Book Review

The Administrator's Guide to School-Community Relations

By George E. Pawlas, Eye on Education, Larchmont, N.Y., 2005, 322 pp., $39.95 softcover

Why are some school districts doing better than others in maintaining student enrollment? The answer may exist in their school-community relations plan that helps in marketing a school district and retaining students.

George E. Pawlas, a veteran professor of school leadership at University of Central Florida, provides a plethora of practical ideas to help school districts enhance their truthful image through working with the local community. His model for two-way communication includes specific examples on dealing with internal publics and external publics, involving parents, non-parents and businesses, handling rumors and criticism and addressing the crisis situations.

When we look at the demographics of our communities, we often see growth in the segment of senior citizens and retirees. These constituents provide public school leaders with opportunities to improve the educational system. Pawlas devotes a full chapter to how to put in place programs for mentors, volunteers and other community supporters.

Perhaps the most beneficial part of The Administrator's Guide to School-Community Relations is the format for assessing the effectiveness of one's school-community relations plan. Pawlas provides questionnaires, direct interview formats and informal opinion surveys to assist us in our self-assessment process.

Reviewed by Jerry Horgen, adjunct professor of educational leadership, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn., and Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn.