
- Community Engagement on a Shoestring Budget - PDF
- Share a low-cost engagement strategy that worked for your district! Click here
Communication e-Kit for Superintendents
(free from the National School Public Relations Association-NSPRA)
- Why Public Schools?
A tool to help shape district success stories and advocacy messaging
- Presentation outline (MASA & MASB conferences 2013) PDF
Cobalt Community Research
This Michigan-based data‐driven, nonprofit coalition (and MASA Public Service Partner) offers a community engagement tool that collects and analyzes community perceptions and priorities to help school leaders balance budgets and be more efficient in the face of a challenging economy.
Since its inception in 1975, Public Agenda has been working around the country to create the conditions for greater community engagement with public life and a more citizen-centered approach to politics. Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE) researches, develops and disseminates new insights and practices that help improve the quality of American public life by building the field of public engagement and citizen-centered politics.
The organization’s “Dialogue to Change” approach is built on the assumption that no single organization or person can create an effective program without help. To ensure diverse, large-scale participation, the program organizing must be driven by a group of community leaders and organizations who mirror the diversity of the whole community.
Public Engagement: A Primer from Public Agenda
This 12-page document from Public Agenda provides a brief summary of the essential elements of their evolving approach to community engagement work. (PDF)
Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice
This essay by Martín Carcasson, Ph.D., from the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University, provides a conceptual framework to help practitioners systematically consider both their short-term and long-term engagement goals and the strategies that will set us up for success. (PDF)
Diversity Communications Toolkit by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) offers school leaders an array of solutions to help plan and implement new and different communication strategies to reach increasingly diverse communities. Available in print or as an electronic download (free for NSPRA members). Order now
What’s Trust Got to Do With It?: A Communications and Engagement Guide for School Leaders Tackling the Problem of Persistently Failing Schools
In this Public Agenda publication, authors Jean Johnson, Jon Rochkind, Michael Remaley and Jeremiah Hess aims to help leaders understand and anticipate negative community reactions to bold school turnaround proposals through a well-thought-out community engagement process. (link to PDF)
Things I Now Know
(Excerpts on Community Engagement from a 2010 article entitled, Things I Now Know, by William J. Banach, APR, Ph.D.) (WORD)
Recognizing Strategic PR – The Type Leading Superintendents Practice
This two-part article by Nora Carr, Chief of Staff of the Guilford County Schools and 2012-13 President-elect for the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), outlines key community engagement strategies for superintendents, plus offers checklists of recommended activities for both strategic and tactical public relations. (PDF)
Before You Go to the Polls, Go to Your Community
Success on your school district’s next referendum can be found in an obvious, but sometimes overlooked, place — your community. Kelly Avants, APR, director of communications for Clovis (Calif.) Unified School District and NSPRA Southwest Regional Vice President offers superintendents a guide to holding a community conversation that needs to start long before it’s time to place a referendum on the ballot. (PDF)
Using Social Media
This online resource from the American Association of School Administrators introduces you to blog and resource tools you can use to leverage social media to promote your district.
Promising Practices in Online Engagement
This article published by Public Agenda take a closer look at a range of online engagement practices, and how new communication tools are changing the patterns of opinion shaping, dialogue and decision making on every level The authors highlight multiple approaches that try to bridge partisan divides and seek to bring together individuals from all over the political spectrum in meaningful dialogue and deliberation. (PDF)
Schools Can’t Do It Alone
By Jamie Volmer
Jamie compiles 20 years of research to cheer on educators and their allies by highlighting The Ever Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools. Now available in both book and video form.
Why Public Education?
www.gomasa.org/sites/default/files/Why Public Schools.pdf
A set of principles and starters drawn from MASA’s Lead Forward project that can help you tell your district’s story and guide your grassroots advocacy messaging.
A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools
by Soo Hong, Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2011 (link to review)
Soo Hong describes a parent engagement model called The Parent Mentor program, in which parents are paid $600 per year after completing 100 hours of training. They can read to children in small groups, work with individual students and support classroom activities.