And the award for the most outstanding school communicator goes to …
Kentucky School Advocate
By Brad Hughes
KSBA Director of Member Support/Communications Services
The Golden Globes in January. The Oscars in February. The Academy of Country Music Awards this month. The Pulitzer Prizes in May. This partial list leaves me feeling as if every time I turn around at this time of the year, someone is getting some kind of honor.
So this seems like a fitting time to make note of some special contributions during the past year in telling the story of public education in Kentucky. This could be the first presentation of honors recognizing individuals for exceptional endeavors in the craft of increasing public awareness about achievements, challenges and other events happening in our state’s public school systems.
These champions of communications are to be found in the central offices of the largest districts as well as those of the smallest K-8 districts, among the membership of each school faculty and PTA/PTO and certainly among every one of the state’s 173 school board/superintendent teams.
Let’s call them the Gymos. (I hope you can figure that one out for yourself.)
And the envelopes, please …
Categories of Opportunity
The award for Seizing the Moment goes to the local school board member who heard details of a teacher’s after hours, off-the-clock creation of a special set of study materials to help struggling students, and then retold the tale to at least a dozen people in the next 24 hours.
The Best Supporting Colleague Award is presented to the school-based decision making council member who heard an innovative idea and then became an advocate for allocation of resources to give that concept a shot at boosting student learning.
The Impressive Presence Award goes to the superintendent who traveled four hours – one way – to Frankfort to attend a routine meeting of the House or Senate Education Committee, arriving early enough to ensure a local lawmaker knew he or she was there.
The Dazzling Duo Award is given to the district communications and information technology directors who partnered to create a series of digital video shorts about students’ community service projects, posted them on school websites and distributed them directly to employees and parents.
The award for Remarkable and Rewarding Recruiting goes to the mom-and-dad team who got a group of friends to form a booster club for the middle school’s new quick-recall team, with activities including making team signs and banners before each match.
The Colossal Community Engagement Award is presented to the parent or administrator who, as a member of a civic club, convinced the program chairperson to schedule a demonstration of a new district STEM initiative designed to increase graduates’ job market skills.
The Outstanding Performance in Leadership Support Award is bestowed on a superintendent’s executive assistant who learned of complaints about traffic flow around a school and brought it to the boss’s attention ahead of a scheduled staff meeting where a solution could be created.
The Extra Mile Award is given to the transportation director who wrote a letter of commendation for a bus driver who halted his route in the middle of a hailstorm so two young siblings wouldn’t have to walk several hundred yards home in the dangerous weather.
The award for Beyond the Call of Duty is – hey, it’s a tie – shared by the janitor who each semester seeks out a shy student and offers daily encouragement, the teacher’s aide who told the principal about the acts, and the administrator who helped the custodian to be recognized at the next month’s board meeting.
The Last Word
Odd thing about the recipients of these award categories – no names are listed. That’s because each of these examples of telling of the public school issues across the Commonwealth could be – and in fact have been – replicated multiple times this and every year.
But they could be – and need to be – multiplied many times during 2016 and beyond. We each have our own opportunities to earn the moniker of “Kentucky’s Outstanding School Communicator” for 2016. We just have to act when the occasion presents itself.
And that’s a message worth getting out.