Good community relations and high quality learning
are hallmarks of school success. But with the increased
competition from charter schools and private schools,
public schools can no longer rely on their “good standing”
in the community to draw students and maintain
When public relations became a major component of
my school’s agenda, we realized that we all needed to work
together to promote our school in the community. Here
are some suggestions for an effective school-based public
relations campaign that will keep your school in a positive
light and build and maintain community support:
Work as a team. A school public relations campaign must
be school-wide and involve the principal, teachers, support
staff, and parents.
- Encourage everyone to share “brags” about your school
and publicize them in the school and local media.
Ask your staff members to make connections in the
Get stakeholder buy-in. Bring everyone on board to
support your school.
Parents–Solicit their suggestions for strengthening
- Businesspeople–Involve them in your school as speakers
and activity sponsors.
- Senior Citizens–Forge and maintain connections through
service projects, by holding performances at the senior
centers, and by asking them how your staff and students
can help them.
Develop a slogan. Let everyone know what your school
stands for. My school’s slogan is Expect Great Things.
Establish points of pride. Develop a list of five or more
overarching themes that express pride for your school.
Include specific examples for each. The six Points of Pride
for my school, along with specific examples, are:
- A commitment to high academic achievement. Eighth
grade state standardized test writing scores have been in
the top 10 of all district schools for the past three years.
Programs that address the learning needs of all students.
An innovative credit recovery program is available to
- Commitment to community service. Our school commits
to multiple community service projects every year,
including soup kitchens, food drives, and a charity
- Community partnerships. We work with the local
municipality on land preservation.
- A commitment to innovation and continuous improvements.
Our school places a strong emphasis on continued
training for its professional staff, with nearly 90% of
teachers attending specialized training each summer.
- A focus on efficiency. An energy efficiency initiative has
helped the district reduce utility costs by over $1 million
Use your resources. Take advantage of every opportunity
to get the story out about your school.
- Utilize programming on your local television channel to
promote your school.
- Provide opportunities for successful alumni to discuss
their career paths and the role of the school along that
- In your communication to parents—be it through mass
e-mails, in newsletters, or on your school marquees—
feature a point of pride about your school as a continuing
reminder of its many benefits.
Gone are the days when the school’s reputation as a
“good citizen” was enough to maintain student populations
and community financial support. Today, we must accept PR
as a prime force in our effort to attract students and justify
Previously published in Middle Ground magazine, October 2012