Christian school administration

Public relations

Roy  W. Lowrie, Jr.

Christian School Teacher (1960)

There are many people, Christians as well as unbelievers, to whom the local Christian school is an unexplained effort.  It is not a quick or easy job to interpret our schools to the Christian and local public.  We should try to develop and improve our program of public relations.

An excellent explanation of the aims of the Christian school should be the foundation of our public relations.  We must teach the objectives of Christian education to our school parents, our new  teachers, our couples' classes, our pastors, our friends, our public.  This requires a definition of the reasons for which the school was founded.  Since the Christian school represents a protest to contemporary education, it needs to be explained.  Why do we have a local Christian school?  The answer to this question is the crux of our public relations program.

Our program should hold strictly to the principle of honesty.  All information given to the public must be complete and truthful.  There is nothing to hide in the management of our schools.  An attempt to hide the truth or suppress our unfavorable facts leads to suspicion and distrust.  There is always a tendency to present a front, to make claims that are hard to prove.  We must tell the plain truth.

It is best to keep our school family and the general public informed of our progress on a regular basis.  It takes time to educate people to the purposes and needs of the school.  Since this cannot always be hurried, crash programs growing out of an accumulation of needs are not always successful.  Some schools have failed because there was not a continuous public relations program.

It is especially important to keep our school family informed of the progress, problems, and weaknesses of the school.  An objective presentation of the facts apart from personalities wins respect and confidence in the integrity of the school.  Constructive explanations are understood and lead to desirable action.

Parents can be reached by a monthly newsletter, a weekly letter from the school office, a monthly letter from the board president, a release from a committee of the school, school brochures, parent manual, student handbook, yearbook,  P.T.A. meetings, prayer meetings, church bulletins, school magazine, school paper.

There are many news sources.  The following is a brief checklist for which stories could be published:

Board meetings

Board actions

Speaking engagements

Interviews

New personnel

School calendar

Research studies

Educational conferences

Curriculum study

Field trips

Testing program

New equipment

School policies

Guidance procedures

Course offerings

Unusual happenings

P. T. A.

School committees

Activities of graduates

Social affairs

Sports

Building program

Honors, scholarships, awards

Student council

Graduation

Projects

Opening of school

New faculty members

In-service education

Visitors

Open house

Transportation

Most local papers will publish a well written story from one of the above if the article is submitted early enough.  Find out the closing deadline of each paper.  Remember that the lead paragraph is the most important part of the story.  It answers the questions of who, what, why, when, where.  A good glossy photograph will often be published with a news release.

Each employee is an important public relations agent of the school.  A Christian friend, Mr. O.  K. Burdette of the Transco Co., has this sign in his office:

PUBLIC RELATIONS

A pipeline may stretch from a hybrid gas fields across the continent to bring natural gas to millions of houses.  It may be the most efficient operation of the industry, but an outsider will usually form his judgment of the organization through his contact with one individual.

If this individual is rude, or inefficient, it will take a lot of courtesy and efficiency to overcome the bad impression.

Every employee of Transco who, in any capacity, comes in contact with the public is an ambassador of the company and the impression he makes is Transco’s advertisement, good or bad.

The implications of this simple statement to those who work in Christian schools are plain.

“Father, help each of us to be an effective ambassador for Christ.”

Last updated by Lisa Lanpher May 14, 2013.

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