Donovan Group Insights

Accentuate the Positives!

Too often, we gravitate toward the negatives. The news is filled with negative stories, making it seem as though that’s all people care about. We’ve fallen into the trap of believing there’s more bad than good in the world. This isn’t necessarily true—the positives stories are just being hidden in the dark.

Your district doesn’t have to be that way. You can (and should) choose to focus on the positives. Being positive doesn’t just feel better than being negative. Sharing positive stories can lead to long-term benefits for your district—that is, if stakeholders hear those stories. Much like anything else, your district needs to back that positive message with a strong communications plan.

The benefits of sharing positive news

The world could always use more positivity. It’s as plain and simple as that. You don’t need an excuse to share all the positive things happening in your district. The joy of spreading a positive viewpoint is its own reward!

Sharing positive news doesn’t just feel good. It can benefit your district in some very big ways. Positive news can grab stakeholders’ attention and inspire them to get involved with the district. When they see all the great things that are happening, it makes them think, “I want to be a part of that.” Positive news is an open invitation to participate in the school community.

The positives also show that your district is worth investing in. Stakeholders are more likely to support a district that consistently puts good out into the world. Community support isn’t something that appears out of nowhere. It’s developed over time, and sharing positive news can help you develop it. Creating a culture of positivity will ensure you have the community’s support when you need it later down the road.

Being positive is a good look for your district. The news you share heavily influences how stakeholders perceive your district and its schools. Of course, you don’t want to shy away from addressing negative events. At the same time, positive news is your chance to shed light on student achievements, fundraisers and community initiatives—all of which are reasons for stakeholders to think highly of your district.

Positivity is also a power tool for attracting great candidates. Future teachers want to be part of a school community that’s doing great things. As they search for teaching positions, candidates are drawn to districts that make a point of publishing positive stories. Accentuating the positives can help your district attract not just candidates in general, but the types of candidates you want in your schools.

Look for the positives around you

In this day and age, it can be difficult to focus on the positives. Some days, you might even feel like there’s nothing positive happening at all! If you look more closely, you’ll see that positive things happen in your schools every single day. Every bit of positivity counts, no matter how small it might be.

Here are some examples of positive things you can share with the community:

  • Student awards: Students deserve recognition for their hard work. Spread some positivity by highlighting scholarship recipients or the list of winners from your high school’s annual awards banquet. You could also create bios for the valedictorian and student speakers of this year’s graduating class. Promote a culture of academic excellence by sharing each semester’s honor roll students in newsletters and school web pages.
  • Teacher spotlights: Teachers do a lot for your schools. Show how much they’re appreciated by publishing teacher spotlights on your district’s website and social media. Every month, create a post about one teacher who’s making a huge difference in students’ lives. Share what subjects they teach, what they love about teaching and what legacy they hope to leave behind.
  • Extracurricular achievements: There’s so much happening outside of the classroom. Celebrate the teams that have made it to state or national conferences. Highlight students whose artwork was recently added to public galleries. Invite stakeholders to come see a musical or charity concert at one of your schools. All of these events and more are worth sharing!

The positives need a communications plan

Stakeholders don’t hear about the positives on their own. They rely on district leaders like you to share the positive things happening in your schools. Stakeholders who don’t have school-aged children might be even further out of the loop. Without you, stakeholders might’ve never heard about the million-dollar donation to their school’s fine arts department or the teacher who’s celebrating 45 years in the district.

A communications plan is crucial for spreading positivity throughout your school community. Sharing the positives needs to be a consistent, ongoing effort, and the only way to pull that off is by putting an effective plan in place. Know when special events are coming up, and be prepared to share them via your district’s communication channels. Create opportunities for recurring content, such as weekly coffee chats with principals, monthly teacher spotlights or annual award recipients.

Again, consistency is key. It would seem odd if your district has an influx of positive news, then goes quiet for a while. Positive things are happening all the time, and stakeholders need to see that. Publishing positive news on a regular basis instills stakeholder confidence and boosts your district’s reputation in the public eye. If things don’t seem very positive right now, then you can create your own positivity.

Ways to communicate positive news

Your district has many channels at its disposal. These channels are what allow you to share positive news with the community. It’s important to leverage a variety of channels since different stakeholder groups engage with different channels. The more channels you use, the more stakeholders you’ll reach.

Use these channels (and others) to communicate positive news:

  • Social media: Your district’s social media profiles are a great way to share positive news with stakeholders. Social media is the ideal platform for posting photos, short videos and flyers that advertise upcoming events. District leaders can also go live on social media to share daily announcements or host coffee chats.
  • E-newsletters: Email is a quick and easy way to reach your stakeholders. Weekly e-newsletters are your opportunity to share what’s been happening in the district. By sending newsletters on a regular basis, you’re able to keep stakeholders in the loop and show that there’s always something to look forward to.
  • District blog: Blogs give you the space to dive deeper into positive stories. Your district’s blog should be the central hub where stakeholders can find information about the latest programs, initiatives and events. Stick to a regular posting schedule so stakeholders have a reason to keep checking back in!
  • Local news stations: To reach the most stakeholders, you need to think beyond your district’s “owned” media channels. In addition to blogs, emails and social media, your district can spread positivity through local news stations. Leverage strong media connections to score a radio interview or a spot in the newspaper. When a positive story gets in the news, there’s a chance that other media outlets will pick up on it, too.

In a world full of negativity, take every opportunity you can to share the positives. When you look around, you’ll realize there are more great things happening than you originally thought. Stakeholders deserve to hear about all those great things. They won’t know about the positives unless you tell them. Go share something positive that happened today!

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