Monday, January 4, 2010

Community Engagement in the new year

Happy New Year!

Have you made any resolutions for the new year?  I hope one thing your school district resolves to do is develop new strategies for engaging with your community.  Times have changed and one-way communication is no longer sufficient for many members of our communities.

What do we mean when we use the term "community engagement?"  We are talking about two-way communication that provides opportunity for genuine dialogue.   A recent study by Archon Fung of Harvard found that citizens are willing to participate in public affairs when new practices are used, and "politics as usual" is set aside.

There are lots of tools available to help you develop new communication habits.  Everyday Democracy offers study guides that your community can use to explore important school issues like student achievement and diversity.

Throughout 2010 I will introduce other engagement tools that can help you engage with your community in ways that will lead to productive conversations.  I welcome your stories about how your school district and community worked to practice two-way communication in the new year.

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