Public relations is a crucial component leading to the success school leaders and their school communities. INVESTMN formerly Champions for Children) is a communication partnership intended to teach Minnesotans about the accomplishments, risks and challenges of public education.
Let's invest in Minnesota together: Implementing a New Vision to Educate Students for Tomorrow in Minnesota.
These materials are developed for MASA by Shari Prest, Ark Associates. Copy and distribute the articles in your educational communities as you see fit. Please use your influence to educate our communities about needs and state of public education.
Please feel free to use any PowerPoint presentations that are included.
Searching for a specific topic? Simply use a key word in the "Search this Site" box above! YEAR TOPIC DESCRIPTION Source 2019
These are dynamic and often divisive times. Our lives and the lives of our children are pelted daily with conflicting opinions, alternative facts, stories of violence, personal shaming and hateful words. This is the environment in which our children’s characters form and behaviors become entrenched.
Bits 'n Pieces Winter
Did You Know?
- Superintendent Tenure and Compensation
- Anxiety at a Glance
- Media Matters
Kick Start Communications for 2019
This is the beginning of a new year and the time for superintendents in school districts – large or small – to develop a comprehensive communication plan for themselves. In some districts the superintendent is the communication department. Other school districts have a communication staff. Regardless of those variables, you are the voice of the educational community and you will be most successful if you are visible and approachable.
2018 Immigration and Education
“Immigration has long supported the growth and dynamism of the U.S. economy. Immigrants and refugees are entrepreneurs, job creators, taxpayers, and consumers. They add trillions of dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, and their economic importance will only increase in the coming decades as America’s largest generation—the baby boomers—retires en masse, spurring labor demand and placing an unprecedented burden on the social safety net."
Click Here 2018 New Beginnings Autumn marks the end of a carefree summer and the beginning of another academic year filled with potential and challenge. In the midst of this changeover season it is crucial to recall the successes and disappointments—maybe even lost aspirations—of the past year. Now it is time to initiate pathways to greater success and fewer disappointments for the coming year. Click Here 2018 Bits 'n Pieces Summer
Did you know?
• Minnesota was ranked as the second smartest state by CNBC.
• Safety Smarts:
According to the StarTribune poll conducted from April 15 through 18, 2018, of Minnesotans…
• Midsummer Message from schools to home: Students who have experience summer learning loss over the years are an average of two years behind their peers by the end of sixth grade. Two to three hours per week of maintenance learning is required during summer vacation to prevent any learning loss.
Click Here 2018 Spring-
Schools Remain the Safest Places for Kids
Parents watch their loved ones head off to school as the tragedies of the past invade their minds and confidence in the safety of our schools is questioned... Click Here 2018 Spring-
Safety Begins at Home
We read or hear about violence regularly so it is natural to assume that there is more violence today than in the past. In fact, despite some painful and tragic events, the opposite is true. It is impossible to maintain a free society and also eliminate all opportunities for violence. But we can influence the likelihood that violent acts will occur through the culture in our homes, communities, and schools. The following is a tip sheet on how we can all reduce violence in our society... Click Here 2018 How to Conduct Meetings that
How many meetings have you attended begrudgingly, reviewing your text messages while information was being presented? Worse yet, how many meetings have you led while others were similarly disengaged? Click Here 2018 Talking Points Definition of Personalized Learning (Institute of Personalized Learning) Click Here 2018 Talking Points Generation What?
Why should we care?
Click Here 2018 Bits 'n Pieces Winter
Did you know?
Minnesota ranked first among the 50 states in...
Minnesota is ranked second among the 50 states in...
Minnesota is ranked third among the 50 states in...
How smart are smart phones for teens?
Click Here 2017 Bits 'n Pieces Summer Do you know?
- Mental Health Red Flags (for staff and students)
- Gen What?!
- Minnesota Public Schools include the following according to the Minnesota Department of Education Analytics
- Teacher Supply
- Values and Variables
- Information to share with parents
Click Here 2017 A Summer Send Out In Minnesota, summer is the growing season Click Here 2017 Talking Points School Choice- Public Benefit or Private Promotion?
- Constitutional Foundation for Public Schools
- Important Information
Click Here 2017 Bits‘n Pieces Winter
Do you know about?
- The Millennials
- The Rural Advantage
- Costs of Childrearing
- ESSA Extension
Click Here 2016 Talking Points Engagement... Does it Matter?
- Varied examples of initiatives
Click Here 2016 Bits‘n Pieces Spring Did you know?
- Well-being and Behavior
- Ten Growth Mindset “do’s” and “don’ts”
- Health News
Click Here 2016 Talking Points What is Community Engagement?
Public Relations and Communication Tips
Click Here 2016 Bits‘n Pieces WinterDid you know?
- Education Week’s Quality Counts
- 2015 NICHE rates Minnesota
- Closing the summer learning gap
Click Here 2015 Bits‘n Pieces FallDid you know?
- Civic engagement is linked to important youth outcomes
- Energy Overload
- Considering Careers
- A time for Everything
- Currency Quiz
Click Here 2015 Talking PointsSummercise
Some of us think of summer as a time to let go of schedules, abandon bed times, sleep in, or camp out. Older students may use it as a time to get a job and earn a little extra money for added independence in the months ahead. Still others see it as a time to watch TV, play video games, follow celebrities on twitter and nap. However it is spent, summer has long been considered a part of our Minnesota culture—almost an annual rite of passage.
Click Here 2015 Talking PointsLeading for Learning
- Key Finding: Summer Learning Loss, Which Is Disproportionate and Cumulative, Contributes Substantially to the Achievement Gap. – Wallace Foundation Rand Report, Making Summer Count, 2011
- Sample Community Conversation Starters
Click Here 2015 Talking Points Education- It's Essential Click Here 2014 Talking Points Wise investors reap the best returns
- Economic benefits of high quality public schools.
- Early evidence The "achievement gap" is not a metaphor.
- Failure is expensive. The High Cost of High School Dropouts.
- Onward and Upward.
Click Here 2014 Opinion Leader
- MASA Organization Contacts
Click Here 2014 Talking Points
- Identify people and organizations that influence the opinions of others in your school district.
- Inform a network of key communicators made up of the identified opinion leaders in your school district.
- Listen to the ideas and opinions of all constituents when possible and be deliberate about gathering the thoughts of opinion leaders. By virtue of being opinion leaders, they likely represent the thoughts of at least one sector of your community, as well.
Click Here 2014
Bits‘n Pieces Summer
- Risks of Rewards
- Beyond the Words
- Learning from Listeners
- Top ACTors
- Managing Criticism
- Recommended Book
Click Here 2014 Talking Points
- Behavior development begins at home
- Student behavior is a school issue
- Bullying is a community problem
As your district and schoolSafe and Supportive Schools Policies develop communicate the information throughout the community in posters, newsletters, blogs, conferences, tweets, homerooms, Facebook sites, newspaper articles, cable shows, you-tube, other effective means available to you.
Click Here 2014 Bits‘n Pieces Spring
- Five Indispensable Communication Tools
- SignsSchool of Success
- Post Secondary
- Red Flags
Click Here 2014 Bits‘n Pieces Winter
Building Bridges: Questions to periodically ask yourself –Andrew Sobel, Making Rain
Principles for Principals: (core functions of instruction-focused, collaborative conception of school leadership taken from the Wallace Foundation research as written in Five Lessons in Leadership Training – The Making of the Principal)
Students Say: (Student responses to the 2013 student survey)
Post secondary plans, safety at school, relationships, economic hardship, adverse childhood experiences
Changing Workforce: Minnesota may have “regained” the number of jobs it lost during the Great Recession. But the workforce now has fewer blue-collar construction and manufacturing jobs — and more health care jobs.
Click Here 2014 Learning for Life
Excellence in education begins long before children enter the public school system and continues through their participation in the workforce.
Public education is foundational to Minnesota’s success as a place to live, work, have a family, and own a business.
Click Here 2014 School Readiness for All Parents and other significant adults in a child’s life can play an important role in preparing a child for pre-K learning by engaging with the child in simple activities in each of the following key areas. Click Here 2013Superintendents/Board Relations are
Administration/board relations are public relations
that have significant intended and unintended consequences.
Bits‘n Pieces Summer
Graduation Forward (taken from Education Week: Nation’s Graduation Rate Nears a Milestone, May 31, 2013 Christopher B. Swanson and Sterling C. Loyd)
Administrator/Board relationships: The following are ways to improve the working relationships and increase mutual support between school boards and district/school administration.Leadership (adapted from Flat World, Hard Boundaries: How to Lead Across Them, Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason, MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2011)
Five boundaries that keep us apartSix Boundary Spanning Practices
Data and Demographics
Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine conducted a study on the long term effects of bullying. The study is based on 20 years of data beginning with children in adolescence and following them into adulthood. (Long-term effects of bullying, Phi Delta Kappan, May 2013)
Bits‘n Pieces Spring
Special Education (Notes from a Civic Caucus April 5, 2013 interview with Jody Hauer, principal evaluator for the Office of the Legislative Auditor)
Ethnically Speaking (information taken from Phi Delta Kappan, March 2013, The New Latino Diaspora, Wortham, Clonan-Roy, Link and Martinex including data from PEW Hispanic Center, 2010 and Support Parents to Improve Student Learning, Joanna Cattanach )
Stepsin increasing school district cyber learning opportunities. (AASA SchoolAdministrator, April 2013, Competing with Cyber Charters, Jeffrey M. Taylor)
Click Here 2013We've come a long way to get where
we are today
· History attests to the connection between prosperity,independence, and power, and a high-quality and equitable system of public
· The foundational principles of public education are worth protecting and promoting, even as private and sectarian competition for public dollars increases.
· Public education has continually evolved to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.
Click Here 2013
Who do you think you are?
Who do they think you are?
The question “Who do you think you are?” has been used at many times in many situations—often in a condescending or challenging way. But confronting the question can be very useful to leaders seeking professional alignment among their vision, goals, and behaviors and within their school community.
Click Here 2013 Public and Community Relations Competition... It's Here to Stay
Public schools must now compete for the profound privilege of educating Minnesota’s children for the future. Today’s educational leaders need to also be public relations leaders for their schools to successfully compete.
Click Here 2013 Legislative Landscape Legislative landscape. Academic Achievement. Graduation Rates. Click Here 2013 Spring into Action and Stop the Leaks Key Message:
There is a leak in the system — summer learning loss. Creative repairs can reduce loss and increase student and school success.
Click Here 2013 Minnesota Markers Key Message:
Minnesota's success is exceeded only by its potential.
Click Here 2013 Leadership and Kid Connections Most parents want their children to make and be friends. They want them to be socially confident and competent. For some children that is easier than for others. But parents can help and kids can often help themselves. Following are a few tips for parents to help their children have and be friends. Click Here 2013 Leadership, Marketing, Kid Connections
Leadership,Marketing, The World (some reasons global education and educating our kids globally are important); Kid Connections on Parents of Preschoolers, Parents of Tweens, and Cliques in Schools.
Click Here 2012 ABC's of Preventing Bullying Actions. Behaviors. Character. Click Here 2012 Advocate for Your School Key Message:
The window of opportunity to effectively advocate for your schools is open now. Look for the open windows and capitalize on the opportunities they present. Make this the year that you will meet with more parents, present to more groups, explore new technologies for communications, write more articles and letters, partner more with community groups, establish closer relationships with legislators, work more closely with businesses, learn more about your students, and become more accessible to all stakeholders.
Click Here 2012 Begin at the Beginning Key Message:
A person’s capacity to become a happy, healthy, contributing adult begins to take shape at the beginning of that person’s life. It is our collective responsibility as a society to provide the environment and opportunities within which that development is most likely to take place.
Click Here 2012 Bullying What is bullying beyond hurtful behavior that we may have all engaged in or been victims of at some times in our lives? The Minnesota Bullying Prevention Initiative is a partnership of the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and Hazelden and OLWEUS™.
Click Here 2012 State and Common Core Standards State and Common Core Standards, Sparks, Options and Opportunities, Principles for Principals, Price of Government, Betting on Business, Some Things to Think About. Click Here 2012 Schools Aren't What They Used to Be Schools have changed and will continue to change to meet evolving needs of learners and the expanded expectations of the workplace. Educators have needed to be even more innovative, insightful and creative than in the past. School leaders are challenged daily to engage children as learners very early in their educational careers and to keep them engaged into post-secondary education. Here are some examples of innovative schools reaching out to learners of all ages. Click Here 2012 Compare and Contrast Bragging Rights Grading Schools, Compare and Contrast (worldwide), Education and Globalization, Likelihood of Employment, Values and Variables, On the Brain, and Reaching Out.
Click Here 2012 Economics of Education Key Message:
Quality schools are the best investment we can make for the future. Often, especially in uncertain economic times, we think of our schools more in terms of how much public education costs rather than how much it contributes to our prosperity. In fact, our public investment in schools significantly influences our future economic success.
Click Here 2012 Education Systems Family systems that support school success. School systems that make a difference. Click Here 2012 Learning from Lawyers Ethics in Education. Learning from Lawyers. Sailing toward September and communicating with parents. Click Here 2012 To Tax or Not to Tax Key Message:
Decisions about increasing, decreasing, maintaining or redistributing taxes will likely play a major role in the Minnesota we create for ourselves and our futures.
Click Here 2011 The Wealth Gap and How it Affects Children Key Message:
There is a correlation between academic outcomes and the level of support children receive in their lives. The growing wealth gap in the United States likely contributes to low international academic comparisons.
Click Here 2011 Bragging Rights Minnesota is the 5th healthiest and happiest state according to a recent gallop poll, Gallop--Healthways Well-being Index, 2010. (Business Insider.com) The index includes such factors as life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, etc. Happiness seems to correlate with healthy lifestyles.
Click Here 2011 Bridging the Gaps Key Message:
Summer is an optimal time to partner with parents and communities to increase learning opportunities and reduce the learning loss that occurs over summer months when schools are closed. Using the calendar gap to narrow the achievement gap.
Click Here 2011 Building a Bridge: Help kids cross the gaps Key Message:
Summer is a great time for parents and communities to help kids to continue to learn and narrow the learning gap that often increases when schools are closed.
Click Here 2011 Bullying Hurts People Key Message:
Bullying in any form and by any name damages everyone involved – the aggressors, the victims, and the observers. Every seven minutes, a child is bullied on the school playground. Every month, three million students miss school because they feel unsafe. One in four middle school students reports having been bullied online. An estimated 18 million students in the United States will be bullied this year. We can not afford these statistics.
Click Here 2011 Bullying- Parents Issue Key Message:
Bullying in any form and by any name damages everyone involved – the aggressors, the victims, and the observers. Parents can play an important role in identifying and preventing bullying. It is the job of adults to help kids develop empathy, self esteem and peacemaking skills early in their lives.
Click Here 2011 Did You Know? Early Childhood. Grads and Gaps. Teacher Licensure. Climate Control. Technology. Click Here 2011 Framework for the Future: Those things
that matter most
Schools of the future require a vision and framework that focus on academic success, create adequate and sustainable funding, provide flexibility, and attract and maximize the potential of high quality educators.
Click Here 2011 Funding: Working Together to Work it Out Key Message:
Although these are tough times for schools, our commitment to providing the best possible education to all learners is unwavering.
Click Here 2011 Healthy Start Healthy Start. Investment and Innovation. Taxes. Bullies and Bullied. Click Here 2011 Minnesota Markers Key Message:
Minnesota’s success is exceeded only by its potential.
Minnesota has consistently been ranked at the top or near the top as the most livable, most caring, and healthiest state by Morgan Quitno Press and United Way of America. Minnesota is ranked “outstanding” in safety, education, economic and financial well-being, volunteerism, charity, civic engagement, natural environment and other factors.
Click Here 2011 School Climate Control: Does it Matter? Key Message:
Student achievement and behavior are impacted by school climate. School climate can be influenced and improved.
Click Here 2011 School Climate Control: Does it Matter? ppt PowerPoint presentation to use when addressing any stakeholder groups that have the opportunity to improve school climate. Just addressing the groups will help them to realize that school leaders are concerned about this and will help stakeholders to see that they too have a role in improving school climate.
Click Here 2010 Leadership in Times of Scarcity Minnesota’s school administrators believe they have a responsibility to lead their communities through crisis and toward more effective and efficient schools. Frame the conversation. Provide current quality data. Provide funding facts… Click Here 2010 Challenging the Challenges Despite the difficult financial times our state, our schools and our citizens are facing, we must continue to improve public education to meet the needs of our learners and our futures. Schools need creative and committed partners to make this happen. Click Here 2010 Public Investment Leadership through different lenses. Public engagement. School Leaders' Summer Savvy. Click Here 2010 What Does It Take to Graduate? Minnesota has a set of standards and assessments that were designed to ensure that students who graduate from Minnesota’s public schools have at least minimum competence to achieve success after they graduate. The purpose, consequences, and outcomes of these standards and assessments need to be better defined, understood and communicated. Click Here 2010 Looking Back/Thinking Ahead Key Message:
Finding time for public relations can be challenging when schedules are overloaded and pockets of resistance exist. It is essential to student improvement and support for our schools to change how we relate to people within and outside of our schools in these dynamic times.
Click Here 2010 Continuous Change Key Message:
Minnesota Schools are constantly changing to meet the needs of today’s learners as they prepare for an unknown future. The Minnesota Association of School Administrators, the Association of Secondary School Principals and the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association assist schools and school leaders as they identify and make changes.
Click Here 2010 Cause for Pause Values and Variables. Public Investment. Early Childhood. Charter Schools. Click Here 2010 Funding for our Future The potential of our people, our communities and our state depend heavily on our willingness to invest responsibly in the future. Click Here 2010 The Past, Present, Future and the Challenge During the 1990s, Minnesota consistently spent more money per pupil than the national average. The value of the investment was evident in Minnesota’s schools’ national standing. (i.e. number one in achievement). Over the past 10 years, Minnesota’s ranking for investment in education has fallen to 1.31 percent below the national average. Click Here 2009 Good News Early Childhood Education, After School Programming, Values and Variables, Good News, Public Investment, Cause for Pause, and Red Flags.
Click Here 2009 Early Investments: High-quality early childhood education
and after-school programming
Children are our greatest resource. Parents, communities and schools are responsible for working together to ensure that all children realize their full potential, have the opportunity for fulfilling lives, and become contributing members of society. This awesome responsibility begins before children enter kindergarten and extends after the traditional school day.
Click Here 2009 Testing for Tomorrow Key Message:
Tests that have the capacity to measure individual student progress provide the most useful information for improvement.Testing is just one of several meaningful components of measuring school and student success.
Click Here 2009 Testing for Tomorrow ppt This Power Point should be presented as a slide show. The notes below each slide indicate the number of "clicks" to display the complete text of that slide. As each "click" reveals another line of information that information should be expanded upon to audiences. This presentation is intended to be used in conjunction with the INVESTMN "Testing for Tomorrow" talking points above.
Click Here 2009 At the End of the Day Key Message:
Children are our greatest resource. Parents, communities and schools are responsible for working together to ensure that all children realize their full potential, have the opportunity for fulfilling lives, and become contributing members of society. This awesome responsibility extends beyond the traditional school day.
Click Here 2009 Talking the Walk Key Message:
About public education can be most effectively communicated throughout the state if school leaders are actively sharing those messages within their own communities and are preparing staff and board members to do the same.
Click Here 2009 Keeping the Promise Key Message:
As the African proverb says, "It takes a whole village to raise a child. We are the village and these are our children." Our children are the promise for the future. Minnesota’s Promise is a clear vision for public education: preparing all of our students for success in the global economy in world-class schools and a world-class state. It is the opportunity for all of us to come together to meet the needs of all learners and to help them become all that they can be. Just like it will take all of us together to impact energy consumption, the economy, or the environment, if will take all of us together to improve our schools and our outlook for the future.
Click Here 2009 Minnesota's Promise PowerPoint (slide) presentation to use in presenting the above concepts to your school community. Click Here 2009 Did You Know? Current facts and resources for you to use when talking about the status and needs of education: including Just the facts on good news for Minnesota education, did you know?, parent involvement, community engagement, cause for pause, looking ahead, and red flags.
Click Here 2009 Investment ConnectionKey Message:Greater investment in public services, including education, has consistently been accompanied by greater state prosperity. Click Here 2009 Investment Connection ppt PowerPoint (slide) presentation of the Investment Connection. When using the presentation, use the "Slide Show" option so that the animation is accessible. Click Here 2009 Operation Education Key Message:
Public understanding and engagement is foundational to achieving the best possible educational outcomes.
Minnesota’s public schools are good—very good—but global competition and a struggling economy require that they be even better—great. In order to make that happen, a shared vision for kids and their futures needs to be cultivated and supported beyond the walls of school buildings—in communities, homes, places of worship, businesses and government—everywhere that people are impacted by the outcomes of public education.
Click Here 2008 Champions for Children The school year begins with potential and promise. Anxious and enthusiastic parents send off their treasured children – sometimes for the first time. Students stream through the school doors feeling brave, cautious, self conscious, and hopeful all at once. Teachers prepare for another year of challenges and possibilities while working to establish the right mix of what has worked in the past and what will best ready kids for the future. And you? You are expected to lead them all.
Click Here 2008 Competitive Edge: Reforming the Future Together—today—we are creating the future of Minnesota through our choices, priorities, and commitments. “The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created – created first in mind and will, created next inactivity… The paths are not to be found but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”
Click Here 2008 What Now? Experience from the past, hope for the future, and the need for change have been the driving dynamics of this historic political season. People are participating at higher levels than at any time in recent election cycles. As Champions for Children™, we are challenged to learn from what is happening around us and to apply that knowledge to improve support for public education and the students it serves.
Click Here 2008 Competitive Edge: Looking Ahead According to Minnesota state finance commissioners who have served 18of the past 22 years—under Republican, Democrat, and Independent administrations—we should be concerned about the current status of state support for our schools.
Click Here 2008 Competitive Edge: Working Together As community leaders and school leaders—as Champions for Children™—it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are never forced to look back and acknowledge regretfully, “We had the best public schools in the world.” We must capitalize on the energy, expertise and experience available to lead our schools into a reality that will cause us to say, “We have the best public schools in the world and, thanks to our shared commitment, they are getting even better.” Click Here 2008 Bop to the Top It’s the time of year when you feel the familiar tingle of anticipation and the burst of hope that you did when preparing for your first class of students—when you saw every child as a possibility and every challenge as an opportunity. Now you prepare not only for children, but also for staff members, mandates, expectations, and systems. The potential is greater and the risks more apparent. Public education and educational leaders in Minnesota are at the crossroads of soaring and survival. This is the start of something new.... Click Here 2008 Summer Surge All kids need parents to...
Preschool age children will benefit if parents...
Elementary school-age children learn when parents:
- read to them or listen to them read every day.
- encourage them to select books at the library and talk about the reason for their choices.
- take them on a tour of the town, visiting places of government, education, art, health, and faith.
- allow them to plan and help prepare a meal each week.
- walk with them through a variety of neighborhoods, public places, and natural settings.
- have fun with them acting out or doing interpretative readings of poems or plays.
- show them how to plant and nurture seeds and watch them grow.