Communication Tips for the New Principal

February 17, 2009

I am creating communication tip sheet for
my principals. I need your input. If you had a new principal coming
into your high school, what would be three great communication tips you would give? Be as general or specific as you
like. I'm leaning towards internal communication tips, but external are
good too.

David Luther

Anonymous's picture

We have a Principals' Top 10

We have a Principals' Top 10 List for Successful Communications that we give to all new principals. It includes tips ranging from customer service to most effective ways to communicate. We also assembled a PowerPoint training for new administrators this fall that covered the Top 10 list, along with more indepth information on crisis communication, what effective communication "looks like", how our department serves the schools and what they need to know with regard to students in the news and other policies and procedures related to communications in our district.
-Mickey Schoonover, Pattonville School District, St. Ann, Missouri

cmowen's picture

The April issue of the

The April issue of the PRincipal Communicator will feature Pattonville's "Top 10 List." We had an older version from Pattonville in our resource files here titled "A Principal's 10 Commandments for Communication" that sparked our interest to see if the list was still in use. Not only is the list still in use - Pattonville has developed a second list of communication tips for teachers.

Thanks go to Mickey Schoonover, APR, for sharing both documents with us. We've posted the PDFs at the "principals' page" on the NSPRA site. You can find the documents, and some other tips for principals from NSPRA's Making Parent Communication Effective and Easy, at this link:

Anonymous's picture

Here are mine: 1. Share the

Here are mine:

1. Share the good news; contact district office to help with the bad news.
2. Share information/news from the "inside" out.
3. Train staff to be alert and notify you about any unusual activity. Foster a "no surprises" culture.
4. Timeliness is key. Every fifth grader has a cell phone - don't wait to notify p.r. or district office about a problem.
5. Use multiple methods to share every message: announcements, flyers, school reach calls, email, text message, newsletters, signage, newspapers, etc. (There
will still be someone who has not heard about it. Don't take that personally.)
6. Regularly share news from central office with your staff; and also share news from your building with central office.
7. Impress upon principals their importance (and the importance of staff members) as p.r. ambassadors.
-- Michele Donahoe, Raymore-Peculiar School District

Anonymous's picture

These are geared toward

These are geared toward internal communication:

1. Have Mr. So&So's Gossip Hour and Rumor Control: At each staff meeting one of our principals has the Mr. Leone's Gossip Hour and Rumor Control session. The staff gets to ask questions about rumors and he answers them professionally and to the best of his ability. This helps quell any rumors. The principal has to be willing to hear some harsh things and it's not for everyone, but some principals have the personality to do this.

2. A suggestion box. Have an anonymous suggesion box for teachers and students.

3. Always remember, relationships are important. Building a foundation of relationships first opens the door to academics and testing. Maybe the principal has a theme for the year and all initiatives are drawn from this theme. Might sound corny, but it puts a framework around building relationships and then focusing on academics and the classroom. Our high school's theme is "Steps to Success at CHS." "Be respectful, be responsible, be ready to learn." They then formed the mission and vision and all classroom management plans from that statement and theme. There's a common vision for all the teachers and administrators and that then funnels to all the students because they are moving in the same direction.

Don't know if these help, but I hope they do!

Kelly Wachel, Center School District, South Kansas City