The demand for effective communication and marketing at the campus level has never been more urgent and yet most administrators come into the role with little public relations expertise or background. Schools must navigate incredibly complex societal issues while they compete for students, engage families, and inspire staff and community members to give their best efforts and support.
The Communicating Principal: Practical Strategies for School Leaders provides real-world stories, best-practice guidelines, and practical communication checklists designed to help school leaders better understand their community and bring them in to co-create a vision for positive transformation. From social media and websites to crisis and internal messaging, this book shares systems and supports that make communicating easier and more effective. Every topic is covered from the lens of a principal—what you need, how it can be done quickly and inexpensively, and how to measure success so that it can be shared and replicated. Not every school or district can afford a communication professional; The Communicating Principal is the next best thing.
With more than 20 years’ experience in communications, marketing, and public relations, the California School Public Relations Association executive director Trinette Marquis is passionate about working with public schools and improving school community relationships. Her work has been recognized by the National School Public Relations Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the Medical Marketing Association, and the International Association of Business Communicators.
Natalie A. Nash began her career in communications in news reporting as news assistant at the Chicago Bureau of The New York Times. She believes that the new imperative for today’s communications professional is to help create school environments that provide a positive framework for critical conversations, particularly around race, culture, and equity. She currently serves as co-chair of the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) Equity Task Force where she works with school PR professionals to promote, empower, and create equitable practices relevant to the role of the school communications professional.
Chapter 1. The Case for Effective Communication: The Communication Principle
Section I. Research
Chapter 2. Research as a Foundation
Chapter 3. Qualitative Research
Section II. Planning
Chapter 4. Understanding Your Audiences
Chapter 5. Planning Your Work
Chapter 6. Messaging
Section III. Implementation
Chapter 7. Communication Channels
Chapter 8. Social Media
Chapter 9. Supportive Systems
Chapter 10. Crisis Communication
Chapter 11. Working with the Media
Chapter 12. Internal Communication
Chapter 13. Culture Building
Chapter 14. Customer Service
Section IV. Evaluating
Chapter 15. Measuring Your Work
Chapter 16. Data Collection
Chapter 17. Analytics
Section V. In Closing
Chapter 18. Leading
About the Authors
One of the more difficult tasks today is effectively addressing race in our institutions. Having conversations about race is a dynamic and challenging task for many people of all backgrounds. Conversations are frequently misunderstood and often avoided because of fear of it going wrong. Unfortunately, still today, race puts meaningful context around major decisions and some of those take place within the world of education. Major decisions such as closing schools, hiring leaders, managing parental relationships, and discipline for kids are just a few examples. Being able to talk about complicated issues in a non-defensive, meaningful, and productive way is crucial for the education and futures of our children. The CARE frameworks shared in The Communicating Principal provides powerful context for people to understand how to involve themselves in those conversations in a productive way. When that happens, everyone wins!
The Communicating Principal is engaging, informative, and enlightening for all principals and site administrators. In a day and age when principals are thrown into multifaceted roles of instructional leader, operations manager, and human resource agent, being an effective communications officer is key to seamlessly binding all of these roles together. It is imperative that we have resources that give concrete and clear direction when faced with challenges. Trinette Marquis and Natalie A. Nash eloquently and succinctly give site administrators direct pathways to successfully communicating with our communities through research, planning, implementation, and evaluation. I wish I had this resource years ago!
This is the communications playbook that every educator needs. In The Communicating Principal, the authors skillfully combine the four-step process used by public relations professionals with real-world examples pulled from today’s educational landscape. The result is everything you need to take your communication skills, your team, and your institution to the next level. Whether you’re new to the role of school communications or a seasoned pro, I am certain this book will quickly become your go-to resource.
In my experience, the success of your site or district leadership will largely depend on your capacity for communication. Understanding how this key tenet can, in the blink of an eye, decide the success of a project, program, and even the future of your career is critically important! The Communicating Principal identifies the four critical components of successful communication in a format that is clear and effective. I particularly want to congratulate the authors for acknowledging the need for honest evaluation of your communications. So often forgotten, this after-action assessment is the hallmark of an effective communicator!
“Master Communicator” has always been a prerequisite for the school principal. However, today’s school principals were raised in an era of newspaper articles and flyers put in backpacks. Trinette Marquis and Natalie A. Nash have created the essential guide for the “modern” school leader with this book. From our welcome back letter each August to all of the graduation news, this book creates an understanding of how to build your brand, identifies the best ways to communicate with your community, and essentially designs the communication necessary to build the school-community partnership vital to the success of the school. The Communicating Principal: Practical Strategies for School Leaders also addresses how your message is reflected at the school site through customer service and how to successfully communicate with your staff and students. The days of the flyer stuffed in the backpack are long gone…here’s the guide you need to navigate communication in the age of social media!
The school-home connection is a critical piece of student success; this connection can be fostered and strengthened through effective communication. This book provides important information for educational leaders who may not have the background in best practices necessary to foster these connections. The authors provide practical, easy-to-implement principles that will help any building- or district-level leader create an impactful communications program.