Charlene Blohm and Dennis Pierce led our first CETL Summit at the 2015 Annual Conference. This is the second post in a four-part series reviewing communications strategies discussed during the Summit. Read the first post here!
Communicating effectively with your superintendent, school board, principals, teachers, and other departments requires deliberate planning, and there is no such thing as over-communication when trying to earn support for your ed tech vision.
During the CETL Summit in Atlanta on March 19, we presented some tips on how to maximize your value as a school district CTO by communicating more effectively with both internal and external stakeholder groups. Here is some of the advice we shared about communicating internally with district stakeholders:
You should plan to communicate across multiple channels, such as email, district newsletters, face-to-face meetings, and so on. For written communications, prepare brief messages with links to access further details. Create a timeline for your communications, assess your effectiveness, and adjust your strategy as necessary.
Whenever possible, communicate in the style your audiences prefer. This might require multiple communications over an extended period of time.
Assign roles to other district leaders (or better yet, ask for volunteers). Provide the information that others in your district need to communicate to their audiences. As Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent of the Arlington Public Schools in Virginia, said at last year’s CTO Forum: “Make your superintendent look good.”
For instance, you could start by saying: “Here are three things we’re going to talk about: (thing 1), (thing 2), (thing 3)…” At the end, you could wrap up by saying: “Let’s review the three things we talked about today…” You might even leave your audience with a preview of your next interaction: “Here’s what we’ll focus on the next time we’ll meet.”
The Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) program is a CoSN-led initiative to certify the skills and qualifications of school district CTOs. There are 135 CETLs from 22 states. To learn more about this designation or to register for the exam, go to http://www.cosn.org/certification.
Charlene Blohm is President and CEO of C. Blohm & Associates, a public relations firm specializing in the education and special needs industries. The former Editor in Chief of eSchool Media, Dennis Pierce is now the owner and Chief Content Officer of Pierce Publishing, a freelance writing and content marketing consulting firm.