Why Participate in a Community Outreach Program?
Your local association is a vital part of any community. Whether you live in a rural area, a small community or a large city, people are interested in the activities of people who have an impact on their lives and on the lives of their family or friends. As members of the United Education Profession, you and your local association play a vital role in shaping the lives of your area’s children and young adults. Study the flyer titled “Messages on Community Involvement” for additional rationale on why your local association should be involved in a community outreach program.
Many local associations have a communications program in place. Along with the internal communications that should be a part of every local association’s activities, you should also include a public relations (PR) program aimed at the community. If you do not have a PR program currently in place in your local association, this may be an excellent time to start one! All it takes is a little time, effort and money.
There are a number of ways your local association can reach out to the community:
- Community Newsletter
- Brochures on Education Topics for parents and/or community members
- Participation in Community Events, Service Groups, Economic Development Groups or other local groups
Samples of these are included in the start-up manual titled, “Developing a Community Outreach Program”.
If you would like more help in putting together a Community Outreach Program, contact your OEA Labor Relations Consultant.
Whatever method you use, your goal is to reach parent, community leaders, and other who are viewed as the “movers and shakers” in your area so as to promote great public schools for every child.
Some Month-by-Month Ideas for Internal and External Communications
- Update/compile your local news media contact list, including deadlines, names, fax/phone numbers. Get to know the reporters.
- Prepare a back-to-school news release.
- Talk with local broadcasters about producing back-to-school public service announcements.
- Publish your first newsletter featuring back-to-school tips.
- Get together with the membership committee. Sponsor a welcome activity for new employees with a “welcome back!” for returning members…
- Begin developing plans for observing American Education Week (in November).
- Create a speakers’ bureau and showcase the expertise of your members. Contact local civic and service organizations and offer to have speakers available for meetings.
- Set up a telephone tree for members.
- Sponsor “breakfast with your bus driver”—host breakfast for a different group each week to allow children, parents, and the bus driver (or teacher or school secretary) to get to know each other as family.
- On the 25th day of the school year, give silver-wrapped candy kisses and a Happy 25th card to school staff.
- Sponsor an activity around Fire Community Protection Week.
- Use reflective Halloween bags for students.
- Sponsor an “I’m a Member” day to promote membership.
- Finalize your American Education Week plans. Think about holding classes at a local mall or business, a “teacher for a day” program, an event to encourage community members to come into the classroom.
- Publish a list of Halloween safety tips. Use them in PSAs, news releases, and memos to parents.
- When are parent-teacher conferences? When do first report cards come out? Use these events as a reason for PSAs, news releases, and guest editorials.
- Sponsor an activity around Child Safety and Protection Month, Hunger Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, etc.
- Observe American Education Week. Get news and the business community involved in your local activities.
- Sponsor a night to honor support personnel.
- Plan a potluck Thanksgiving lunch or dinner for members.
- Invite legislators to visit school for a day (maybe “teacher for a day”).
- Organize/sponsor an “Eggs ‘n’ Issues” breakfast for legislative concerns.
- Set up a holiday safety project.
- Send holiday cards to media, legislators, school board members, administrators, and members.
- Plan with other groups to provide toys, food for those in need.
- Write a news release or PSA suggesting educational gifts for children.
- January is Human Resources Month, March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month, National Eye Health Care Month, National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. Plan an activity around any of these!
- Plan a public library display around education in your community.
- Plan a Teacher Fair at a local shopping center with displays from your schools.
- Visit your local radio announcers/DJs, take them coffee and rolls when they go on the air early in the morning.
- February is American Heart Month, American History Month, Black History Month, National Children’s Health Month, and more. Plan an article or activity around any of these.
- Send a valentine to local members.
- Sponsor a student essay on the meaning of a free public education system.
- Report on the positive economic impact of public schools in the community.
- Begin planning a “Teacher for a Day” program for National Teacher Day in May.
- Begin plans for end-of-the-year honor program for retiring teachers. Consider buying NEA-Ohio membership for retirees.
- Finalize plans for National Teacher Day.
- Begin a dial-a-teacher or homework hotline program for parents to check their children’s homework assignments. This could be done with the help of the local library or telephone company.
- Sponsor an activity to raise money for a student scholarship.
- Send out thank-you notes to local legislators for their support of education issues (if they did).
- Provide tips on retiring for retiring members.
- Sponsor a recognition day for those who have contributed to school improvements.
- Sponsor parent-teacher workshops on college admissions, financial aid, career opportunities, etc.
- Sponsor an evening of the arts—form an alliance with local arts groups and sponsor an annual arts gala where the works of students and community artists are showcased for the community.
- April is Alcohol Awareness Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, etc. Pick an issue and help make people aware.
- Publish a news release, guest editorial, or PSA telling parents how they can help their kids learn during the summer.
- Hold a sidewalk art show demonstrating student work.
- Place a quiz on the school district in the local newspaper.
- Consider an end-of-the-year bash for members.
- Ask local business people to give discounts for National Teacher Day.
- Sponsor an entertainment night for community members, school board members, and administrators.
- May is American Lung Association Clean Air Campaign Month, National Arthritis Month, Safe Babies Month, and more. Pick a topic and plan an event!
- Evaluate your year. How can you improve your communications plan next year?
- Make sure the association has said “thank you” to association volunteers, etc.
- Have a picnic!