Telling your school’s story through video
What is going on at your school that is so amazing that you wouldn’t want any child, anywhere, to be deprived of the experience? In a school of excellence, there will likely be several activities, programs or learning moments that fit.
Thinking about excellent programs in the context of how to describe them to the community is not simply good public relations. It’s also an opportunity to figure out how members of your team can work together to make what they do all the more powerful for their students—even as they build their ability to collaborate effectively.
Connecting with the community
The Easterbrook Discovery School in San Jose, California, has offered a program designed to increase the participation of fathers in their children’s schooling. Dads and Dudes on Duty brings together students and their dads and special dudes (uncles, grandfathers or other male role models who are close family friends) for a morning of learning.
It has served not only as a strong program, but also as a strong story. Click here for a short, three-minute video to see how school leaders have shared the program with their community.
Video, especially short video, is a medium that lends itself to sharing. If you see something cool about a local school, wouldn’t you want to share it? In Easterbrook’s case, the video has been viewed over a thousand times, and the reason is because it’s a story that touches the heart.
You do not need to include every detail in your school video; instead, leave your audience wanting to learn more.
Note that in it, you hear from dads and dudes, and you hear students’ voices, too. You see in their faces the fun they are having. You hear one dad say, “This makes me want to come even more often.” That’s a win.
It has never been easier to make a video. There are free tools that allow the quick combination of images, clips and voice. The PR representative at Franklin Community Schools in Indiana has used Adobe Spark, for example, to share “The Franklin Minute” on Friday afternoons, telling about great moments from the week in the district’s schools.
Leaders can encourage their teachers to work together to gather visuals that can be used in simple videos, to talk through the stories that the community will want to hear, and to record their students’ voices telling what they feel about their experiences.
Some will worry about privacy, but there is no need to have students’ faces on video. Show their work; their voices can be used in narrations.
Finally, focus on keeping the story short. Three minutes is better than five, and one is better than three. The shorter it is, the easier it will be to emphasize the most compelling parts of the story. You do not need to include every detail; instead, leave your audience wanting to learn more.
If you are not sure how to make a video, take time to gather several leaders and teachers together to try using whatever tools you have available. Learning together will spark more ideas about ways to make good activities even stronger. You’ll also learn from each experience making a video. A quick search on YouTube for the name of the tool you have—plus the magic word, “tutorial”—will give you what you need to get started.
And don’t wait until you think a video is perfect to share it. Ask families what they think, and what other stories they want told. Getting them involved in highlighting your school’s strengths will open new doors for supportive individuals and organizations to help you create your next success story.
Rushton Hurley is the founder and executive director of Next Vista for Learning, an educational nonprofit which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students at NextVista.org.
Interested in edtech? Keep up with DA's Future of Education Technology Conference®.