Three Advantages to Monthly “Head Talks”
Vol. 14 No. 2
As the School Head, your personal time and attention to various school issues are both limited and constantly in demand. So, if you make time to see parents once a month or so—perhaps for a coffee hour or an informal evening potluck with babysitting provided—families will appreciate your effort and will take advantage of the opportunity. These “head talks” can benefit you, too—if you plan ahead correctly.
1. Establish relationships with “primary points of contact.”
The mom or dad who makes the effort to attend something like a “head talk” are probably going to be your primary contact for that particular family. After all, they’re dedicated enough to the education their child is receiving to spend some of their time talking with you. These parents will probably be the ones who respond best to overtures for donor stories, volunteers, and requests to become more deeply involved in the life of the school.
2. Involve your community influencers.
Those same parents who serve as “primary points of contact” are probably also the folks who will become leaders within your school community, if they’re not already. Having “head talks” gives you the chance to pitch new programs to those who are most heavily invested in the school.
These influencers are also the ones who can convince other parents and community members to become more involved in some way—to donate, volunteer, or re-enroll. Drawing these people more deeply into your school will create community ambassadors who will generate the time, talent, and treasure your school needs its families to contribute to keep the program running smoothly.
3. Gain useful feedback.
An informal, casual setting is the perfect opportunity for you to hear relaxed praise and criticisms of various school initiatives, employees, and facilities that might be more difficult to hear otherwise. Such feedback might come from spontaneous one-on-one conversations with parents, or be actively sought if you ask the collected parents for their thoughts.
This feedback allows you to nip problems in the bud before they bloom into catastrophes, as well as nurture those programs that are well-received. Knowing what’s running through the rumor mill will help you keep a handle on the overall impression your school presents to its current constituents, as well as control community messaging to prospective families.
Additional ISM resources:
The Source for School Heads Vol. 9 No. 8 The Head as the Face of Your School's Advancement
The Source for Development Directors Vol. 10 No. 9 How Two Schools Recognize Some Key Constituents
The Source for School Heads Vol. 14 No. 1 Conversations With New Families: Retention Starts With You
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 29 No. 16 15 Administrative Actions and Approaches Compatible With the Findings of ISM's Head Leadership Study