Educational Leadership

Chapter 3/Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Effective Communication

Involves the ability to present a vision thataudiences understand and support, request and respond to community feedback, build consensus and mediate conflict.

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To truly lead, administrators need to be more than technically competent in planning, budgeting, curriculum design, scheduling and facility renovation; they must be able to communicate with their constituencies, and they must have somethhing worthwhile and important to say to them.

Chapter 3/Skills in Communication and Community Relations

A leader’s ability to communicate with followers is manifested in the narratives or stories he or she tells. The ability to tell the school story is vital to building support in the community.

Howard Gardner (1995) has deveoped a cognitive approach to studying leadership that focues on the stories leaders tell.; According to Gardner:

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Leaders and audiences traffic in many stories, but the most basice ha{ve} to do with sories of identity…the story needs to make sense to audience members at this particular historical moment, in terms of where hey have been and where they would like to go (p14)

Chapter 3/Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Artuculate the distric or school vision, mission, and priorities to the community and mass media;

* Write and speak effectively
*Demonstrate group leadership skills;
*Formulate strategies for passing referenda:
* Persuade the community to adopt initiativs that benefit students;
*Engage in effective community relations and school-business partnerships;
*Build consensus;
*Create opportunities for staff to develop collaboration and consensus-building skills;
*Integrate youth and family services into the regular school program; and
*Promote ongoing dialogue with representatives of diverse community groups.
Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

The extent to which audiences identify with a leader’s story is the extent to which they will “own” it.

 

School leaders must remember that audiences more easily perceive a vision to be their own when it involves a story with  which they can relate.

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Vision, Mission and Goal Statements

For school leaders, a visstin statement has no significan unless it is translated into authentic learning and shared school governance practices (Wallace, Engel and Mooney 1997).

 

Developing a mission statement is a process in which all or a portion of the vision statemtn is incorporated into tangible things, tasks, and methods – means that can be scheduled and assigned to persons to perform (kauffman, Herman, and Watters 1996).

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Steps to Developing a Mission Statement

1. Construct an ideal vision (often referred to as “practical dreaming”). The vision statement represents a kind of “practical dreaming”, usually about why individuals in the schools contribute to the larger society. Such statements are always utopian in some sense.
2. Derive a mission statement. A mission statement is a general description of what the district or school does and how it carries out its role in society. It should be derived from the “ideal vision”.
3. Develop Goal Statements. Goal statements are more tangible and measurable than the overall mission statemetn. They should be stated in terms of results expected and not means to be employed to obtain them (kauffman et al. 1996)
4. Create educational functions and tasks related to each goal statement. As goal statemetns are translated into the life of the organization they have to be broken into smaller components (i.e, goal indicators and task assignments).
5. Development, operations, evaluation, renewal. All tasks are assigned, new tasks that are not part of the operations of the organization may have to become part of a training program (s). As people settle down to work, evaluation should take place to determine if the resuls desired are being obtained, and necessary adjustments should be made.
Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

The importance of the vision from which all planning is generated is underscored by Minzbert’s (1994) critique of classical strategic planning.

Mintzberg observes that a plan expressed as a vsion is less constraining thatn a formal plan.

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Moreover, vision as a stimulant to action may be easier to come by, since it emerges from the head of a single leader instead of having to be agreed upon collectively…(p 293).

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Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Writing and Speaking Effectively

Verbal Communication

Adjustment: Some level of communicative adjustment must be made for communication to be effective.

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Imminent Reference: All verbal communication takes place in a specific, immediate context, which affects how it is received. (Lincoln/Gettysburg/On Battlefield)

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Determinism: All messages are determined; that is all messages have meaning.

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Recurrence: School district administrators communications has patterns around familiar themes.

Signals and Noise: Coughing may be noise but also a message to school nurse.

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Reinforcement/Packaging: body language should match speech for effective broadband communication

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Effective Speeches

1. select a topic and purpose

2. analying the audience.

3. gathering materials to support your ideas.

4. organizing the body of the speech

5. selecting a beginning and end

6. outline speech

7.determine the use of visual aids (lucas 1986).

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Demonstrating Group Leadership Skills

A school leader’s acceptability to a group is contingetn upon his or her credibility, which has at least two elements. 

 

1. Competence.

2. Trustworthiness.

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Demonstrating Administrative Support

An administrator can demonstarte support by showing solidarity with the group, raising others’ status, helping relieve tension, showing satisfaction, providing suggestions and accepting others/ ideas (Wynn and Guditus 1984)
Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

School Leaders hazards when working in a group

1. time consumption

2. control may feel lost

3. indecisiveness of the group may delay action.

4. and “groupthink” is possible

(Wynn and Guditus 1984).

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Formulating Strategies for Passing Referenda

Every community is ade of many layers of influence and school leaders cannot afford to ignore how olitics operte in the community.;
Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Voter Behavior

1.; Voters who are members of informal groups votle alike. (group phenomena).

2. There is no substitution for personal leadership (don’t depend on mass media/people want face to face contact)

3.The opinion of top influentials can legitimze either a “no” or a “yes” vote (enlist the support of communities most influential).

4.Information substystems have the most influence in moding voter attitudes (groups of people who live in the community)

5.Many voters make up their minds early in referenda campaigns.

6. Voters who feel pulled in different directions will vacillate, withdarw from voting, or decide late in referenda campaigns.

7.Socioeconomic status influences voter preferences.

8. Family ties are significan in voter behavior.

9. Citizens active in community affairs often vote idnependently and in opposition to informal group opinion.

10. The “alienation factor” may have been overemphasized in explaining referenda defeats.

 

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Passing Referenda

The overall lesson to be learned about passing referenda is that developing a postive voter constituency is a full-time, year-round job.
Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Persuading the community to adopt initiatives that benefit students.

Indeed, financing schools has been cited as the number one challenge confronting the superintendency (Glass 1992).

 

1. Analyze the audience: put themselves in their audience members shoes.  what do they want to hear? effective communicators build rapport.

2. Build credibility: Aristotle observed that a speaker’s ethos or credibility is the most powerful source of influence for audiences (Andrews and Baird 1986).

3. Appeal to an audience’s emotions: While evidence is important, persuasion inlovles human emotions. Fact alone will not work.

4. Follow the psychological-progressive pattern: arouse, dissatisfy (demonstrate nature of problem), gratify (connect initiative to solving problem), picture (give examples of how initiative will solve problem), move(use appeals and challenges to move the audience to take action on your proposal by voting or affirming your position in other ways).

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Engaging in Effective Community Relations – School Business Partnerships

Community Relations- The time to think about school-community relations is not when there is a problem.  Good relations are not an accident; they are planned. 

 

Chapter 3 Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Lober (1993) identifies the major steps involved in building positive school-community relations as follows:

1. Identify internal/external target audiences.

2. Idenfity viable channels of communication.

3. Establish a budget.

4. Develop action plans.

5. Develop a communications grid.

6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the communications effort.

Chapter 3/Skills in communicatina dn Comminity Relations

Consensus is a powerful tool.

* Builds trust amond individuals and groups;

*Creates an open, problem-solving climate;

*Locates decision-making and problem -solving responsibilities as close as possible to those engaged in the issues being resolved;

Increases the sense of wonership of goals and objectives among the stakeholders; and

*Moves groups toward more collaborative relasthionships (Wynn and Guditus 1984).

Chapter 3/Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Creating Opportunities for staff to develop collaboration and consensus building skills

1. The key to coflict resolution are the aabilities of those involved to engage in reflective listening to ensure understanding, maintain civility and rapport, separate positions from interess and define the group’s work so that mutual resolution occurs by integrating everyone’s interests (Katza dn Lawyer 1993).
Chapter 3/Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Integrating Youth and Family Services into the Regular School Program.

 

The integration of youth family services was one of t hallmarks of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (Steffy 1993).  Services provided by the education establishment were to be linked with those of juvenile justice and pbulic health to create systems of interagency collaboration.

 

objectives: promote healthy growth and development of children by identifying and addressing barriers to school success;

assist families in developing parenting skills that promote the full development of their children.

ensure families have access to appropriate community resources.

encourage social support linkages and networks to reduce isolation and promote involvement in the community.

Chapter 3/Skills in Communication and Community Relations

Promoting ongiong dialogue with representaties of divers community groups

School leasers must shed any naive notions about “the melting pot” analogy used so often to disguise the submergence and submission of ethnicity and resentment and conflict int eh schools (Solomon and Ogbu 1992).

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