Use Messaging to Build Positive School Culture
Messaging Matters: How School Leaders Can Inspire Teachers, Motivate Students, and Reach Communities
By William D. Parker
(Solution Tree Press, 2018 – Learn more)
Reviewed by Wendy Adams
If you are an educator, then this book is a MUST read! Messaging Matters provides practical notions and step-by-step models to strengthen communication and build a positive culture with your students, parents, and community. And you can implement them almost immediately.
The purpose of this book is to provide educators with ways to communicate with teachers, students, and community members. The book takes the time to focus on each of these audiences. Within each chapter, there are thought provoking questions entitled “Now It’s Your Turn.” These questions help the reader not only reflect on the content but personalize the book’s advice in the context of our own school communities.
While I read through this book with my middle school counselor perspective, ideas instantly started pouring through my brain on how I could enhance the positive culture throughout my campus. A notebook had to be sitting right beside me so that I could write down and keep track of each and every one. There are some ideas that I will be able to implement instantaneously and others that will be gradually introduced as the year goes forward.
Positive culture through technology
Building a positive culture within and across a school system can sometimes be difficult in this age of social media. When a student goes home and tells their parent something negative that happened at your school that day, has the parent ever gone directly to social media before talking with the school to work on a solution? Does this happen on a regular basis? Why?
Through veteran principal William D. Parker’s book, you will learn about the three Cs of positive messaging and understand the power that affirmative messaging has in schools. The more constructive, encouraging, and optimistic messages that are placed in front of people regarding their school, the more positive they are likely to become. Communicating what your school’s assets/gifts are will promote positive discussion and social media comment from others as well. So why not flood social media with all the positive happenings at the school?
Technology is constantly changing, and keeping up with those changes is at best challenging and at worst impossible. As an educator, who has the time to learn how to use every new program that pops up to see how useful it is? Parker provides guidance by giving you the technology programs and websites actually used in his school.
Through stories and anecdotes, the author personalizes the book’s communication strategies. He provides samples of proper feedback, mass communication, emails, newsletters, checklists, and so much more! Even with all the bits and pieces of information that he freely gives throughout his book, there are MORE resources available online at go.solutiontree.com/leadership. What educator doesn’t like freebies?
Personal stories were scattered throughout this book, but one touched my heart deeper than the others. In Chapter 4, Parker describes two completely different “First Days of School.” One student had an amazing first day where the teachers and staff communicated well and helped the student feel like he belonged. The other student was completely confused, and the school did not do well communicating what to expect on her first day.
As I reflected on my years in education, I thought to myself, “Did I communicate effectively to let students know that they were wanted and welcome in my class, not only on the first day of school, but EVERY day?” Out of sheer ignorance, there were times that I did not create this welcoming environment for my students.
One small suggestion from Parker is that each teacher have their room number, name, period and classes posted clearly so that on the first day a student would be able to tell if they were in the right classroom. Simple, yet a powerful tool for a student who is new and not sure if they are in the right place.
My current school district is growing at an alarming rate. New students walk through the door almost daily. This chapter has shown me ways to ensure these students are walking into a welcoming, positive, and supportive environment at our school. Small changes can make a huge difference in the lives of our students. I am so glad that William D. Parker has removed the veil that covered my eyes and opened them to endless possibilities.
Here’s my blurb
Communication makes a difference! Use the notions that Messaging Matters brings to the table to influence an amazing transformation. What will you do to generate a positive culture within your school community? As my review comes to an end, here’s the blurb I would write for this book’s cover:
OUTSTANDING! This is KEY to creating a ‘Positive School Culture.’ UNLOCK your school’s power to positively communicate with your community, parents, and students.” – Wendy Adams
Wendy Adams (@YouAreDeserving) is a risk-taking, opportunity-seeking, passionate educator who influences others through service based leadership. She continually learns from others through her enjoyment of reading and building her PLN through social media chats. Currently, she is a Professional School Counselor in the state of Texas and a member of the Texas Crisis Resiliency Team.
Thanks for the feedback and encouraging review!