I can’t think of an “industry” that needs this more, especially in California, where sky rocketing home prices, combined with the influx of charter schools is creating a steep decline in the public school population.
As a product of public schooling all the way through my M.A. (that’s a masters, not Massachusetts. That wouldn’t even make sense), I hate to see it lose its footing the way it has.
We have great public school, with great public school teachers, but something has to change, and fast.
That’s why I am writing this essay, to help the public schools of California, and may be the rest of the country as well. With Betsy DeVos at the helm, you guys will need all the help you can get, and then some.
Become a company, at least in the marketing and advertising aspect.
Apple. Nike. Mercedes.
What do they have that you don’t? Money. Just kidding.
A marketing department, duh!
There is no need for a whole division of new employees, but there should be 3–5 in every school district, where all they do, 365 days a year, is produce content for your school district. Get you out there in any and every way, all over the internet.
Think about it.
There are no limitations to the amount of content you could create for an entire school district. Hell, if you want to get serious, have a marketing director at each school.
The whole concept of bell to bell is over, or it needs to be over, if you want a shot at saving this system. Go outside the school hours, off the campus, and on to the phones (cell phones, we aren’t starting a call center here).
The longer you wait, the harder it will be to recover.
The goals? Content every single day, in as many ways as possible.
Photos, videos, short-films, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, books, seminars (whew), on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Music.ly, YouTube, Medium, Quora, LinkedIn and anything else that pops up in the next few years.
Do everything. Be everywhere.
1. Stories of students, teachers, workers, parents, former students, a school’s history, etc.
2. Create a TV show. Create multiple TV shows. Life of a high schooler, life of a teacher, etc. Change it up every semester. Like Hard Knocks, but school. (We all know what Hard Knocks is, right? Good).
3. A sports show. Make your own ESPN. Get footage from photo/video students for all of the sporting events and make your own show. Have hosts, tell stories, or just copy FS1 and ESPN!
4. Have subject matter vlogs. There is no reason why a district can’t create their own Khan Academy. Each subject/grade level shares the duty (*snicker) of creating the content. Explanations, videos, charts, etc. Hell, there should be a video post of all of the explanations from class that day online for students to be able to reference anyways. It would be great for the students and hold the teachers more accountable to actually teaching.
1. You are inundated with experts. Use their knowledge to create. Blogs on different subject matter, podcasts for those kids who can’t read (they exist, I’m sorry). Give, give, give content, expertise, information, value.
2. Create a Q&A podcast. Teachers answer students’ questions in a particular subject or lesson, then it is up there for all to see! Helping future students forever!
3. Once you get enough Qs and As, you compile it to create a book. Experts write so they can share their expertise. Could you imagine if a parent received a book (available on Kindle and Audible of course) at the beginning of each year describing what the students would be learning, changes they would be going through both physically and emotionally, and getting you prepared for everything? It would be amazing!!
I know what you teachers are going to say, “But we do stuff like that already! We have meetings, we help kids. Waaah.” That’s great, but your school or school district is losing kids every single year, it’s time to step up your game.
Ugh, I know what the other teachers are going to say too, “but my school has a waiting list! We are doing fine!” Wrong, you are not. You are in the “rich” area of your district and parents think your school is better because of that. They think there are better teachers in the wealthier areas, because the “scores” are higher. That is not the case at all. Your students are nerds. If you were really good, you could go downtown and kick ass there too. Not going to happen? That’s what I thought. Just admit that you are limited, and that you are not the only school in the district. Team effort here people.
Be on everything.
I mean, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (and their stories), Snapchat (especially this), Music.ly, etc.
Take your new-fangled media department, and divide them throughout the district. Take pics of students learning, kids having fun, teachers teaching, snaps, stories, boomerangs (Instagram), etc. Do it all. Go where the people are. Be relatable. Be on their phone, not just bell to bell. Not just the parent letter home each week, the conference once a semester, the discipline call, or the open house night. Be there. Every single day. Let them see you. Let them see that you see them. Everyone is important, everyone is a star in your district. Share, share, share, give, teach, learn, inspire!
Forget the lame parent nights, give seminars on important stuff for kids and parents in general. Have it in a centrally located venue. Invite the community. Invite experts. Share knowledge other than when the cookie drive is. There are so many questions, districts need to own it more. I know they have parent meetings, but really it’s just a check mark.
“See! We did it! Our parents are informed now!”
How many peoples showed up?
3.5? (was 4, one left early).
People show up when they are given value. No one there? No value being offered. At least not real value.
Seriously, would you go to some of the meetings you have? HELL NO!
So why would they?
You get the outcome you deserve, not the one you want. It’s obvious when you do something because you have to (and there is a lot of that). Stop blowing smoke up the parents’ ass. Hell, stop blowing smoke up your own ass that what you are doing is valuable and working. The proof is in the pudding, and in the numbers.
The New You
Stop putting ads on Pandora. I don’t want to see the 8 Ivy League kids from your district, each one coincidentally a different race (so we all feel included) on my movie screen at the mall. Stop taking half ass measures with half ass effort and half ass results. It’s not working. You are losing full classes of kids from each school every year. How long are you doing to do the same ol thing?
Hopefully you think about this over the weekend, get a little fire going, and take charge of your schools and your district.
Develop a media team (not teachers on their spare time, that’s stupid), rally the teachers, and get going.
Oh, and teachers, stop looking at your dumb ass contracted hours and work like you actually give a shit about your students, school, and job. Unions are only good for the weakest link. Hopefully that’s not you. If you are mad about that last statement, it probably is.
Let’s do this.