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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Making a Dent in the PR Universe: A lessons for schools by Steve Jobs

March 23, 2013

Walter Issacson’s book on Steve Jobs was a very insightful biography on the legendary Apple founder.  The book went into great detail about the “game-changing” products that Jobs helped bring to market.  Jobs’s vision was to “make a dent in the universe” with his amazing products.  However, one dent in the universe that Jobs made that was not a product or even by design was: how an organization handles a PR crisis in the real-time media cycle we live in.

Jobs was legendary for his fanaticism with design.  He expected perfection with design and often got it by pushing people to do what they did not think they could do.  Sometimes there were unintended consequences with this insatiable drive by Jobs.  One of the biggest consequences was the design of the iPhone 4.  Jobs’s quest for the perfect design lead to the antenna of the phone being restricted in how it can receive signals by the new case designed to house the new iPhone.  The disrupted signal soon became “Attenagate” in the media.  Jobs and Apple had a real PR crisis with their new iPhone coming to market.

In situations like this companies would issue an apology, and issue a recall on the product.  Jobs decided not to do this.  He simply said “As we seek to bring the very best product to market we sometimes do not always catch what might go wrong with the product.  Apple is a company of people, and people are not perfect.  Apple will offer an iPhone Case to help with reception, but we will never stop making the best product we possibly can.”  In essence he turned the argument on it’s head.  Instead of playing defense he challenged anyone to find the prefect phone.  They offered a full refund to anyone who did not want the phone.  The result: the lowest returned phone to date and iPhone 4 sales became the fastest selling phone at the time after jobs made his statement.

School districts can learn something from this with their own PR challenges.  They can make the commitment to always be improving, BUT they are human and will not always avoid mistakes.  If schools come out with a firm vision for what they and where they want to go, they will find the mistakes they make along the way be far less severe in the eyes of the public than those school districts that do no PR and how for the best.

Posted in Community Outreach, Education
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A great example of a school district staying on a message

March 22, 2013

The Piqua community is feeling pretty good about itself.

To help spread the word, the Positively Promoting Piqua committee held a community update meeting March 13 at one of the city’s success stories – the fourth floor ballroom of the renovated Fort Piqua Hotel downtown.

The nonprofit PPP was formed two and one-half years ago by residents to fight – successfully – a recall of four of five city commissioners, and then promote and support positive efforts to help the city improve and grow.

Joining with the organization to celebrate achievements were the city of Piqua and the Piqua City Schools.

Business leader Dan French of French Oil Mill Machinery Co. said Positively Promoting Piqua is a group “united to help make Piqua the best it can possibly be.”

A citizens committee helps the organization monitor the community pulse by serving as its “eyes and ears” and helping identify positive projects. For example, the committee helped last year with building the Mote Park Shelter.

French assured business leaders and residents who responded to a public invite for the Piqua Progress Report 2013 that a lot is getting done behind the scenes.

City Manager Gary Huff and Schools Superintendent Rick Hanes helped French and Dan Ramer, also of PPP, provide an update on progress.

Huff, who joined the city staff last year, said he believes “real success comes by more citizen involvement.”

He has worked with city staff to organize a number of projects/programs to open the door to citizen involvement. Among them so far are the Citizens Government Academy offering residents a first-hand look at how the city runs and a volunteer park ranger program scheduled to get under way this year.

Projects coming up will help boost Piqua even more, Huff said. He pointed to a $1.7 million high-speed fiber project and plans for the city’s first dog park, a mention that brought some of the event’s loudest applause.

Hanes talked about the schools and “significant progress” occurring in the district. “Our students are doing amazing things,’ he said.

The community’s attention soon will be on more district progress with the upcoming construction of two new elementary schools and an intermediate building.

For more information on Positively Promoting Piqua visit

 Read the Original Article on Dayton Daily News »

Posted in Community Outreach
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Voters, and Parents, Favor Having Police in Schools to Provide Security, But Oppose Armed Teachers

March 7, 2013


Posted in Education
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Police in 1 Minnesota town set up shop in schools

March 5, 2013

JORDAN, Minn. (AP) — One small-town Minnesota school district is taking a unique approach to keeping students safe: The police are moving in.

In Jordan, south of Minneapolis, officials looking at school security after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut decided the police would set up satellite offices in public schools. Officers will conduct some of their daily work from the schools, including taking calls and filling out paperwork, while still going out into the community to patrol or respond to emergencies. The hope is the armed officers, with their squad cars in school parking lots, will discourage — or meet — any would-be attackers.

Jordan schools haven’t had an attack or a problem with violence. But the plan proposed by the police chief received unanimous approval from the City Council and the school board, and it seems to have the backing of parents and school administrators.

“Sandy Hook had everything in place security-wise, they really did. But what they didn’t have was a trained, armed officer at the front door,” said Jordan Elementary School Principal Stacy DeCorsey. “We will have that the majority of the time.”

Schools across the U.S. have been looking at security after the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six workers dead. The National Rifle Association called for putting armed guards in schools. President Barack Obama proposed more funding for counselors and school resource officers, whose primary assignment is to work in schools. Some districts hired retired officers. One Colorado district asked officers to write reports from their squad cars in school parking lots.

Many schools already have police officers assigned as resource officers to promote community programs, and some of them have offices in schools. But Jordan’s idea to relocate its city police duties to a school is unusual. Police and school officials acknowledge the idea might not work for larger communities. But they believe it could make a big difference for this town of about 5,600 people that’s about a 45 minute drive from Minneapolis. The district has about 1,800 students and all of its school buildings are on one campus.

“These attacks have been going on for years and still no one has provided any hope of relief,” Chief Bob Malz wrote in a Dec. 27 letter to school officials. “Sometimes the best answers come when we stop listening to everyone else and take it upon ourselves to make common sense decisions based on what is right for the safety of our children in our own community. … It’s time for change.”

The Jordan police force is small, with eight full-time officers, including Malz, and four part-timers. Malz said the move means the officers’ presence at the schools will increase, and he estimated at least one officer would be on the campus most of the time, cutting response time in an emergency from roughly four minutes to 30 to 60 seconds.

Officials at the middle and elementary schools cleaned out storage areas near their main entrances and installed windows that give a view of the entries. One officer will make the elementary school his home base, and two officers will split time at the middle school office. At the high school, the principal is giving up her office by the front door for the police chief. The hope is to have the officers in place by early April.

The school district is paying the estimated $20,000 for modifications that include bulletproof windows. Much of the furniture was donated.

Administrators say an overwhelming majority of feedback from parents has been positive.

“I think it’s phenomenal that they took steps to put everyone at ease after what happened with Newtown,” said Jen Sims, who has children in kindergarten and first-grade. “And it’s even better that Jordan, a small community, came up with the idea. … I’m glad to know that the school cares about student safety.”

Schoolchildren won’t be exposed to the rougher elements that can be part of a police station. People filing complaints or meeting with an officer would go to the main (and previously only) police station, where the department will still have administrative workers. Officers will conduct interrogations and meet with victims at the main office, not schools. The office is at City Hall, less than a mile from the school campus, so it’s easy for officers to go back and forth.

Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, said time will tell if the plan is a good idea, but it’s at least worth a try. Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Boards Association, said police and the district should work out when, and to what extent, officers should get involved in situations that arise at the schools.

DeCorsey said she’s already instructed teachers that police should be asked to handle a situation only if it’s serious enough to call 911.

Lacey Sand, who has a first-grader and a preschooler at Jordan Elementary School, said she and her husband support the effort.

“Before Sandy Hook, I don’t think any parent could have braced themselves for this,” she said. “After Sandy Hook, you know, it’s just something that now is a part of our lives and that we have to be prepared for. And Jordan is preparing us for that — and thank God for that.”

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Posted in Community Outreach
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