Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Six Ways to Become Part of Our Families' Stories

Flipping the talk for this post.  I often post on the school story and the narrative that unfolds on a daily basis when kiddos walk through the door.  An important part of the connection is becoming part of others' stories.  Where do we stand when it comes where school as our students' and families' stories unfold?  So much time and energy is spent by all in the work that we do, we want to be a positive highlight in that story and in turn when our students and families share those stories, our schools have the opportunity to shine!
  1. Create compelling content or a great product or service that people enjoy using or coming back for - the experience we create and design for our families has a tremendous impact on how we are included in their story.  The programs and events to which they participate and are invited, the classroom and campus communications as well as social media engagement opportunities.  The more we strive to engage our families the more we will become a part of the story they tell and share with others!
  2. Change how people feel in the moment. - one of the most important moments of the day is the drop off line and the classroom door.  That initial experience is so critical in how the day begins which is why Boys Town and other models place emphasis upon it.  If we are helping students and families begin their story in a positive way we are making an impact!  This year, we have begun playing music in the car line on PROUD Crowd assembly days as well as some others and have received great feedback on that experience for both kids and parents and how that has gotten them off on the right foot in the morning!  We cannot limit ourselves to that timeframe though.  Our efforts here are in parent conference experiences, hallway interactions, front office greetings, etc.  I'll bring up social media again in that it opens up another avenue to expose our families to what is happening on campus when they aren't necessarily able to be physically present!  When we post C&I and celebration content, the intent is to help them feel connected to what is happening!  What an opportunity!!
  3. Solve a problem (maybe one that people didn't even know they had) - we tackle problems every day because, in many respects, we are in the problem-solving business in regards to learning and behavior difficulties!   For us as educators (versus business world to whom this list was originally designed) this may be better worded as, prepare for opportunities (maybe one that people didn't even know they had).  In the Information Age in which we live and the rate as technology increases, improves, develops, we are preparing students for an unknown in many ways  so the question we should be asking ourselves maybe: is the experience we provide, developing students so they are prepared for the opportunities of the future?
  4. Give people a story to tell themselves.- back to creating experiences!  I was talking to a parent just yesterday.  She was dissatisfied with the nature and quality of communication she is receiving from her kiddos teacher.  She wanted my help in "getting through" the rest of the year.  The story our people are telling is always unfolding, just as ours is!  What this conversation told me was that this story was taking a turn for the worse and we needed to work on it together!  What killed me is this kiddo is a 4th grade, so it's the final chapter in this part of life.  We want to provide an overall experience that allows people to in us in their story has highlight!
  5. Notice what people already do and find ways that you can either change or become part of those rituals - what traditions and practices are meaningful to your community?  That question has driven a number of current school functions and activities that bring the entire community together at Eagle Ridge!  Tailgate parties, tradition tree, Veteran's Day celebrations have come from asking what our people connect and respond to!
  6. Make it easy for people to come back- Do you have lots familiar faces checking in on a daily basis? Are kids smiling and excited as they come in the door (may be more elementary question here)  These are two qualitative measures I've thought about in regards to the "coming back" thought.  We do, but our work is not done!
Happy telling!


Jiwa, Bernadette (2014-09-30). Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers (p. 22). The Story of Telling Press. Kindle Edition. 

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