Spotlight

Additional Resources


Adam Kernan-Schloss has compiled these print and electronic resources for use by school leaders when communicating about school performance.

Unless otherwise noted, these resources are available at the website of the Council of Chief State School Officers under “federal programs” and “NCLB communications” (www.ccsso.org/federal_programs/NCLB/2896.cfm).

Toolkits

  • Learning First Alliance. This coalition of education groups, including AASA, has compiled a number of resources to help school administrators communicate about student and school performance, including talking points for superintendents and principals, and sample letters and suggestions for engaging parents, educators and voters in a community dialogue about school improvement. www.learningfirst.org/publications/nclbguide/ (August 2003)

  • Oregon School Boards Association. An administrator-friendly guidebook for communicating about AYP and related issues, including sample materials. www.osba.org/hotopics/funding/nclb/ayptk/index.htm (Summer 2003)

Miscellaneous Resources

  • KSA-Plus. "Talking to Reporters about Your 'Needs Improvement' Schools" offers practical advice for talking with news media about your list, with links to sample clips.

    “Communications Opportunities Timeline” is a one-page summary of key dates when education leaders will have a chance to discuss school performance and reiterate key messages. “NCLB Reporting Deadlines” is a summary of key deadlines for notifying parents about school performance, transfers, supplemental services and other NCLB provisions.

    “Communications Planning Template” can be used to prioritize objectives, audiences, messages, messengers, schedules and roles when communicating about low-performing schools.

    “Schools Needing Improvement: At a Glance” is a two-page template providing ways to organize and put in context the information about the schools on your "needs improvement" list and those that have made it off your list. “Suggested Answers to Questions about AYP” gives guidance for answering questions about a variety of accountability issues, from special education challenges to year-to-year fluctuations in test scores.

  • The Business Roundtable. A one-page document, “Don’t Call a School a ‘Failure’ If It Isn’t,” urges journalists to refrain from describing schools “in need of improvement” as “failing” schools (www.businessroundtable.org/document.cfm/904). Also available is a summary of research findings showing how parents and voters respond to key issues surrounding the reporting of adequate yearly progress. A videotape on school accountability provides an annotated transcript of an eight-minute speech showing the reaction of suburban and urban parents and teachers to a hypothetical speech announcing "needs improvement schools." The transcript documents language preferences for each group.

  • AASA. A transcript of a one-hour teleconference in December 2003, “Communicating about School Performance,” is available for $30. The discussion featured advice from Adam Kernan-Schloss of KSA-Plus and Doug Otto, superintendent in Plano, Texas, and Bill Dean, superintendent in Frederick County, Va. Call 703-875-0766.