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Grissom column: System communicates on many levels

The Rowan-Salisbury School System faces the challenge everyday of communicating effectively internally to all employees and externally to parents and the public. With the decrease in funding and the need to “go green,” establishing non-print ways of sharing information has not been easy. In the past, the school system has depended on newsletters, news bulletins, brochures and other types of materials to share what is happening in the school system. As we continue to evaluate alternative ways of sharing the same information in a different format, we want to be make sure that we are communicating as much as possible.
One of the main ways of meeting the communication challenge with our parents is through the Connect-Ed messaging system. Having the ability to contact every parent in the school system at the district and school level is an advantage when there is bad weather, something is happening at the school, or simply to provide updates about the school or school system. We are continuing to provide this important contact to our staff and parents.
This year for the first time, parents who have elementary children will receive a Parent- Teacher Magazine four times a year with informative articles about the school system. Multiple copies will be provided at the middle and high schools but will not be sent home. Anyone interested in a copy of the magazine can check with his/her child’s school office. This new communication tool is being provided free through local advertisers.
The 2009-2010 school year is our year to conduct another parent survey. The parent survey will provide an opportunity for parents to offer feedback about their child’s school and about the school district. The parent survey will be aligned with the goals of our District Improvement Plan so information can be used to develop the following year’s district focus and direction.
Each year our school board sponsors a report to the community about our accomplishments for the past year and our focus for the following year. At the meeting, all attendees receive an annual report about the school system and a document about what has been accomplished from the 2008-2010 District Improvement Plan. This event will be at the YMCA on Oct. 20. In addition, we continue to make presentations to civic and community organizations about our schools.
Technology is our main source of communication this year. Our school system’s Web site has won a state publications award for the last two years. We continually upgrade and update the site to provide as much information as possible for our internal and external customers. Please check out the site at www.rss.k12. nc.us to see all the available resources.
The RSS Board of Education’s regular meeting and work session agendas are located online.
Our monthly internal newsletter that goes to every staff member is now being sent electronically twice a month. The first newsletter of the month is basic activities and happenings throughout the school system. The second newsletter of the month celebrates recognitions and accomplishments of our students and staff, as well as featuring a monthly column from our 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year, Joy Jenkins. Several other grade-level and content-specific newsletters are posted on the site, as well as teaching ideas and materials for use in the classroom.
Our 21st century model classroom teachers have their own site with ideas that are being implemented in the classroom.
On the site is a “Friday Notes” section, which is a weekly blog that I use to share my involvement in the school system and the schools.
We certainly appreciate the Salisbury Post for allowing us to submit articles and for the bi-monthly op-ed column. The school system is also exploring other media to promote better communications, such as working with our local radio stations.
Regardless of funding issues and the normal challenge of communication, sharing information about our school system with our staff, students, parents and community is vital to the success of our organization. As a school system, we will continue to meet this challenge with a continued commitment to keeping the flow of information viable and efficient.
– – –
Dr. Judy Grissom is superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

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