Leadership magazine March/April 2018 V47 No. 4 | Page 21

needs of all learners, the incorporation of local decision making, or the focus on mul- tiple measures. Rhonda Buss, director of secondary schools in the ABC Unified School District, focuses on the decision-making perspective when she works with principals who explain the Dashboard. “Proactively delivering information about the Dashboard and using the information to tell an accurate story will ensure every- one is on the same page when making de- cisions about accelerating student success in schools,” she said. Considering these shifts, think about the audience and identify the points that will resonate most strongly with them. Make sure to minimize the points that do not work and be sure to consider the message tone and vocabulary, make it your own but be sure to relate with the audience as much as possible. Planning what you are going to say is critical to successful advocacy. Don’t just fly by the seat of your pants. Start with your message framework, analyze the audience, and tailor your message. Utilize your notes; the many resources available on the Dash- board are a great place to begin but don’t write them into a script. Identify your main talking points and be able to speak to them. Organize your remarks: tell them what you are going to say, say it, then tell them what you said. Choose the right spokesperson Not just anyone can deliver a message, and sometimes the best messengers are not the first ones that come to mind. Joe Pub- lic is most impressed with two key messen- gers in public education: the teacher and the principal. Study after study note that these are the two most credible and trustworthy representatives in public education. Know- ing that, what can you do to carefully select your spokesperson? When it comes to Dashboard data, grab those principals and train them up. Similar to sentence starters used in primary grade writing lessons, bring principals up to speed on both the district data, the deeper dive into their site data, and the overall message you want communicated to parents and the school communities. Having a lead teacher or two is also highly effective, as those individuals have connec- tions with parents in the school as well as with their colleagues on staff who also need to walk through the data, the stories it tells and the next steps. But choose wisely, as some communities may not understand the complexities and need a messenger who can remain calm, cool and collected, especially with the media. Get ready to speak Before you begin to talk, remember to breathe, smile and speak slowly. Plan to make eye contact with three points of the group and while you should gesture while speaking, try not to do it too much or it will be a distraction. Avoid jargon whenever possible and try to minimize filler words or breaks such as “um,” “so,” “like” and “you know.” Stick to your notes and practice, practice, practice. The more experience you have talk- ing about the Dashboard, the more familiar and more comfortable you will be in sharing March | April 2018 21