Successful Schools = Successful People

Recently, I read an article from the Journal of School Public Relations. It talked about the results of surveys of 20,000 students, parents, and schools and their thoughts on their schools. The findings of the surveys were fascinating and the author generated ten tips for various roles in the schooling process. I edited them a bit and changed the word “winning” to “successful.” Still, I think they serve as an excellent guidepost for all of us involved in American Public Schools; teachers, principals, administrators, board members, students, and parents. I am working on my thoughts for a top ten list for other categories of school employees, but until then I thought these were very useful.


  • Know their stuff.
  • Help students and parents know them as a professional and as a person.
  • Show parents the agenda.
  • Clearly communicate what they expect from both students and parents.
  • Make learning fun.
  • Address bad behavior.
  • Report progress twice as often as you think you should.
  • Coach your class one students at a time.
  • Keep homework and home projects reasonable.
  • Celebrate each child’s success.


  • Are champions of reading, writing, and technology use.
  • Make discipline fair and equitable.
  • Stand for something.
  • Keep the school clean, outside and inside.
  • Create a culture of competence and caring.
  • Exude enthusiasm.
  • Listen- really listen to staff, students, and parents.
  • Know people’s names.
  • Be on good terms with bus drivers.
  • Serve a good lunch and breakfast.


  • Have a vision.
  • Develop broad horizons and deep perspectives.
  • Are competent.
  • Are organized.
  • Think service, inside and out.
  • Anticipate.
  • Play defense and offense.
  • Champion children.
  • Know what’s happening in the schools.
  • Keep asking how your work is helping students achieve.


  • Know their role.
  • Are team players.
  • Are good listeners and hear what people say.
  • Ask questions to learn.
  • Explain their point of view.
  • Hold opinions about issues, not people.
  • Swear off hidden agendas.
  • Look and act professionally.
  • Conduct school business at board meetings only.
  • Understand the big things and don’t’ get bogged down by the little things.


  • Are prepared for class.
  • Look and act interested.
  • Participate, asking questions and contributing suggestions.
  • Give their best.
  • Ask for help when their best comes up short.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do their homework.
  • Show their manners.
  • Treat others with respect and dignity.
  • Read whatever they can whenever they can… just for the fun of it.


  • Know what’s going on.
  • Understand how their child is doing.
  • Set standards, expectations, and consequences for their child.
  • Open and maintain dialogue with teachers.
  • Are there when needed.
  • Are never apathetic about school.
  • Understand that schools can’t raise their child.
  • Model life-long learning.
  • Tell their children about the importance of education… every chance they get.