311 Chapters
Medium 9781475823745

Advice for Retaining Legal Counsel: Guidelines for Superintendent and Board Members

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


Due to the significant legal issues that arise with increasing frequency in the educational environment, a school district’s governing board and administration will undoubtedly have occasion to retain legal counsel. Such a decision is usually accompanied by strong community interest in the pertinent facts and circumstances. State open meeting laws and the media intensify the public’s curiosity. Under these conditions, the selection and retention of legal counsel are decisions that have political and economic ramifications.

Whether retaining an attorney to represent the school district in connection with a specific legal dispute or maintaining an ongoing attorney–client relationship, the objective should be to obtain high-quality legal services at a reasonable price. However, many school board members and superintendents may feel inadequately prepared to manage this task. Either they have not had regular contact with an attorney or they lack specialized knowledge necessary to determine and evaluate the services they require. A survey of middle-income people seeking legal representation for their legal needs found that more than one-fourth of Americans admit that their selection of legal counsel is limited by an inability to compare information about different attorneys and being intimidated or confused by the whole process. Another fifth assert that a lack of resources and information hampers their ability to research options for choosing a lawyer (Berensen, 2001).

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Medium 9781475824216

Trust an Essential Ingredient in Collaborative Decision Making

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: The following study explored the relationship between trust and collaboration in one Northeastern suburban district. In sum, 122 teachers responded to a trust and a collaboration survey. We hypothesized that the level of trust would be correlated with the level of collaboration. Bivariate and canonical correlations were used to analyze the findings. This study confirmed that trust in the principal was correlated with collaboration with the principal and that trust in colleagues was correlated with collaboration with colleagues. However, trust in clients (students and parents) was not correlated with collaboration with parents. The set of trust variables together explained 71% of the variance in the collaboration variables, with trust in clients being the most significant variable in predicting teacher–teacher collaboration. Collaboration with colleagues was the most potent of the collaboration variables. These findings suggest the importance of establishing a culture of trust in fostering collaboration between teachers. More research is needed to understand the complexities involved with parent collaboration.

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Medium 9781475823769

Life on the Bleeding Edge: Philosophy, Practice, and Public Relations in Charter Schools

R&L Education ePub


ABSTRACT: Charter schools represent one of the most intriguing developments within public education in the past decade. Although they vary widely among themselves and differ from regular public schools in some regards, they also show many similarities. Consequently, many of the public relations strategies that work for other schools should also be useful for them. Among these are: establishment of a strong marketing plan; development of effective media relationships; effective selection of a directing board; utilization of staff to achieve public relations goals; and out-reach to other schools facing similar problems.

Charter schools are perhaps the most intriguing development in U.S. public education and are worth investigating for a number of reasons. For one thing, there is the issue of scale; since Minnesota passed the first charter school law, 80% of the states across the nation have followed suit, and there are now over 1,700 charter schools in operation (Vergari, 2002). On the level of public policy, they present opportunities to investigate issues dealing with ethnicity, community, and school choice. They are also valuable places to look at the effects of curriculum decisions, parental involvement, and teacher empowerment. And they are fascinating settings for studying the ways in which people implement their intentions and then how they deal with unintended consequences.

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Medium 9781475823950

When It Comes to Community Engagement, Don’t Forget the Community

Relations, Journal of School Public Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub



ABSTRACT: This article presents a case study of a school district employing a community engagement approach to strategic planning aimed at addressing the district’s widening academic achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and noneconomically disadvantaged students. The study compares the community engagement approach utilized by the district with the elements of effective community engagement approaches identified in the literature. Participant survey results suggest significant differences between school employees and community members who took part in the process and their perceptions regarding the degree to which the district’s community engagement efforts reflected the elements of effective engagement found in the literature.

In a word, the Shadyside School District was in a funk. Its enrollment and property values were dropping; unemployment was rising, as was the number of students who were eligible for free lunch. Worst of all, its academic achievement scores were falling, especially for economically disadvantaged students. Table 1 shows a double-digit difference in achievement scores between disadvantaged and nondisadvantaged students in the Shadyside district. In Shadyside, achievement gap was becoming the buzzword heard from its classrooms to its board room.

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Medium 9781475824025

Social Media as a Practical Approach in Engaging Key Stakeholders in School Crisis Communication Plans: A Qualitative Analysis

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

A Qualitative Analysis


ABSTRACT: The current study examined how public relations specialists within school systems are developing, implementing, and revising their communication crisis plans in an effort to fully engage all key stakeholders. Four research questions and two hypotheses were posed. Members from a state public relations association for schools were asked to participate in in-depth interviews regarding crisis management plans and modification due to social media. Results indicated while social media is being used, it has not replaced traditional tools. However, social media has added a new dynamic in engaging target audiences, as key stakeholders want information more quickly, especially in a crisis.

Crises can occur in any location, including schools. Procedures must be taken before, during, and after the crisis to ensure the safety of the faculty, students, and any other party involved. Communication is key when working through a crisis. Public relations specialists must communicate and engage not only with the faculty, staff, and students but also with parents, community members, and media. A crisis management plan must be established in every school in preparation of a crisis.

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