Question – The Cognos IBM tool available on the USOE site is great for transparency. It has illustrated that the charter schools are not succeeding at the rate the parents think they are. Unfortunately, as an STS who was trained on the program I can “filter out” the special populations of our schools. When I look at the neighborhood schools compared to the charter schools the neighborhood schools are succeeding at a far better rate than assumed with and without those filters. When schools do not make AYP sometimes it is due to special ed, attendance or high mobility populations. Is there a method in which we can make the message “that involved parents have successful students” more available? Every school I go to I see involved parents with extremely successful students.
When I talk to parents who have sent their children to charter schools they seem to emphasize that these charter schools emphasize arts and science more and have a smaller student to teacher ratio. My frustration is that all the resources are being pulled from the district schools to make these charter schools happen. How did the parents become so disenfranchised that instead of investing in our schools they prefer to create whole new buildings and systems? I applaud the tax hike last year to accommodate all the physical educators but maybe all these parents that moved their students would prefer to invest more in the schools but are not sure how to. How can we involve these parents so that they can help us to create the schools they want instead of going elsewhere?
Lastly, I think the size of our district enables us to do great things that other districts can not. We have great programs in place and great resources. It would be nice to see our students reflect on the great things in our district and their local schools. I know the PTA does a reflections assembly and the US forest service used to do a tree poster contest. Can we as a district do something like this to emphasis how great we are. We have certified dedicated teachers, great new schools being built, technology specialists, PE specialists……let’s have students clelebrate these things.
In closing I know these ideas are not foreign. PTA is suppose to be the conduit for change and dialogue and teacher of the year awards are to celebrate our district strengths but they are not. We need to change our image, our schools are succeeding in many ways, yet the news is full of depressing statistics. Thank you for your time.
Response – You bring up a number of great points that are currently being addressed by me and my staff. We have communicated with principals directly, the importance of ascertaining if students are leaving to go to charter schools. And we encourage them to take steps to shore up their programs to prevent or stop the loss! Our Communications Department continues to work to highlight programs and school successes for the media and our legislators to ensure that information is getting out to the parents who ultimately make these decisions. We continue to work to identify these successes in our schools and could use any tips for programs or individual successes that should be recognized and publicized. Anyone can submit ideas email@example.com.
Lastly, we continue to work on other plausible marketing techniques to raise the profile of Granite District. Look for some of these to be implemented over the next year. While we don’t want to give anything away, they will be noticeable and draw significant attention to the efforts our great educators are making in our classrooms everyday.
Please know however, at the end of the day the very best advocate for our schools are the people who work and volunteer in them – we have thousands of “marketing agents” who have personal access to their neighbors. Just think of the power if all of our employees and volunteers committed to share just one great thing they see happening with three people each day who don’t work or volunteer at their school!
Thanks for all you do – including eating “neatly” at your desk!