243 100 4MB
English Pages 89
227 15 3MB Read more
A PROPOSED PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM FOR THE ROSEMEAD SCHOOL DISTRICT
A Project Presented to the Faculty of the School of Education The University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Education
by Grace Mary McFarland June 1950
UMI Number: EP45952
All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.
UMI EP45952 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106 - 1346
T h is project report, w ritte n under the direction o f the candidate's adviser and a p p ro v e d by h im , has been presented to and accepted by the F a c u lty o f the S chool o f E d u c a tio n in p a r t ia l f u lf illm e n t of the requirements f o r the degree
of M a s t e r of
Science in E d ucatio n.
A d v is e r
TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER
THE P R O B L E M ................................. Statement of the problem
. . . . . . . .
Purpose and need of the p r o j e c t .........
Method of procedure .....................
THE C O M M U N I T Y ..............................
Location and type community .............
Industries and occupations
Philosophy of the schooldistrict
Financial ability of thedistrict
5 6 6 ♦
Muscatel School .......................
Savannah School ........................
Marshall School .......................
Encinita School .......................
AGENTS WITHIN THE SCHOOL The school board The superintendent
The p r i n c i p a l ..................... The teacher ...................
. . . . .
The p u p i l .........................
PAGE Use of b u i l d i n g s ................. Non-certificated personnel ..............
AGENTS OUTSIDE THE S C H O O L .................
Parent-Teaeher Association . ..............
The coordinating council.. ................
The n e w s p a p e r ..........................
Civic, social, service and fraternal organizations V.
A PROPOSED P R O G R A M ......... ................
The d i r e c t o r ..............................
D u t i e s ..................................
N e e d s ..................................
O u t l e t s ................................
Possible approaches in initiating the
p r o g r a m ................................
The simple a p p r o a c h ...................
The opportunist's a p p r o a c h .............
Specific problems approach .............
The survey a p p r o a c h ...................
Board m e e t i n g s ..........................
Use of b u i l d i n g s ........................
PAGE Parent e d u c a t i o n ...................
Parent teacher association .............
Lay advisory commission
. . . . . .
Absences from s c h o o l ...................
Individual conferences .................
Improving reports to parents ...........
Room t e a s ..............................
Home v i s i t a t i o n ........................
American Education Week Public Schools Week
Field t r i p s ...............
Teacher organization ...................
C o m m e n c e m e n t ............................
Proposed news releases .................
Guest s p e a k e r s ..........................
R e c r e a t i o n ..............................
Public appearances .....................
PAGE Classroom exhibits ...................... School newspapers Special days
. ,. .
Programs . ..............................
Evaluation of the p r o g r a m ...............
SUMMARY AND C O N C L U S I O N S ....................
C o n c l u s i o n s ............... B I B L I O G R A P H Y ....................................
71 74 78
LIST OF TABLES TABLE I.
PAGE Comparison of School News Topics in Which Patrons are Interested With Topics Which Papers Publish .................
INTRODUCTION As a rule, people will not come to the schools oh their own accord for information.
schools must go to the people with the information.
public relations program should be impersonal, and should be built around the welfare of the child, rather than the glorification of any ambitious or selfish-individual. People are the stockholders in the school enter prise, and they have the same right to be kept informed concerning their most precious public possession as have the stockholders in private business; indeed, they will be informed through some source and in some manner. School officials and employees must decide, therefore, whether they shall help the people to become Intelligently and completely informed and thereby to be guided into a sympathetic understanding of the schools, or whether they shall permit them to become misinformed or partly informed through rumor or hearsay and turned into lukewarm sup porters or even enemies of the schools.
A program of
•public relations is therefore necessary at all times.
CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM Statement of the problem.
This study is to propose
a public relations program for the Rosemead School District. Purpose and need of the project.
often criticized the schools, because they knew little about their work, and they do not thoroughly understand it. public should be informed.
They should be taken into con
fidence and explained the school philosophy, its functions, and its purpose.
Some of the criticism is just, some is not
School officials must decide if the people shall be intell igently taken into confidence which shall lead to a more sympathetic understanding of public school purposes, needs, and accomplishments, or be deluded by hearsay, victimized by propaganda, or perhaps turned to opposition of the school Up to this time, there has been no set plan for a definite public relations program.
While the district
remained small, there was no felt need for such a program. People were informed by word of mouth as to what the school was doing, and that satisfied the majority.
this rapid growing community great need has been felt for the past few years of a set continuous public relations program.
In the long run, where the people are informed
2 the community envoys the popular support of its educational program. Private business ventures have long known that their welfare depends on the favorable reaction of the public. Educators have been slow to recognize the fact that educa tion is a public concern, and the public wants to know, and is entitled to know, what the schools are doing. The success or growth of any of the world’s phases of development depends on the understanding or enthusiasm of the public for it.
People recognize the needs for schools,
and are usually willing to assume the additional cost if they can be shown that the value justifies the cost. ’’But no school system is as good as it ought to be,” states Willard E. Goslin, and he has often said, "a school system is only as good as its patrons want it to bej"l Therefore, it is the purpose of this project to set up a program for a continuous public relations program for this small community.
The public should gather their infor
mation from reliable sources, and it is up to the school to see that they are properly informed. Limitations.
A;s. in all studies involving human
beings, with certain factors beyond control, the results are
1 W. E. Goslin, Pasadena School Review. Vol. XXII, September 30, 1949, p. 2.
often unpredictable. has many limitations.
This study dealing with individuals A continuous public relations program
is a slow and very conservative type program.
benefits gained from such a program are not usually immed iately apparent. Method of procedure.
After a review of the litera
ture in this field, a general survey of the district was made in order to determine which agents were available with in the district.
A study was also made to find out what has
been done in the past, and found that no set plan of a pub lic relations program had ever been set up. When all factors were known, a proposed plan of a continuous public relations program was set up for the district.
CHAPTER II THE COMMUNITY In order to understand any educational endeavor within a school system, it is necessary to understand the community background, and the growth of the school system wherein that endeavor is undertaken.
This is particularly
true in Rosemead. Location and type community.
Rosemead is situated
ten miles east of the Civic Center of Los Angeles,
an unincorporated town and comprises of an area of about two square miles.
It is bounded on the west by San Gabriel
Boulevard and the City of San Gabriel, on the north by Temple City, on the east by the City of El Monte, and on the south by Garvey Boulevard. Industries and occupations of the people.
is distinctly a home community as only a small section is zoned for manufacturing.
The middle-class occupations
consist largely of mechanics, factory workers, office work ers, professional men, and business people. population is 10,000 white Americans.
Because of its loca
tion, many of its people commute either to Alhambra, Pasadena or to Los Angeles.
County zoning permits poultry and rabbit
raising or agricultural gardens.
However, in recent years
small farms have been subdivided into homes.
sandy loam soil mgkes this a popular section for home
Artesian water is drawn from deep wells. The
Rosemead territory has a great deal of room for
more growth and expansion. seventy percent full.
At the present time, it is about
This is a very important factor for
the schools to consider. I.
The Rosemead School District is under a Board of Trustees and consists of three members.
They are elected
by the people for a term of three years.
Under this Board
the superintendent may be given a contract for a four year period of time and is the administrative head of the entire school system.
Under him function the four principals of
the elementary schools.
The High School is still under the
jurisdiction of the El Monte School Board. At the present time, there are sixty certificated and fourteen non-certificated employees plus a cafeteria director and her staff.
There are also two district nurses
and one district doctor employed. The elementary district provides educational services for the children of the community from Kindergarten through the Eighth grade.
6 Philosophy of the school district.
The purpose of
the schools in Rosemead is to prepare the student so that he will be able to adapt himself to whatever environment he may encounter.
This training starts in the kindergarten
and continues throughout the child’s school career. The problem in education is not primarily a problem of training children; it is the problem of making the com munity in which children can not help growing up, be demo cratic, intelligent, disciplined to freedom, reverent of the goals of life and eager to share in the tasks of the age.
The school cannot produce this result alone, but the
community and school can work together to help influence the child. Financial ability of the district.
valuation per pupil in Rosemead for 1948-^1949 is $6,700'.'. The assessed valuation per pupil in Los Angeles County for 1948-1949 is $12,700.
This means that Los Angeles County
average assessed valuation per pupil is almost one-half more than the average Rosemead assessed valuation per pupil. Rosemead, therefore, is a comparatively poor district. Muscatel School.
The administrative offices for
the district are in this school.
It is made up of kinder
garten, fourth through the eighth grade.
The seventh and
eighth grade are partially departmentalized.
7 was erected in 1924, but it has been modernized by an ex cellent cafeteria, shop and a home economics building.
has a staff of twenty-five teachers and one principal.
total enrollment is approximately 518 pupils. Savannah School. four years later. the sixth grade.
The Savannah School was erected
This is a smaller school and goes through The total enrollment is approximately
414 pupils. Marshall School. to the district.
In 1945 another school was added
It is called the Marshall School.
are approximately 100 kindergarten pupils.
through the sixth grade is approximately 587. Encinita School.
In September, 1949, the Encinita
School opened with a total of nine rooms and a kindergarten building. principal.
It has a staff of thirteen teachers and one The enrollment is approximately 402 pupils.
The growth of the Rosemead Schools has not been steady, especially since World War II.
There was a decided
growth from 1927-1932, but attendance was approximately static until 1935.
From then to 1949, there has been a
tremendous increase. At the present time, the total enrollment for the district is approximately 2,511 students. includes home-teacher instruction.
The district also
CHAPTER III AGENTS WITHIN THE SCHOOL . The job of improving public relations is not an individual one.
The program should be organized and system
atized the same as every other phase of school-work.
to have this, it is necessary to have a central control or ganization working for the benefit of the entire group. After understanding the needs and fundamental essen tials of a public relations program, the next step is to study the functions of the agents which may be utilized to develop a better understanding between the schools and the community. The school board.
As the policy-forming authority
of the school, the board should make provisions for the following: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Long-range program of public relations The effectiveness of the program Give information regarding the accomplishments Tell plans for the future practices.
Too often the board of education has no policy on its public relations, and as a result the superintend ent and teacher do something, or nothing about it until a crisis is at hand, and then a hurry-up campaign is put onto convince the public that the school should have more for a new building or for some other important project.1
1 B. I. Griffith, "Boards of Education Should Have a Sound Public Relations Policy", School Management. 15:448-9, April, 1946.
9 Instead of the school board dodging the people until the budget is approved and safe from danger of effective attack, the officials should start early in order to get the people acquainted with the conditions and needs of the school.
Many citizens of the community
are interested in the school budget, as it affects their taxes and their pocketbooks.
Members of organizations
should be given special invitations to attend such board meetings.
When citizens are asked to help with a general
program of mutual understanding, cooperation and partici pation between school and community, it will be found to be a natural and relatively simple undertaking.
will have a better understanding of each other and gain confidence in their undertaking. The superintendent.
As the executive officer,
the superintendent would be responsible for all phases of this program.
In keeping the members of the board informed
about local school affairs, the superintendent will find it to be one of his most important functions.
be an inclination on the part of both the superintendent and the board to "give and take;” each must respect the views of the other, and neither must impugn the motives of the other.
10 The principal.
Generally, the superintendent will
find that -the principal will be the key man in the devel opment of a public relations program.
He is primarily
interested in carrying out a special program for his par ticular school.
Events such as open-house and parent-con-
ferences should be under the direction of the principal. The teacher.
Today, the teacher must not only
be capable in the classroom work, but to operate with the greatest effectiveness, must understand the problems of the school system and the community in which the school exists.
The teaeher is the most important agency for in
formation on the part of the patrons of the school.
order to be successful in this work, the teacher should give special consideration to some of the requirements for teachers.
However, if teachers do not know what is
expected of them when they contact parents, the teachers cannot be blamed.
An informed teaching staff is essential.
Teachers often have a tendency to be concerned in ways the parents can help the schools, rather than in ways the teacher can help the parents.
Their frequent meetings
with the public and students makes them plan an important roll in the school public relations program.
tance of the teachers' place in the program is further
11 emphasized by Farley. The teacher occupies a key position in public relations. It has often been said, and truly, that a public which likes the teacher likes the school. If the teacher is agreeable personally? if her treatment of pupils is fair and impartial, if her classroom work is effective, if her community con trols are materially satisfactory, there is little likelihood that irate patrons will come thundering into the principal’s' office to complain or that there will be many sour notes in community gossip about the school. Harmonious school-community re lationships are fundamental.2 The pupil.
Since the students are the main line
of communication between the school and the home, and the largest single agency for giving to the public information about their school, it is necessary that the teacher explain what they are doing In the classroom and why they are doing it.
It is very easy for children to misunderstand and mis
interpret their schoolwork.
The pupils' value in a public
relations program should not be underestimated.
in carrying correct information to their homes is essential. The children are effective agencies in forcing their viewpoints upon their respective p a r e n t s . 3 Student publications, student exhibits, and student programs are other means utilized in securing public relations
2 Belmont Farley, ’’Public Relations for Classroom Teachers” , The Journal of the Rational Education Association. 33:163, October, 1944. 3 L. V. Karns, ’’Publicity Program in Rural High School” , The High School Teacher. 8:157, April, 1932.
for the school. Student publications aid in the development of the right kind of school spirit and cultivates a coopera tive attitude among students toward the progress of the school as a whole.
Student exhibits placed in the school
give the pupils added incentives for future achievements, and they are appreciated by the visitors of the school.
simple design that would catch the eye §s parents and visi tors entering the school is always good.
great pride in setting up such exhibits.
make a special effort in order to see their children perform before the public. Use of buildings.
Progressive officials and employees
are not only doing everything possible to encourage the use of school buildings and playgrounds during vacations and after school, but are taking the lead in organizing and sponsoring such activities.
Four types of community use
are being made of school buildings. (1) (2) (3) (4)
The four types are:
Use by various local groups at whatever time they desire, provided the use does not inter fere with the regular activities of the school. Use for activities which are initiated and supervised by the school authorities, or in a few instances by recreation or park boards . Use by pupils of the day schools and by or ganizations closely affiliated with the day schools, such as parent-teacher associations. Use by organizations in which there is a total self-government and self-support of the activities.
An old axiom states
that if you want to find out about your schools, "consult the custodian."
The custodian and clerks have usually lived
in the community and have many personal contacts; they reach groups which are not contacted by either the superintendent or the teacher.
They are known by all the pupils.
ly their contacts are the only official ones that many people have with the schools.
Although they are often busy, it is
desirable to have the non-certificated personnel represented in staff meetings where general problems relating to the school are considered.
They should feel that they are ah
integral part of the system as well as any other employees. They should be, on certain occasions, invited to attend social gatherings with certificated personnel.
are in intimate contact with the school daily, they can and do influence public opinion within their own circle of friends and associates.
We cannot expect a clerk or a custodian to
feel kindly toward a school system if they do not get the cooperation of the teachers, administrators, and the students. Compton Schools have set up a method for improving relationship between non-certificated and certificated per'sonnel.
Mattier^states that the benefits of the system are
4 A. P. Mattier, "The Compton School-Employee Advisory Committee", The American School Board Journal« 110:39-40, February, 1945.
14 as follows: (1)
It causes members of the community and the school to realize that he has an opportunity to be heard on any question affecting him.
It makes possible a much better understanding of the administration problems of the noncertificated personnel.
It has the assurance that before any proposal affecting the employees is considered valid, it is brought before the group before any action is taken.
Waller^ feels that functions of the non-certificated employees may be broadened if they are well informed. (1)
With fewer grievances and annoyances to contend witja, they will feel that their superior officers take a real interest in their welfare and conditions of work.
They will have a working understanding of the school, community conditions, programs, and policies.
They will bring to the school officials a valuable interpretation of that part of the community with which to come in contact.
They will in turn, take to their circle of contacts a much more intelligent and sympa thetic understanding of what the school is doing and why.
5 J. Flint Waller, Public Relations for the Public Schools (Trenton, New'Jersey: MacCrellish and Quigley Company, 1933)? p. 44.
CHAPTER IV AGENTS OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL If the community aids in setting up the program of public relations, it should have a proper cooperative ownership attitude.
It is, therefore, necessary for the
leader to study available agents outside the school. Community groups of all types should be used in a planned program. Parent-Teacher-Association.
Opinions among the
leaders in education differ greatly as to the importance of associations such as the Parent-Teacher Association and service clubs.
All authorities agree, however, that they
are of value but differ as to their degree of value.
authorities rank Parent-Teacher-Assoeiation first in impor tance as agents in a public relations program.
tional type is the only type of Parent-Teaeher-Association conducive to good public relations and productive of long time benefits.
Parent-Teacher-Associations offer direct
contact between the school and the community in the inter pretation of the schools* program. The responsibility of informing the Parent-TeacherAssociation is the function of the teachers, the adminis trators, and the pupils.
The curriculum, new methods of
16 instruction, and procedures should be interpreted to the organization in the simplest terminology possible. The parent-teacher association furnishes the best single agency around' which a public relations program may be developed.I The general purpose of the parent-teacher-association is to bring school and community closer together.2 Cooperation with the Parent-Teacher-Association as in other community organizations will help to make friends, will aid good causes, will broaden the contacts, and enlarge the interests of the school personnel.
schools will be better understood and appreciated because of these contacts. The coordinating council.
The coordinating council
is made up of the various community organizations cooperat ing directly with school and the public to further general public improvement.
They have representatives from the
Parent-Teachers1-Association, service clubs, womans1 clubs, fraternal organizations, churches, the chamber of commerce, and the teachers1 club. Through the above representatives, the various
Arthur B. Moehlman, Public School Relations, (New York: Rand McNally and Company, 1927), p. 1&5 • 2 Ibid.. p. 173
17 groups would be kept informed the school.
the activities of
Through this plan information about the
schools would be given to the community quickly and efficiently. The newspaper.
It is important that the dir
ector, if he does not already have it, develop a news sense, a knowledge of what makes news and what news will attract the readers' attention.
The press should be con
tacted and the policies of the school system explained so that when a controversial issue arises, the press will have beforehand knowledge to do.
what the schoolis
The best way to have good relations with
is through a policy of fair dealing and close cooperation. Often, for example, in a story about a teachers1 conven tion or a teachers' institute, a mimeographed copy of the scheduled proceedings is handed out.
Instead of follow
ing this procedure, the story about the convention should be given to the press in such a manner that the part local teachers are to play in it should be stressed and the other features of the convention brought in, seemingly incidentally. How far the school should go in telling the public about school affairs through its public relations program has been a subject of extensive study.
Studies made by
18 Coverdale3 and others, have shown that the best policy is to tell the public everything about the affairs of the school system, both favorable and unfavorable aspects.
Coverdale's study he found that superintendents from all over the country show a decided leaning towards giving the public the following aspects: (1)
Every phase of school life, favorable and otherwise should be given.
Cost of education in terms of ability of community to pay.
True need for expenses of education.
Comparison of costs of education.
Before the content of a publicity program can be definitely decided upon, it would greatly facilitate mat ters to find out what the public already know about the schools.
William H. Todd4 attempted to discover what
citizens know about the schools.
From his survey he drew
these conclusions: (1)
Citizens know about fifty percent of what is most desirable and necessary for them to
3 Reuben A. Coverdale, "The Organization and Admin istration of Public School Publicity," (unpublished Master's Thesis, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1930), p. 33. 4 William Hall Todd, What The Citizens Know About Their Schools. (New York; Columbia University-Teachers College Press, 1927), pp. 85-86.
19 know to enable them to give reasonably intell igent consideration to public school affairs. (2)
Citizens have little idea as to the number of children their community must educate, what the community is spending on education, the number of the teachers required and the minmum wage paid teachers.
Those directing the public relations program in city school systems need to pick out pri mary, or essential facts and figures and keep them constantly before the public.
Despite a belief to the contrary, American mothers know more about the public school than do the fathers.
Belmont Farley5 in an authoritative study has giv en a list of thirteen items concerning school matters, about which the public wants to know.
Table I on the foll
owing page shows the results of a study made by him, con cerning the topics in which patrons are interested; their comparative ranks of interest; the topic which newspapers publish, and the comparative rank in interest of these topics. Civic, social, service. and fraternal organizations. Any good school system will permeate all the local organiza tions.
The best way for the schools to build good will with
these groups is to help them do the work which they think is important.
These organizations offer an excellent opportun
ity to present the needs and problems of the schools.
5 Belmont Mercer Farley, What to Tell the Public About the Public Schools. (Palo Alto, Californiai Stanford University Press, 1934), p. 6 7.
20 TABLE I COMPARISON OF SCHOOL NEWS TOPICS IN WHICH PATRONS ARE INTERESTED WITH TOPICS WHICH PAPERS PUBLISH *
School News Topics
Pupil Progress and Achievement Methods of Instruction Health of Pupils Course of Study Value of Education Discipline and Behavior Teachers and School Affairs Attendance Buildings and Building Progress Business Management and Finance Board of Education and Administration P. T. A. Extra-Curricular
Rank of Interest
Rank in column inches given to topics
2 3 4 5 6 7
10 9 6 12 11 2
♦This table was taken from the study of Belmont Farly.
CHAPTER V A PROPOSED PROGRAM This school public relations program is not a plan of advertising.
It is rather an organized attempt to estab
lish good public relations; to interpret the work of the schools to the general public; to secure the help of parents in the education of their children; to inform the voters so that they may vote understandingly; to secure support for improved educational opportunity; to raise the standards of teaching and administration by calling attention to the act ivities of the school; to create public confidence in the school administration by demonstrating that the administra tion, both lay and professional, has nothing to conceal; and to make reports to the community about its school system. To carry on this program of school relations it will be necessary to have the cooperation of board members, professional adeiinistrators and teachers, non-certificated personnel and the lay people of the community. A public relations program is not spontaneous.
is adopted as a result of felt needs, vision, and definite purposes to meet a given situation.
Since this is a small community, the school superintendent should be the leader of the public relations program.
He is the one who senses the needs of the community,
finds the machinery to meet it, and sets it in motion.
is the natural leader in education for the community so would be the logical person to start such a program. Dennis Cooke^ states that the administrator must have good will, understanding and cooperation of the school board, the faculty, and the community in order to carry out a successful program of public relations. Duties.
His duties would be as follows:
As executive officer on the Board of Trustees he will have to keep them informed of suggested policies being planned and subject to their approval.
He is responsible for the entire program.
As the leader of the staff, he would inspire everyone to participate effectively in the program.
He will develop leaders in specific fields in order to secure maximum participation of the school and the community.
1 Dennis H. Cooke, "The Successful Educational Administrator Sells Ideas," The American School Board Journal. 110:41-42, June, 194^7”
The superintendent must know the needs of
his community before he would be able to determine the kind of a program that would be best suited.
A formal survey may
be made or it may be made so informally that it would not be recognized as a survey.
However, if it is only a partial
survey, that fact should also be recognized.
gests the following in order to study community needs.
study should be a cooperative undertaking involving school men and laymen.
The school must initiate and take the lead
of such a program. (1)
Health conditions, factors, losses, needs, and how to meet those needs.
Economic conditions, factors, needs.
Recreational conditions, factors, needs.
Adult educational needs, vocational, avocational, recreational.
Artistic and aesthetic needs.
Moral and ethical conditions, factors, and needs.
Delinquency and its remedies.
Helpful community, group, and individual cooperations.
2 J. Flint Waller, op. cit.. p. 95.
Wastes— such as empty buildings, poor plan ning , unnecessary duplications, business failures, fire losses, sickness, accidents, ignorance, lack of skill, lack of interest, doing useless things, dissipation of time when further training or retraining is needed, studying for mastery when apprecia tion should be the aim or for appreciation merely when mastery is needed, lack of aim or purpose and drive, destructive and anti social attitudes and habits.
Educational and vocational guidance and follow up.
Crippled children problems.
The administrator must know the range of
publicity outlets available in his community and make use of each to the fullest extent. stricted only to a few.
The outlets should not be re
A list of good publicity outlets and
those available for this district could be the following: (1)
The editor of the weekly paper.
The names of correspondents for out of /town newspapers.
The key men ahd women from fraternal and social organizations.
The professional men such as doctors, lawyers, ministers, neighboring school officials.
It is important to realize that launching a fullfledged program without the necessary preliminaries will usually result in haphazard procedures and very questionable results.
Benjamin Fine3 suggests the following:
3 Benjamin Fine, Educational Publicity. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1943) pp. 36-37.
Begin simply and naturally to handle the d a y ’s business, contacts and opportunities with an eye to better public relations.
Begin planning to have a better understanding of community needs and possibilities and aspirations. (a)
By conversations with thoughtful and informed persons from various groups of the community.
By taking advantage of opportunities to cooperate with individuals and groups in matters of importance to the community.
By giving attention to the programs and proposals of local groups and organizations.
Begin talking over public relations problems with other members of the, school family and encouraging them to do 1 and 2 above.
Help the conversations with thoughtful and informed persons on matters of public con cern to grow naturally into group conversa tions or conferences send these into- advisory and community councils in which representa tives of both school and community exchange ideas and think things out together. Such groups should not be too large for real, informal, open-minded understanding and cooperation.
Call special conferences with representatives of many or all community groups to consider matters of general importance such as the school budget in a series of meetings starting with one for consideration of suggestions and needs, and ending with one for understanding and utilization of the adopted budget.
Expand a program of suppers for parent-teacher associations and service clubs groups to in clude many other groups.
Make any other simple, natural beginning which fitS'the personnel and the situations. Appropri ateness and usefulness are the criteria. Avoid ance of large scale beginnings is advisable— permanent gains, mutual understanding, coopera tion, and good feelings are the objectives. II.
POSSIBLE APPROACHES IN
INITIATING THE PROGRAM-. In approaching the set-up of the actual program, it is assumed that a philosophical approach has been agreed upon, a policy adopted, and some form of organization at least contemplated.
Programs should not be developed to
any stage without some ground work having been laid.
over, the ultimate success of the program may depend upon these early efforts, principally a firm belief in the things to be accomplished and a willingness to try again if and when necessary. Four possible approaches which could be used are: (1)
The simple approach
The opportunist's approach
The specific problems approach
The survey approach
The simple approach.
A school administrator's
simple desire to bring about happier relationsships with the home and the community is an elementary approach. Beginning with his own teachers or board members, he will
27 create in them a desire for more wholesome contacts.
or three problems may be proposed for solution, preferably suggested by the board members or the teachers themselves. By his own enthusiasm he will create a desire to do some thing worthwhile.
Programs at first will be incidental
rather than organized.
All the while, with an eye to a
future developing program, he will create in the board of trustees and the teachers, a desire for something better, more adequate and more wholesome.
Before passing on to a
more extended program, the school leader must, of course, believe in himself, in his cooperating personnel, and in t
the things he is now accomplishing, or hopes to accomplish. The opportunist1s approach.
From time to time
within every school system and community occur occasions which create admirable opportunities for the development of home-school-community relations. an unusual or emergency nature. some sort of action.
These are usually of
As such they necessitate
Such occasions, will call forth an
aroused school personnel and citizenry.
If the focus of
combined attention can be placed upon the child's welfare, the results will be all the happier. Specific problems approach.
The immediate program
should concern the ultimate solution of the problems, which in itself may be of major concern.
A larger spread of
28 responsibility should characterize the solution of problems, not only to create a wider share of interest but to antici pate future problems before they arise.
It is important
that a solution to the problems be found, and, in its solu tion, good will toward the school should prevail.
as it may seem, the arousal of genuine school and community interest in education often arises when a real school prob lem is faced and solved together. The survey approach.
This approach is used to
help solve school problems by using scientific methods.
is a very thorough method which is being extensively used in many districts today. III. HOME-SCHOOL COOPERATION It is well recognized even in a small community that the best developed and most efficient public relations program is ineffectual unless every member of the staff exhibits an attitude of friendly cooperation and actually feels a sincere desire to do a superior job.
system is perfect nor can it ever be considered so.
ever, a good school system means good public relations. The following is an attempt to set up some criteria to better the home-school cooperation in the community of Rosemead.
When the home-school relationship program is
29 really functioning well with parents and the school staff working jointly, it can establish a school program that is more acceptable to the community as a whole. Board meetings.
Board meetings offer opportunities
to set up a close relationship between the home and the school.
Feeling free and welcome while attending the meet
ing of the school board is imperative.
All the problems
of the schools are of concern to every citizen whether he has children in attendance or not.
He feels that the well-being
of the community depend upon good schools and wise and com petent administrations of them.
For these and many other
reasons, those who are responsible for school organization, administration, and operation must recognize this and make special plans and efforts to invite interested citizens to their board meetings.
They should not be treated as out
siders and, if possible, during the meeting, their opinions should be heard by the members of the board.
citizens as to their successes and failure, their problems and difficulties, their progress and development should be made known. Public board meetings may have a formal, dignified tone, but they should be flavored with the American trad itional, "Town hall" atmosphere.
It is well to publish
calendars of meetings in advance so that the community knows
30 what will be considered at the meetings.
The local newspaper
should receive advance notice of business to be considered at meetings.
This, does not mean just waiting for the news
papers to come and ask for the information. sent to him.
It should be
Good public relations with the community
leans heavily on trust and understanding. Registration.
Another opportunity to improve
public relations is during the registration period.
first impression may be favorable or unfavorable in direct proportion to the efficiency or inefficiency of the proced ures operating on that day.
When proper publicity has been
given through newspapers and Parent-Teacher-Association meetings, confusion and misunderstandings are eliminated. Planned registration periods for beginning children prior to the opening of school is an excellent way to further public relations.
The improvement in public relations
effected by this measure is due to the opportunity for more friendliness and for more personal attention.
Much of the
curtness which injures public relations has been due to pressures caused by insufficient time felt by parents and school personnel. Use of buildings.
Use of the building for public
recreation always aids to better public relations.
board of education, whether of a large or of a small school