Using this Toolkit to Communicate about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
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Planning Your Communication
· As you plan to communicate about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), consider these questions:
- What is your communication goal?
- Who are your audiences?
- What are the key messages you need to convey?
- What vehicles will reach these audiences?
- What timeframe will you follow?
- Who will ensure the plan is carried out?
- How will you know if people understood?
· Invite parents and community members in to discuss what AYP and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mean for your district, the challenges they present and what you’re doing to improve achievement for all students.
- By communicating early and often with your parents, community and the media, you’ll take the surprise out of AYP, create understanding about what schools are doing to comply and generate support for the work that needs to be done.
- When explaining complex programs like AYP and NCLB, face-to-face communication works best. This allows for two-way discussion and is more likely to result in messages being understood. Use the Toolkit’s Glossary of Terms on page 53 to aid in the community’s understanding of these issues. We’ve also included a list of frequently asked questions on page 47 to help you respond to common questions your community may have about AYP.
- Consider the major points of AYP and NCLB. How do they fit with Colorado’s high standards for student achievement? How do they impact your schools?
- Work with your administrators and staff to
o Identify messages connecting AYP and NCLB to the goals/mission of your school district.
o Identify what is challenging about AYP and NCLB for your school district.
o Decide how you will meet these challenges, including new initiatives and policies.
o Develop key talking points about the progress of your school district.
o Assume your audiences have little or no information about AYP and NCLB.
o Develop concise, clear messages. Don’t overwhelm your audience with technical or complex details.
o Determine how you will pay for the materials, meetings and other ways you will communicate about AYP and NCLB. Partners (like Chambers of Commerce, service clubs or associations) may be willing to share resources.
Determining Audiences and Vehicles
- A Business Roundtable national poll in 2000 found that Americans rely on teachers and other parents for credible information about schools. About 42 percent chose teachers as the most reliable source of information. That's why teachers and parents are likely to rank high on your local communication plan.
- Consider forming teams of AYP and NCLB communicators that include a business/community representative.
- Work with the education committee of your Chamber of Commerce to host an information session for business leaders on AYP and NCLB.
- Education coalitions, parent-teacher organizations, the faith community and other community groups are natural partners in communicating about AYP and NCLB. Many of them can provide information, schedule speakers and coordinate special sessions. Put information about AYP and NCLB in their newsletters. (See the Sample Article in this Toolkit.)
· The focus on subgroup performance in AYP and NCLB means that groups representing the minority populations in your community will have a special interest in this law. Contact leaders of any minority-owned businesses, media, and organizations, including the faith community, to help you reach parents and community members.
- Many school systems hold community forums, produce publications, meet with advisory groups and coordinate with the news media to communicate important information. Use materials provided in this toolkit to include AYP and NCLB in these established communications vehicles.
Developing Your Communication Plan
· A suggested communication plan is provided in this toolkit. Local teams will want to tailor the plan for their communities. By tailoring the plan, local teams can identify additional audiences, determine what communication vehicles can be used and connect messages about AYP and NCLB to the goals of their school district.
· Videotape your superintendent, board president or other credible local person talking about how your system will meet the challenges of AYP and NCLB. Use this short video clip to start discussion sessions. Consider putting it on your Web site along with other AYP information.
· Combine sample materials included in this toolkit with your key messages to reach your audiences.
· Link your school district's Web site to the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) No Child Left Behind pages at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeunified/nclb.htm and http://www.cde.state.co.us/ayp/index.asp
Broadening Your Communication Efforts
· The AYP release will be a good time to provide more information about other aspects of NCLB.
· Title I schools have specific requirements for notification of parents about specific items. Make sure these schools are complying with the requirements.
Evaluating Your Communication Activities
· Some local school systems and education partners conduct surveys of public and parent views on education. Consider adding a question regarding understanding of the federal legislation. This might be a good addition to your Web site.
· Tracking calls, e-mail contacts and evaluation form results from meetings and other sessions can help you gauge understanding of the issues.