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KEYS TO AMPLIFYING YOUR SYSTEM'S STORY Lesley Bruinton, APR • @lesleybruinton

The mission of the Tuscaloosa City Schools is to create and support a culture of high expectations for each and every student to achieve personal, academic and career excellence.

THE BACK STORY

A Trust Deficit with the Community

SPOILER ALERT!

This is not an overnight fix. You get there with intention.

KEY # 1:

Enlisting Trusted Counsel

Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield with Communication Team
Dr. (Susan) Enfield and her communications team saw a way to leverage technology to not only reach more people, but also have people hear each other and feel heard by leadership on issues important to them.

Highline Public Schools Case Study

THE TRUSTED COUNSEL

Advise and Anticipate

As a trusted advisor to Susan, it is my job to tell her what she needs to hear, not what she wants to hear. Integrity has to be my core characteristic, so she knows she can trust me to tell her the good, the bad and the ugly. My job is to proactively scan the horizon and help her avoid public relations pitfalls that could slow or derail our progress toward our goals for students and to capitalize on opportunities to tell our story.

Catherine Carbone Rogers, Highline Public Schools Chief Communications Officer

TCS STORY #1

Find solutions to closing the achievement gap by reducing the "summer slide."

WHAT WE DID

TCS engaged parents to help find a solutions to address the issue.

ASKED AND ANSWERED

PARENTS OVERWHELMINGLY WANTED FULL DAY, AFFORDABLE ENRICHED SUMMER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Tuscaloosa City Schools' Summer Learning Academy

KEY #2

Using The Teacher's Toolbox to Develop Strategic Communication Plans

A strategic communication plan is a start-to-finish plan focused on how you will communicate an initiative. It does not rely on the use of a single communication tool.

Every Great Teacher Has a Toolbox. How Can You Use These Skills to Improve Your Communication?

WHAT DOES GOOD COMMUNICATION LOOK LIKE?

(Believe it or not, there is overlap between the work of teachers and communicators.)

RESEARCH • FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

Surveys. Focus Groups. Data Dives.

PLANNING • LESSON PLANS

Getting Your Plan in Place.

IMPLEMENTATION • INSTRUCTION

This is the fun part of the job--where you see you are making a difference.

EVALUATION • SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT

This is how we measure our work to know that we have done it well!

TCS STORY #2

Find the best and the brightest employees to teach in TCS.

Meet the TCS Educator Ambassadors

Ambassadors were invited to participate based on their professional practice and enthusiasm for the profession as demonstrated through walkthroughs, better practice visits...

and their ability to serve as spokespersons on behalf of teachers in TCS.

They assist at various functions, like job fairs to recruit new teachers.

They've even taken the initiative to host off-clock events to foster collegiality...

and ensure an extra measure of hospitality to our employees, students, and visitors so each one feels they have participated in a truly exceptional experience.

They actively share the TCS story on social media.

These ambassadors are teachers which have demonstrated a strong interest in and commitment to the TCS vision, mission, and core beliefs.

Key #3:

Leveraging Communication Skills to Build Trust Through Transparency

"In the end, the bond package wasn’t that different. The difference was, the community trusted it was a good decision."

Dr. Susan Enfield, Highline Public Schools

You Must Be Willing to Hear

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Be Courageous Enough To Ask Tough Questions And To Receive The Feedback.

"Truth Hurts."

- Lizzo, GRAMMY Award Winning Artist

TCS STORY #3

ALWAYS RSVP.

We accepted all meeting invitations and invited ourselves to tell the TCS story.

COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY

We believe it is critical to maintain a climate of two-way communication and trust with stakeholders.

KEY #4:

Applying Differentiated Communication Tactics

DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING

If differentiation is good for learning, why wouldn't it be good for COMMUNICATION?

You've Got Something to Say? Who Will You Tell? How Will You Do It?
There are many options. Pick the right tool(s) for the job.
TCS STORY # 4

Maximize learning opportunities for students at a career technical facility.

WHAT WE DID

TCS sought endorsements of the opportunities at the facility from key business leaders to show how career technical education translates into college or career experiences post high school.

POWER PARTNERS

RESULTS

More than 100 community partners signed on at a public commitment event to support the 14 academies offered at the facility.

KEY #5:

Fostering a Growth Mindset

TCS STORY #5

Inspire employees to adopt and fulfill the TCS mission

IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER, WHAT CAN WE DO FOR STUDENTS?

Collective Impact

RESULTS

As part of the Mayor's signature initiative, more than $14 million was committed to fund dual enrollment scholarships for the next decade.

A Gift For You!

THANK YOU

Connect with me on Twitter: @lesleybruinton

Credits:

Created with images by Unknown - "Free illustration: Success, Key, Gold, Gold Colored - Free ..." • Unknown - "키 금 황금 열쇠 · Pixabay의 무료 사진" • Maria Ziegler - "door key" • Florian Berger - "untitled image" • Jen Theodore - "Set of four brass vintage skeleton keys on neutral background. Very steampunk look!" • Unknown - "Social Media World Communication · Free vector graphic on ..." • MinuteKEY - "A handful of minimal keys" • Unknown - "Christmas Gift Box Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures"