Medium 9781475823967

Jspr Vol 33-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

The recent tragedy at the high school in Chardon, Ohio, reminds us that schools, like other public buildings, are not immune to violence. The first article in this issue, authored by professors Gina G. Barker and Mollie E. Yoder, analyzes communication that occurred on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. Their work provides insights regarding the extent to which the university's staff communicated effectively with the media, the victim's families, and the general public.

The next article is about the River Trails School District, in suburban Chicago. Written by the superintendent, Dane A. Delli, and the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Matt Silverman, it describes the district's literacy and technology fair, an event that involved several hundred teachers, administrators, students, parents, and other community stakeholders. The authors detail how the event was planned and carried out, and they explain why the fair was beneficial to the district and community.

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The Virginia Tech Shootings: Implications for Crisis Communication in Educational Settings

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GINA G. BARKER

MOLLIE E. YODER

ABSTRACT: By examining Virginia Tech's crisis communication during and after the shootings on April 16, 2007, valuable insights were gained that may be applied to current crisis communication models. This article addresses the unique characteristics of educational institutions and the need for comprehensive emergency communication strategies and on-site crisis communication that may conflict with the interests of media and the public. The findings reveal a failure of crisis recognition and inadequate crisis incident management. Virginia Tech exercised effective crisis leadership in its postcrisis communication with media and the university community but was less successful in communicating with the victims' families.

An organizational crisis may be defined as "a specific, unexpected, and nonroutine event or series of events that create high levels of uncertainty and threaten or are perceived to threaten an organization's high priority goals" (Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 2007, p. 7). Since a crisis threatens the welfare of an organization, it is crucial for the organization to understand the nature of crisis, take the necessary steps to prevent crises whenever possible, manage the crises that nonetheless occur, and seek to reduce their negative effects.

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Bridging the Past and the Future: How a Community Learned From and Celebrated With 21st-Century Learners

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DANE A. DELLI

MATHEW A. SILVERMAN

ABSTRACT: River Trails School District 26—a K-8 public school district in Mount Prospect, Illinois, with 1,580 students—developed, implemented, and celebrated a student-centered public relations event that focused on reading and technology. The literacy and technology fair drew hundreds of parents, students, staff, and community members to the district after a successful advertising campaign.

Community involvement in the development and governance of schools has been a cornerstone in the American tradition of local control for more than 200 years. Along with the legal authority delegated to boards of education comes an obligation to coalesce community stakeholders around both challenges and opportunities (Delli & Vera, 2008).

From a community relations perspective, there exists a research base replete with indicators that schools function better when they are connected with, rather than isolated from, their communities. As a result, community advisory committees have been suggested to broaden citizens' connectedness with, and participation in, school district initiatives (Kowalski, 2008). To this end, school districts are well advised to identify important initiatives and actively seek conduits for engaging a wide range of community constituencies in those initiatives.

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School Communication in the Age of Google

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KITTY PORTERFIELD

MEG CARNES

ABSTRACT: The debate about social media in schools—about should we or should we not—is already over. Social media is here to stay. The only relevant question now is how long it will take school leaders to adopt new ways and adapt the new technologies to support teaching, learning, and communication among the adults in schools. For schools to pretend that education is somehow not touched by social media conversations is more than foolish. It is negligent and reinforces the image that many Americans hold of schools and school leaders—that we live our lives and run our schools by looking in the rear view mirror.

Amember survey conducted by the American Association of School Administrators in late 2009 revealed that fewer than 20% of the school leaders make regular use of social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. About 30% of the survey respondents had a blog, yet only about 10% posted on it regularly.

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Review of Selected Dissertations Relevant to the Journal of School Public Relations

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DEANN HURTADO

LESLEY McCUE

ABSTRACT: The article provides summaries of doctoral dissertations completed between January 2008 and December 2011 addressing foci of the Journal of School Public Relations. The five areas are public relations, communication, school and community relations, conflict management, and human resources management. The periodic summaries of these dissertations are provided to enlighten professors and graduate students who intend to conduct research in public relations and related topics.

In 2005, Kowalski reviewed dissertations related to topics addressed by the Journal of School Public Relations. This inquiry was replicated in 2009 by Decman and Simieou. This article identifies dissertations completed since 2008 that are relevant to five of the journal's six foci: school public relations, communication, school and community relations, human resources management, and conflict management. No studies were identified as related to the sixth focus, community education. All studies included here were completed between January 2008 and December 2011. The article is divided into five sections based on the topics covered.

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