Points of Pride

by Mary Ellen Marnholtz, Community Relations Coordinator, Wausau School District

What sets your school apart from others across Wisconsin? What successes, big and small, do your students and your staff experience throughout the school year? Are there programs that have been developed by your staff, site council, PTO that make your school a special place to work and learn? The answer to these questions undoubtedly is a resounding “YES!” So, what do you do with this information?

If you’re like most busy principals, you tell someone great job and maybe put a small blurb in your regular school newsletter and move on?after all, it’s just one more thing happening in an already action-packed day. But what would happen if you started to use these positive nuggets in some new and different ways to market your school? The answer is you would begin to build an image of your school that all stakeholders can share. So what can you do with this information other than collect it in a large file or weave it into your annual school profile?

Use the information that you gather to begin a broader building level discussion about all the positive things happening at your school. If you don’t already, take a little time at staff meetings to brainstorm Points of Pride for your building.

It may be an award that one of your students has earned, a teache who has completed an advanced degree, someone on staff who has taken a leadership role in an event or activity in the community, a particular success that has happened for one of your families, a great classroom project or idea that should be shared and celebrated. Whatever the idea, place it on chart paper and keep it visible throughout your staff meetings. Ask staff to make notes on items that take place between meetings that should be added to your list. You’ll be surprised at how those Points of Pride add up througout the school year.

  • Once you begin to accumulate these ideas you can, of course, feature them in  your newsletter, but also use them in other notes or publications that you send home.
  • Place them on your school marquee board. Add a couple to your school lunch menu.
  • Put them in a tip sheet about your school and share it with site council and PTO members at regular meetings.
  • Some of these Points of Pride can be opportunities to create media releases. Get those ideas to your district office and ask them to share them with your local media.
  • Points of Pride also make great additions to your annual report to the community. Keeping an onging list as a staff (or the exercise can take place even at the classroom level) makes summing up successes of your school year that much easier.
  • You may even want to bundle all these ideas and have your students produce a small booklet filled with Points of Pride. These make great give-aways to new families, classes of students that transition into your school, business partners, or even your neighbors.
  • Start out each assembly with new Points of Pride. Find ways to include whole classes of students when they’ve created something interesting or participated in a special program or completed a community service project. Let everyone know that doing the exceptional is highly prized by your entire communty.
  • Many schools have a program for honoring great behavior, leadership, or compassion when they see it. Include those students who are caught being great citizens as part of yourPoints of Pride.

The old adage, “You’ve got to praise what you want to raise,” is really quite true. If you want people in your school, both students and staff, to shine, you need to make sure it becomes your school’s expectation. Developing Points of Pride for your school is just one way that you can celebrate all good news that goes on day in and day out.

Telling your local community about all those great things happening in your classrooms with your students and staff is an important way to create understanding about our people and programs and build support for your schools for your district. Discover your school’s Points of Pride this year and see how it strengthens the pride in your school community.

 

About the author

The Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA) is a professional association representing schools, school districts, educational associations, consulting agencies and organizations. WSPRA is a state affiliate of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). 4797 HAYES ROAD | SUITE 103 | MADISON, WI 53704 | PHONE: 608-241-0300 | WSPRA@AWSA.ORG