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JSPR Vol 35-N1

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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

ePub

I. PHILLIP YOUNG

As many of you may note, the Journal of School Public Relations has a new editor because Dr. Kowalski has elected to pass on his editorial responsibilities. However, during his tenure, he immensely improved the quality of this journal, and his efforts are a difficult act to follow. Consequently, to smooth the transition between editors, his guidance and sage advice will be sought during this year in his role as an emeritus editor.

It is important to note some changes that have occurred and will be continuing to occur. Foremost is the actual location of the journal. For many years, it has been the University of Dayton. Henceforth, the new location will be the University of South Carolina and will be housed in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policies.

Also, there is a change in the editorial assistant. For many years Ms. Elizabeth Pearn was the well-respected go-to person for many of our questions. In the future, please contact Ms. Gwen Lorinovich (LORINOVI@mailbox.sc.edu).

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Social Media Analytics in Education: What Is It, How Is It Useful, and What Does It Tell Us About How Schools Are Discussed in Social Media?

ePub

What Is It, How Is It Useful, and What Does It Tell Us About How Schools Are Discussed in Social Media?

DICK M. CARPENTER II
JENIFER WALSH ROBERTSON
MICHELE E. JOHNSON
SCOTT BLUM

ABSTRACT: This study measured the salience of, sentiment of, and topics about schools in social media. Based on a mixed-methods approach, results indicated that school districts do not appear to be discussed often or widely, but the small numbers of people who communicate about districts do so repeatedly, positively, and in concentration. Larger and wealthier districts are more salient in social media and discussed more positively. The topics in social media about education fall within eight general themes. Sources of social media include school districts, news media, and nondistrict. The most dominant type was YouTube, while the least prevalent were Facebook and Twitter.

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Social Media as a Practical Approach in Engaging Key Stakeholders in School Crisis Communication Plans: A Qualitative Analysis

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A Qualitative Analysis

ALISA AGOZZINO
CANDACE KAISER

ABSTRACT: The current study examined how public relations specialists within school systems are developing, implementing, and revising their communication crisis plans in an effort to fully engage all key stakeholders. Four research questions and two hypotheses were posed. Members from a state public relations association for schools were asked to participate in in-depth interviews regarding crisis management plans and modification due to social media. Results indicated while social media is being used, it has not replaced traditional tools. However, social media has added a new dynamic in engaging target audiences, as key stakeholders want information more quickly, especially in a crisis.

Crises can occur in any location, including schools. Procedures must be taken before, during, and after the crisis to ensure the safety of the faculty, students, and any other party involved. Communication is key when working through a crisis. Public relations specialists must communicate and engage not only with the faculty, staff, and students but also with parents, community members, and media. A crisis management plan must be established in every school in preparation of a crisis.

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Exploring Contemporary Legal Issues in Schools From a Social Justice Frame: The Need for Ongoing Professional Development and Training for Practicing Educational Leaders

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The Need for Ongoing Professional Development and Training for Practicing Educational Leaders

DAVID A. BRACKETT
GEORGE PERREAULT
WILLIAM SPARKMAN
BILLY W. THORNTON
NICHOLAS BARCLAY

ABSTRACT: Most educational leadership preparation programs include classes designed to provide a broad survey of legal issues in the profession. Soon after these future leaders complete course requirements, their knowledge base can be outdated. We discuss, through relevant research along with theoretical and actual case studies, contemporary legal issues confronted by educational leaders and the need for the inclusion of social justice in leadership programs and ongoing professional development and training. We offer suggestions and strategies for professional development and training designed to keep educational leaders current with legal issues and to enable appropriate decision making to minimize the possibility of legal action.

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Examining the Impact of Classroom Relationships on Student Engagement: A Multilevel Analysis

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A Multilevel Analysis

W. SEAN KEARNEY
PAGE A. SMITH
SEAN MAIKA

ABSTRACT: This study explores the impact of classroom relationships on student engagement. To determine whether improved classroom relations lead to higher levels of student engagement, surveys were distributed to 2,340 students from 117 fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. Respondents reported the degree to which they felt support from teachers, collegiality with classmates, and engagement in classroom activities. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses were employed, the results of which indicate that supportive teacher behavior and collegial support positively affect the level of student engagement for the classrooms within this study. Implications for classroom and school relations are discussed.

Student information that filters through classrooms oftentimes influences public relations between the school and community (Fiore, 2011). Indeed, classroom climate has the potential to stimulate student learning and inform the school community of campus norms. However, students cannot be expected to fully engage in academic activities or translate positive messages about the campus to the community if they do not feel comfortable with their teachers and fellow students. This study investigates the degree to which interpersonal relationships within the classroom influence student engagement. To measure classroom relationships more precisely, two specific climate variables were selected: student collegial support and supportive teacher behaviors. The conversation now turns to a review of the existing literature targeting the climate of the classroom.

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Book Reviews Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales, by Bob Burg

ePub

(New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006), 286 pp., index

Educators are beginning to understand that education has customers for its services, just like any professional service. With the advent of charter schools, for-profit schools, and more homeschoolers, it has become increasingly clear that traditional schools are only one option in the marketplace. Customers for these services must be identified and cultivated in ways familiar to sales personnel in other fields.

The starting point for any salesperson is having an inventory of quality names as potential customers. Having an endless supply of these names is golden. The value of one’s inventory is based on networking and referrals. Educators are starting to realize that continuing or increasing student enrollments are often based on referrals.

The endless referral system is built upon the basic principle that “all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust” (p. xiii). Since it is virtually impossible to know everyone who might be a potential customer, networks become important. Fortunately, nearly everyone knows 250 people as part of a personal network. The aim is to create a network of “personal walking ambassadors,” who refer others to your services or school.

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Diversity Communications Toolkit: A Guide to Diversity Communications/Engagement in Education, by the National School Public Relations Association

ePub

(Rockville, MD: National School Public Relations Association, 2013), 67 pp.

ART STELLAR

The issue of diversity engagement is not some other school district’s issue. Large or small, urban, suburban or rural; with or without a public relations staff or plan, the issues of diversity engagement are present in every school district in America. (p. 1)

School public relations programs may have an excellent traditional approach with respect to communications; however, as diversity has increased, more needs to be done. The National School Public Relations Association has produced a fine guide to improve communications with diverse audiences. Communities with established procedures to address their diverse populations will still find some gems herein to enhance their communication operations.

The credit for this toolkit goes to the National School Public Relations Association staff and a core group of five contributors. They have identified some of the best examples from practices that work with diverse publics. Additional resources are listed with the specific school districts that have used each best practice.

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