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    Public relations is a crucial component leading to success for 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 the needs and state of public education.

    Please feel free to use any PowerPoint presentations that are included.

     
     

    2020

    Bits 'n Pieces Summer 

    Communicating in Uncertain Times

    These are unpredictable times for parents, students, and educators. It is particularly challenging for educators to communicate accurately when Covid19 adaptations are continually evolving. Therefore, your communications need also to be based on the fundamental priorities of public education and your schools, regardless of the setting and/or time frame within which those priorities will be achieved. The following are some tips for communication success in conjunction with unprecedented adaptations...

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    2020

    Bits 'n Pieces Spring


    Time

    All About Time
    About Time with Parents
    Compare and Contrast
    Red Flags


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    2020

    Bits 'n Pieces Spring


    Covid-19 Communications

    People are stunned (that could never happen here!) and confused (multiple mixed messages) by the pandemic the world is experiencing. Covid-19 presents a new way of teaching for most educators and an evolving way of learning for students. It is crucial that School District leaders develop and disseminate a communication plan outlining expectations for principals, teachers, students, and parents.



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    2019

    Bits 'n Pieces Winter

    Teacher Shortages

    Your success as a school leader depends on the instruction and outcomes that take place within classrooms. That means that one of your key jobs is creating a climate and engaging a system that will identify, attract, and retain the very best teachers. Unfortunately, that job is made more difficult by the teacher and substitute teacher shortage that exists and is growing.


     
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    2019

    Bits 'n Pieces Summer

    Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

    The 2005 law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country. The law addresses not only achievement, equity, graduation rates, etc. but also includes requirements to prevent abuse of students.

    Assault and Harassment in Schools (America’s Promise Alliance, April 26, 2018, Three Ways Schools Can Help Prevent Sexual Assault)

    Ramping up…or down? (Includes information from Laura Lindberg, Principal Research Scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, Trends in adolescent sexual behavior, health, and education, as printed in Phi Delta Kappan, October 2018)


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    2019


    Power Boosters

    Connection: “The act of connecting: the state of being connected…” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. That sounds simple enough but feelings of loneliness often caused by a lack of physical or emotional connectedness are increasing almost daily among Americans. Brené Brown, Ph.D., and author of five best-selling books defines connection more expansively, “as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” 


     

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    2019

    Communicate Kindness

    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.


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    2019

    Bits 'n Pieces Winter

    Did You Know?

    • Superintendent Tenure and Compensation
    • Anxiety at a Glance
    • Media Matters

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    2018



    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 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.


     

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    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."


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    2018

    New Beginnings

    Autumn marks the end of a carefree summer and the beginning of another academic year filled with potential and challenges. 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.


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    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 experienced 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.


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    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...


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    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...


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    2018

    How to Conduct Meetings that Matter

    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? 


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    2018

    Talking Points

    Definition of Personalized Learning (Institute of Personalized Learning) 


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    2018

    Talking Points

    Generation What?
    Why should we care? 


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    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 smartphones for teens?


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    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

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    2017

    A Summer Send Out

    In Minnesota, summer is the growing season.


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    2017

    Talking Points

    School Choice- Public Benefit or Private Promotion?

    • Definition
    • Constitutional Foundation for Public Schools
    • Data
    • Important Information
    • Options
    • Perspective

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    2017

    Bits ‘n Pieces Winter

     Do you know about it?

    • The Millennials
    • The Rural Advantage
    • Costs of Childrearing
    • ESSA Extension
    • Pteronophobia 

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    2016

    Talking Points

     Engagement... Does it Matter?

    •  Varied examples of initiatives 

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    2016

    Bits ‘n Pieces Spring

    Did you know?

    •  Well-being and Behavior
    •  Ten Growth Mindset “do’s” and “don’ts”
    •  Health News

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    2016

    Talking Points

     What is Community Engagement?
     Public Relations and Communication Tips.


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    2016

    Bits ‘n Pieces Winter

     Did you know?

    • Education Week’s Quality Counts
    • 2015 NICHE rates Minnesota
    • Compensation
    • Testing
    • Closing the summer learning gap

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    2015

    Bits ‘n Pieces Fall

    Did you know?

    • Civic engagement is linked to important youth outcomes
    • Energy Overload
    • Considering Careers
    • A time for Everything
    • Currency Quiz

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    2015

    Talking Points

    Summercise

    Some of us think of summer as a time to let go of schedules, abandon bedtimes, 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.


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    2015

    Talking Points

    Leading 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

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    2015

    Talking Points

    Education- It's Essential


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    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.

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    2014

    Opinion Leader

    •  MASA Organization Contacts

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    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.

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    2014  
     

    Bits ‘n Pieces Summer

    • Risks of Rewards
    • Beyond the Words
    • Learning from Listeners
    • Top ACTors
    • Managing Criticism
    • Recommended Book

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    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 to 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.

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    2014 

    Bits ‘n Pieces Spring

    • Five Indispensable Communication Tools
    • SignsSchool of Success
    • Charters
    • Post Secondary
    • Red Flags

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    2014 

    Bits ‘n Pieces Winter

    Building Bridges: Questions to periodically ask yourself –Andrew Sobel, Making Rain

    Principles for Principals: (core functions of an 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.


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    2014 

    Learning for Life

    Key Messages:
    Excellence in education begins long before children enter the public school system and continue 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.


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    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.


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    2013 

    Superintendents/Board Relations are 
    Public
     Relations

    Key Messages:

    Administration/board relations are public relations
    that have significant intended and unintended consequences.


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    2013 


    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 apart
    Six Boundary Spanning Practices 

    Data and Demographics

    Bully Bulletin:

    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)


     
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    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 )

    Bully-wise from http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/bullied-children-can-suffer-lasting-psychological-harm-as-adults

    Tech-knowledge

    Stepsin increasing school district cyber learning opportunities. (AASA SchoolAdministrator, April 2013, Competing with Cyber Charters, Jeffrey M. Taylor)


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    2013

    We've come a long way to get where we are today





    Key Messages:

          History attests to the connection between prosperity, independence, and power, and a high-quality and equitable system of public education.

          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.


     

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    2013

    Who do you think you are?

    Who do they think you are?

    The question “Who do you think you are?” has been used 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.


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    2013

    Public and Community Relations

    Competition... It's Here to Stay
    Key Messages: 
    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.


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    2013

    Legislative Landscape

    Legislative landscape. Academic Achievement. Graduation Rates.


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    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.


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    2013

    Minnesota Markers

    Key Message: 
    Minnesota's success is exceeded only by its potential.


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    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. The following are a few tips for parents to help their children have and be friends.


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    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.


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