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Establishing Positive Staff Communication from Day One

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August 25, 2015

This is a reprint of an article that appeared in our August newsletter. Sign up to receive future newsletters here

Establishing positive communications and rapport among all school staff is critical from day one of the school year. Doing so helps build trust, boost morale and it promotes a culture of caring for one another and sharing of ideas, concerns and needs. Yet with all the requirements facing educators, including testing pressure, evaluations and other items that that are often seen as burdensome and that have the effect of weighing us down, this can sometimes be a difficult thing to achieve.

Below are a few ideas to help you in your effort to instill positive communications in your school from the get-go. If you have successfully implemented other strategies, please share! We would love to pass those along to schools that might be having a difficult time.

  • Ensure you have an open-door policy for all staff.
  • Staff need to feel safe coming to administrators about their needs, concerns, and other issues. This is especially important from a PR perspective should an incident arise in your school of which you need to be made immediately aware so as to prepare for media interviews/statements. Likewise, teachers should be able to come to one another for support that builds a sense of camaraderie.
  • Create a Gratitude/Sharing board.
  • Consider placing one in the teachers’ lounge to allow staff members to post a “shout out” to another staff member for his/her help with a task/project or to celebrate others’ successes. Boost one another up by celebrating everyone’s achievements to inspire a team mentality.
  • Consider delivering weekly mini-newsletters to staff.
  • If it’s possible to cut out any meetings for information that could more effectively be delivered via email, do so. It is important to keep the team informed of goings-on and decisions that affect the school/district, and a brief weekly newsletter could be a more feasible option for staff that is already pressed for time. Also, here’s a great article on implementing flipped meetings, another way to keep traditional meetings to a minimum.
  • Hold each other accountable.
  • If you make a promise, keep it. Try to keep negative talk and gossip out of the equation. If there is a legitimate complaint or problem, acknowledge it and fix it. If random gossip is occurring, make sure all staff knows it’s not acceptable and stop it immediately. This does nothing for team morale and prohibits fluid communication from occurring.
  • Lastly, always be nice!
  • It’s amazing how far a kind word can go to build trust and communication between people. Teaching is a hard enough job without having to worry about hateful words or actions from your colleagues. Remember the quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

We hope you have a wonderful 2015-16 school year, and as always, if there is anything we can do to ease your burdens, please do not hesitate to contact us!

About the Author

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Sarah Julian

Director, Communications

Sarah serves as the Director of Communications for the OPSRC. In this role, she will provide support, consultation, and training on communication plans, social media policies, crisis communications, media relations, and website content.

Sarah has dedicated her entire professional career to Oklahoma public education: over 14 years in communications, technology, and teaching college-level English Composition and Humanities. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Writing & Communications.

Want to learn some fun facts about Sarah? Click here!

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