Charter schools are unique in the way they operate, and as such, need to have different tactics when it comes to charter renewal. In this article, we will provide the following guidance charter schools must deploy when preparing to file their charter renewal application.
In states where the local school district is authorized, charter school renewals have become incredibly challenging. Therefore, the following concepts are particularly important if your charter school is located in a state whose education law requires the renewal of a charter every five years. In that case, schools need to apply the following 5 PR tactics as early in the process as possible. Keep in mind, these are overarching tactics, not a comprehensive campaign as so much more PR work needs to be done as you apply for renewal for your charter school’s charter term.
Develop a Strong Online Presence as Part of the Charter Renewal Process
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial to the success of any business or organization. The same is true for charter schools. Charter schools need to have a website that is not only informative but also visually appealing, easy to use, and full of useful material. The website should provide parents and other stakeholders with all the information they need about the school, including information on its history, mission, policy, and financial information, curriculum, along with administration, faculty, and staff bios. The website should be updated regularly with news and events happening at the school. Consider the website as the platform where you can control the school’s narrative,
Charter School Community Engagement as Part of the Charter Renewal Process
Charter schools should also engage with parents and the community to ensure their continued support. It’s not only a good idea but also the school’s responsibility. This can be done through regular newsletters, social media posts, and during events. Parents of students enrolled in the charter school want to feel involved in their child’s education, and by keeping them informed about what’s happening at the school, charter schools can build a strong relationship with them. Posting regular updates and information about the school can help parents stay connected to their child’s educational experience, and keep stakeholders informed of school events and activities. It can also help parents learn more about what their children are learning in class and how they can best support them.
Leverage Social Media – A 21st-Century Requirement
Social media is a powerful tool for any organization, and charter schools should use it to their advantage. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide charter schools with an easy way to reach a wider audience and engage with their community. As we indicated in #2, by posting regularly, charter schools can keep parents and other stakeholders informed about what’s happening at the school. But seemingly mundane social media engagements can go a long way as it can help build trust in the school community by demonstrating transparency and accountability. That trust will come in handy when it’s time for the renewal of the charter as parental ground mobilization is crucial. Charter schools should adopt social media policies that not just spell out the dos and don’t of online conduct, but serves to remind users how important it is to leverage interactions with important events such as charter renewal and alumni relations in mind.
Highlight and Document Student Achievements With Charter Renewal In Mind
Charter schools should also highlight their students’ achievements. Similar to the above can be done through a variety of means, including newsletters, social media posts, and press releases. Nothing adds to an organization’s PR activities like media coverage in TV broadcast news, newspapers, and online news sites. By showcasing their students’ accomplishments, charter schools can demonstrate the quality of education they provide and build support for their renewal. Of course, schools should practice precaution and be discretionary when featuring students and they must notify parents of their intent to publicize school activities. Parents should be given the opportunity in writing to request their children are kept from the media’s lens and schools need to renew opt-out opportunities at the beginning of each year to remain in compliance with privacy policies.
Local Media Relationships for Charter Renewal Using Site Visits
Finally, charter schools should build relationships with local media outlets. By doing so, they can ensure that positive stories about their school are being covered in the media. This can be done by sending out press releases, inviting reporters to events, and offering interviews with faculty and staff.
Charter schools should also ask the media to visit for site visits. Doing so will give school leaders the opportunity to show the press firsthand some of the great things that happen each day. That way you can back up assertions about the student experience that go well beyond data, academic performance frameworks, and accountability reports.
School board meetings represent a monthly or regular opportunity to keep in touch with the press. Invite the media to attend each meeting. And, as a simple administrative task, be sure to send them the Board agenda and important documents in advance of each scheduled meeting date.
When it comes time to renew a charter, schools that have engaged in organization-wide PR activities will have an easier time maintaining their narrative and launching a stakeholder mobilization operation if it becomes necessary. In conclusion, charter schools should deploy these 5 PR tactics towards charter renewal to ensure that they can continue to provide their students with a quality education. By developing a strong online presence, engaging with parents and the community, leveraging social media, highlighting student achievements, and building relationships with local media, charter schools can build support for their renewal and continue to provide students with an excellent education.
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