Archive for November 20th, 2009

Schoolhouse rock

My sister Katie, the dean of administration at a Boston-based charter school, sent the following note yesterday morning. I’m posting it because it’s a cool glimpse into the the efforts often required for positive media coverage, and also because I think she’s awesome.

We had a pretty exciting day at Excel yesterday. The Governor’s office called around 4:30pm Tuesday night and said, “The Governor will be at your school tomorrow morning. He’ll be making an address in your auditorium. Oh, and we have two of his event staffers sitting in your parking lot ready to come in and let you know what we need you to do before 7:30am tomorrow.”

Um, okay. We had to quickly break the news that we had no auditorium. (I was told I couldn’t blame that fact on the Governor’s charter school funding formula in his or his staffers’ presence.) They came into the building, did a walk-through, created the minute-by-minute schedule that the Governor would follow during his “random” tour of the school, and told us that we would need to change our schedule around to accommodate his visit.

We don’t normally change things to accommodate visitors or do anything that might be disruptive to our academic program, but given the likelihood that this visit would get several politicians and members of the media through our doors…and since we have been trying to get to them to the school since the beginning, we figured it made good sense to meet their needs.

We ended up having 4-5 government officials visit, including the Governor, the Secretary of Education, and our State Senator. There were at least 12-15 members of the media in the building throughout the day.

The Governor’s office requested our cutest, littlest kids to attend the assembly, so we gave them our 5th graders…kids who love school and get excited about pretty much anything. During the assembly, one of our kids raised her hand and said, “I just want you to know that we’re not faking it for you. We’re always this smart and well-behaved.” Pretty classic.

As the Governor was leaving, he turned to our Executive Director and said,”I love this school.” We’re wishing one of the 15 cameras in the building would have caught that.

Katie saw a great return on investment. Excel received coverage in this video, the Governor’s Flicker photo account, an article in the Boston Herald and one in the Boston Globe. Way to go, Kate!