Materials that describe your work in layperson’s terms are important to building public understanding. The samples provided in this section will help spark ideas so you can create your own.
Original documents like “explainers” and brochures can be used in many different ways. You will want to post these documents on your website, put them in the mail, and leave them behind at school and community events. The communications team in Pittsfield, New Hampshire created an“Explainer”that is a translation of the district’s logic model. It has been distributed at school and community events and at state and national conferences. The Partnership for Change in Vermont created a Brochure, a much shorter document for wide distribution in the community. Other examples of Explainers and Brochures can be found in Additional Resources.
It is time-consuming to develop and design products of this nature, but the conversations that ensue in the process can be as meaningful and clarifying as the final products themselves. It’s a great way to solidify your vision and mission, and build your team.
Pittsfield NH School District hired filmmaker Julie Mallozzi to produce a series of mini-documentaries, funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, about aspects of its school redesign efforts. The first two videos have been completed, one on Pittsfield Middle High School’s Student-Led Conferences and the other on its Extended Learning Opportunities. These two videos “premiered” in the school, and then in the community at large as part of a panel presentation and community dialogue. They have also been shown in professional development trainings and at state and national conferences.
Students at the Center: Extended Learning Opportunities at Pittsfield Middle High School
In Charge: Student-Led Conferences at Pittsfield Middle High School
Videos can also be made on a shoestring budget, especially if your school or organization has a video camera and editing equipment.
At South Burlington High School in Vermont, a team of students and teachers produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to show at a community conversation about student-centered school redesign.
The Sanford School District in Maine, in collaboration with community television station WSSR, produced a series of videos about some of the ways the district is remodeling its schools. “Why Relationships Matter for Learning?” explores the social and emotional dimensions of learning.
PowerPoint, Keynote, and Prezi Presentations
One of the best ways to spread the word about student-centered learning is to give presentations in your local community—to Rotary clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Kiwanis clubs, women’s clubs, houses of worship, and the like. Depending on the context, you could give an informal presentation, or you could use a set of slides to support your remarks, like these created by the Sanford School District or the ones below created for the RSU1 Summer Tech Institute.
Learning and the Brain in the 21st Century
A relatively new format is called Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software that is being used in the field of education, including in this dynamic resource below called “A Year at Mission Hill: Reimagining Public Education.”
To learn more:
Check out these resources to learn more about presentation design and delivery:
- Prezi.com website
- Presentationzen: Simple Ideas on Presentation and Design by Garr Reynolds