Marketing Our School Better
This article appeared in the November issue of the Sanborn Voice, the student newspaper for SRHS.
One of my personal goals this year as your principal is to do a better job communicating all of the positive things that our school is engaged in to the community. This need for increased communication comes a recommendation that a group of students, staff, and parents made last spring after reviewing the data from the culture survey that most of you took last fall. Undertaking this goal has taught me quite a bit about the latest effective marketing strategies that companies and political organizations use to get their word out. I almost wish I had actually taken some more business courses when I was in college because they would have come in handy for this project.
I have come to realize that as a building principal, communication can either be my best friend or my worst enemy. People need information in order to make decisions or form opinions about the school as it relates to their own lives. When they aren’t adequately informed, they are forced to make decisions on the assumptions they make from the lack of communication from the school. This year, my goal is to be as transparent as possible with the work I am doing to improve our school as well as the work that many of you put in each day that makes our school so special. Since our towns do not have a regular newspaper source that is read daily by community members, I have had to “think outside the box” as to the best way to market our school. Here are some of the ways I have chosen to do this for the upcoming school year:
You may have noticed the new television that was mounted in our cafeteria a few weeks ago. This TV was funded by a $1000 grant from Bob’s Discount Furniture in Nashua. The Modern Media class has assumed responsibility for regularly updating the content that streams from this TV using their YouTube format. Their goal is to use this as a way to communicate daily announcements and video updates of important topics facing our school. You can always view their latest playlists of videos on the Sanborn YouTube channel (a link is available on our school’s homepage). Additionally, as I receive additional donations, I plan to mount as many as ten other televisions in other key locations around the school to stream this same information during the school day and during other school-sponsored events.
As many of you know, we have a “Parents and Friends of Sanborn Regional High School” page on Facebook that was started two years ago. To increase readership and activity on this page, I have started posting a daily “picture of the day” on the newsfeed for this page. The pictures could be of anything going on in the school that day. I am always looking for submissions from staff and students for this project. I would encourage you to join me in this initiative. If you have a picture that you take with your phone that you think is “newsworthy” for Facebook, just email it to me at email@example.com with the caption you would like me to post with the picture.
We have other Facebook pages for specific clubs, courses, or grades. These pages help link our community better. I have been toying with the idea of using Twitter more, but I haven’t officially rolled out a plan just yet. Some of you may have found my test account SanbornRegHS on Twitter, but don’t be dismayed if you don’t see a lot of updates from this account just yet.
For the past three years, I have sent a weekly newsletter of important Sanborn updates to parents and other community members via email. In years past, I had as many as 400 email contacts. I am currently up to almost 1,400 email contacts. This year, I rolled out a new newsletter format using a marketing company called Constant Contact. The Constant Contact format not only looks more professional with links and pictures, but it allows me to track data from individuals who click on some of the various links and documents that I include in the newsletter. This data has helped me learn what type of information our community wants to read about. I am always looking for students and staff to contribute to this newsletter. You can email me potential articles at firstname.lastname@example.org. The online newsletter is emailed out at the beginning of each week. It is also shared on two of our largest Facebook pages. You can sign up to receive these weekly newsletters in your email. A sign-up link is on our school’s homepage.
This year, I continue to update my principal’s blog at www.srhsprincipalsblog.blogspot.com. In addition, I have also started writing regularly for a national high school redesign blog at www.competencyworks.org. These blog formats allow me to share some of my thoughts and opinions on important topics facing Sanborn HS and education in general. Each week, I receive emails and comments on the topics that I write about both from local Sanborn community members as well as folks from around New Hampshire as well as other states around the country. Writing this blog has been an important way for me to be able to share some of the great work that all of you are doing as we have been transforming our school for the twenty first century.
I am always open to suggestions for ways that I can further improve the communication our school makes with all of you. Don’t be shy. If you have a good idea, you know how to reach me. My door is always open for all of you!