Superintendents Share Advice on “Telling Your Story”

In today’s world of media saturation and sensationalism, it’s difficult for school leaders to control their own school’s narrative, which impacts the public image and support of their school and district. If left only to the media, the story tends to be very broad and generalized, or one-sided, and often only the negative and controversial stories get told.

In a recently published resource for school leaders, Telling Your Story,  the authors say sharing the best stories from local schools can attribute to lifting the image of public education in general, but only if every school leader puts some time and energy into changing the conversation through proactive story telling.

Recently, two superintendents teamed up to create this resource for school leaders to support the story-telling effort among their peers. Joe Sanfelippo, superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Wisconsin, and Tony Sinanis, superintendent of schools in New York’s Hastings-on-Hudson community, offer their guidance on providing “opportunities for the community to connect” with the local school. They write, “…through that connection we develop a great deal of social capital with the people in our world.”

“Our charge is to rewrite the narrative in education so everyone understands all the awesome things happening in our schools!”

Using the same strategies common in marketing and public relations, “Telling Your Story,” describes ways that school leaders can; “find your audience, build your brand, and celebrate your kids” to increase public knowledge of the schools’ successes.

Telling good stories is not just about image and drumming up more community support, but it’s also about sharing what’s working with other local schools in order to replicate positive actions that ultimately benefit all students.

“The issue is often not about what is happening in schools — it’s the perception of what’s happening.”

The authors explain that taking control of their own narrative should be a fundamental part of a school leader’s job, because building a positive relationship with the local communities is imperative to a school’s overall success for its students.

Click here to download, Telling Your Story.