Saturday, August 15, 2015


Over the last couple of months I have spent some time traveling and talking about the importance of celebrating our students, telling our school stories and thinking about our brand as educators and especially educational leaders. As these presentations, discussions and conversations have unfolded, I keep coming back to one word... transparency! It is clear to me that being transparent and developing high levels of transparency are critical to successfully telling our school stories and creating a brand that is rooted in a positive culture and identity that permeates the entire community.

This is my theory... hear me out for a minute... I believe that educators who are highly transparent (I am just focusing on the professional world at this point because high levels of transparency in one's personal world can go either way) tend to engage their students, colleagues and families in the community on a different level because they are often powerful storytellers; 

I believe that educators who are highly transparent (assuming it is authentic stuff... remember, the brand experience must match the brand promise) tend to connect with the students, staff and community around them on a deeper level because what they share is consistent and visible to all; 

I believe that educators who are transparent can develop relational trust with and within their community because their message will be loud, consistent and visible to everyone! The message these educators are sharing will be rooted in their beliefs and the non-negotiables that are in the best interest of children... that all leads to trust! Kids, families and colleagues will trust you if they know what you are doing, why you are doing it and that it is best for kids!

I believe educators who develop trusting relationships (thanks to Melinda, Amber, Pernille, Todd, Leah, Curt, Jay, George, Jimmy, Eric, Tom, Jeff, Jessica, Lisa, Vicki, Peter, John, Brad, Tim & Tom to name a few for reminding me of this each day) and within their communities then build a significant amount of social capital... and that is the proverbial gold mine... social capital!

Social capital is defined by Google as... 

  1. the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.

When we, as educators, amass social capital within our communities we have the foundation for enacting change, trying new things and telling our school stories because there are trusting relationships at the core that were developed by being consistently transparent!

So, are tech tools such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook important for telling our school story and branding our space? Absolutely because technology allows us to amplify our school story beyond the four walls of our school and accelerate the building of healthy relationships within our community and beyond! Are pictures of students and staff in action important for telling our school story and branding our space? Absolutely because pictures are engaging and allow us to go from "information sharers" to storytellers who are shaping the narrative of our community (thanks Joe for helping me learn and understand this notion) and contributing to the developing healthy relationships. 

Yes - there are many pieces that must be in place to successfully tell our stories and celebrate our students but at the core must be a positive culture and identity that is developed through high levels of transparency and built on healthy relationships! So, as we kick off the new school year, I implore my fellow educators to embrace the notion of being highly transparent (at least on a professional level) because...

leads to
Relational Trust
which helps build
Social Capital
which must be in place to be