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October 2020

Don’t forget:
We’re all in this together

by Ken DeSieghardt

In the midst of the pandemonium caused by the pandemic (see what I did there?) succumbing to an “oh, woe is me” attitude can be very easy for school district leaders.
After all, you are the ones who spent your summers creating learning models that sought to maintain the quality of education while allowing everyone to do so from a safe distance – oftentimes over the now all-too-familiar Zoom platform.
You also enforce the mask mandates that keep interaction safer during these uncertain times — but that nobody likes. You shift your approaches to dispensing meals, sometimes on a daily or weekly basis. And, let's not forget, you deal with parents and others who say, among other things, “This is America. Kids need to be in school!
Not exactly the reasons you chose education as a career, I would imagine. Yet, from what I have observed from working with school districts over the last six months or so, you are handling the challenges like a champion. For that, you should be celebrated. Instead, you are often dealing with the second-guessers in your world who opine freely about what the school district should do.
You know what drives these nattering nabobs? Grief over the loss of control.
Considering how everything that happens as we putter along in our daily lives bears little to no resemble to the same activities in, say, March of this year, we’ve all been thrown into a tailspin.
However, if you can bite your tongue a little bit and practice the following, you will, at worst, keep good relationships, and, perhaps, build ones that are stronger than before.
Say “Thank you.” A lot. Appreciation for each other has slipped during this upsetting time. You can set a new Gold Standard by doling out the “Thank yous” often – even when it’s you who should be thanked for a good deed.
Listen and acknowledge. Thanking people for their input is a way of affirming that individuals matter, without promising anything tangible. You remain in charge, while the other person feels good about the encounter.
Overcommunicate. Patron Insight tells school districts, “If you ever think you have communicated something often enough, the answer is always, ‘No, you will never reach that finish line.’ ” Now, more than ever, keep pounding the pavement to get the news out.

OCAC™ off and running

At a time when engagement between school districts and stakeholder groups is so important, it’s nearly impossible to rely on what used to be the tried-and-true methods.
But while the landscape continues to shift, the need for connection remains. And Patron Insight has figured out how to make that connection happen, with our Online Citizens Advisory Committee program for school districts, or OCAC™.
OCAC involves a quarterly online survey of individuals recruited by the district. Parents, staff, community members, business and faith leaders; the list of categories is endless for this “the more the merrier” program. With an OCAC in place in your district, you gather key, trackable data, while also building an ever-expanding group of advocates.
The St. Joseph (Mo.) School District is underway with its OCAC and we’ll be reporting on their progress in future issues of this newsletter. If you’d like to know how this very inexpensive program would work in your district, please contact Ken DeSieghardt or click here to find out more.

(Almost) Instant Research, coming in January

If you think research takes too long and is too expensive, Patron Insight will debut a new service in January that takes cares of both of those concerns for those quick, episodic research needs. Watch for information about (Almost) Instant Research in the next issue of our newsletter.

Welcome to:
• Wellsville (Kan.) USD 289 School District
Welcome back:
• Ladue (Mo.) School District
• Park Hill (Mo.) School District
• Platte County (Mo.) R-3 School District

Patron Insight, Inc
19733 Birch Street | Stilwell, KS 66085
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