Medium 9781475823882

Jspr Vol 28-N2

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

New board members serving colleges and school districts quickly discover that every operational dimension of their institutions can be either a public relations asset or liability. This is especially true for one of their most visible and important responsibilities—that of setting the salary for a new president or superintendent. The first article in this issue addresses the public relations dimensions of this very task. Written by I. Phillip Young from the University of California, Davis, it provides a model that can be applied to completing this complex task. As the author of the most widely used text on school personnel management and a leading researcher on education employment practices, Professor Young details a paradigm that permits board members to share vital information in relation to this often-controversial assignment.

Effective communication and communicative behavior in schools have become an issue in virtually every country. As such, the second article reports research conducted in Sweden by Professor Helene Ärlestig from Umeå University. She compares perspectives on organizational communication in successful and less successful schools. Her research provides relevant insights about principal and teacher behavior and possible relationships between communication effectiveness and school effectiveness.

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Salaries of New Superintendents: A Public Relations Concern for Many Public School Boards

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I. PHILLIP YOUNG

ABSTRACT: Salaries for new superintendents form a highly visible factor that has direct implications for school–community public relations. To provide a means for guiding school board members and to provide a format for justifying salaries, a model is presented that serves both purposes. Within this model, attention is afforded to specifying a relevant labor market, identifying valued characteristics of applicants, and affording weights to these parameters. By following this model, a school district can convey important information to the public at large, and this information can enhance the public relations environment.

Public relations have been and continue to be an important component of the total schooling process within the United States (Kowalski, 2004). Shaping the public relationships harbored by school communities are the perceptions held by various stakeholders. As such, the public’s positive perceptions regarding the effectiveness and the efficiencies of a public school district are paramount for its continued support of a local school district.

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Multidimensional Organizational Communication as a Vehicle for Successful Schools?

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HELENE ÄRLESTIG

ABSTRACT: This article explores how principals and teachers view their organizational communication processes, in successful and less successful schools. By dividing the organizational communication process into three dimensions—information, affirmation, and interpretation—different actions and expressions are visualized. To meet organizational needs, all three parts ought to be visible in the communication process. The empirical data are gathered through interviews with principals and teachers in eight Swedish secondary schools.

The study shows that the main emphasis in the communication process between principals and teachers is that of information about everyday activities. Teachers, however, ask for more affirmation. In most schools, the dialogue is not visible between principals and teachers to interpret the current reality in relation to the school’s vision and objectives. In this sample, only three out of eight principals managed to use information, affirmation, and interpretation in a multidimensional, naturally reinforcing way, which has a positive relation with the school’s academic results. This article examines how effective school leaders connect organizational communication to organizational aims and how school improvement and successful schools can help illustrate the complexity in leadership in a rapidly changing society.

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Sins of the Father: Revisiting Best Practices of Public Relations and Crisis Management Through Case Study Analysis

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MELISSA K. GIBSON HANCOX

JENNIFER R. ALLEN

ABSTRACT: This article examines a 2004 crisis event that occurred when the president of a small private Catholic college was accused of sexually molesting boys earlier in his career. It discusses the crisis response of college officials with the institution’s various publics, including students, faculty, alumni, and the media. Our purpose is twofold. First, we describe the crisis at this institution of higher education through a case study approach. Second, we use a compilation of best practices of crisis management gleaned from the writings of public relations scholars to explore the organization’s response in this event.

The Crisis Incident

On October 10, 2004, the students, faculty, and administrators at Missiondale College1 were faced with a crisis after a six-page story in the city newspaper accused then-president Dr. Randolph Grisholm of physically and sexually abusing boys from the 1960s through the 1980s (Palattella, 2004b). The private Catholic college had never before faced a crisis of this magnitude in its organizational history. Though the college had been established by a group of women religious in the early 1900s, Grisholm was synonymous with the college, having served as a professor there since the 1960s and then as president for more than 25 years.

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Examining Boundary-Spanning Leadership in University–School–Community Partnerships

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PETER M. MILLER

ABSTRACT: This article examines the characteristics and influences of boundary-spanning leadership in university–school–community partnership contexts. To gain a clear understanding of the diffuse literature in this area, over 60 related articles and books were reviewed; common themes were identified; and emergent connections were drawn. The most common themes involved boundary-spanning leaders, who can hold both formal and informal positions in organizations—namely, they serve as bridge builders who help connect group members; they act as organizational information brokers; they have legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of a diverse array of constituents; they have a depth of knowledge about issues relevant to specific university–school–community partnerships; they possess and utilize considerable personal and social skills; and they move most freely and flexibly when solely devoted to partnership matters. After describing these themes, the article discusses their implications in partnership contexts.

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