Column One: Administrators
School administrators are realizing that they can benefit from spending more time--and money--on public-relations activities.
In one of the largest such efforts, the Principals Public Relations Network is working on a national campaign to increase public awareness about the importance of principals. The network, a partnership between the National Association of Secondary School Principals and its state affiliates, is developing a series of public-service announcements that will be distributed this fall to radio stations around the country.
Last spring, network members distributed about 400 copies of radio announcements focusing on summer learning activities for students.
In addition, the network plans to produce television spots, speeches to be delivered to civic organizations, and newspaper opinion articles. Much of the material will be developed nationally by NASSP, then disseminated locally by its affiliates.
The Texas School Public Relations Association, meanwhile, has put together a workbook to help principals assess their communications with the public.
Developed and tested during the 1990-91 school year by the Texas association and Southwest Texas State University, the workbook contains a series of surveys for principals, school staff members, parents, and students. The survey results can show principals areas in which they need to improve their public-relations efforts.
The workbook also emphasizes the need for principals to look at public relations as more than just media coverage. It points out that community perceptions about schools are also influenced by such factors as the secretary's manner of answering the phone, the school's appearance, and the principal's visibility in the community.
Workbooks are available for $35 each from the Texas School Public Relations Association, 406 East 11th, Suite 319, Austin, Tex. 78701; (512) 474-9107.
The Philadelphia Principals' Center opened last month, giving school administrators there a chance to meet their colleagues and share ideas.
Modeled on a similar center at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, the Philadelphia center will have a library, speakers and symposiums, and informal discussion groups.
A $15,000 grant from the Professional Growth Partnership, a trust
fund administered by the school district, helped establish the center,
which is open to principals of public and private schools throughout