Thursday, March 11, 2010

Principal Blogs: Who is Your Audience?

The current issue of Principal magazine contains an article I authored on the subject of principal blogs. Today's post highlights three principal blogs that I think are outstanding, each in its own way. One element that all three share is they are clear on the audience for which they are writing.

Raymond L. Young (Raymond L. Young Elementary School, Talladega, AL)
I wrote about this blog about a year ago in this post. Since that time, it has gotten even better. The focus on the accomplishments of children is the hallmark of this blog. Principal Pattie Thomas makes particularly effective use of Animoto in her posts. Blogger's new editor now allows a blog to have multiple pages. You will see that feature used in the R.L. Young blog. The audience for this blog consists of parents and community members. Teachers visit the site constantly to enjoy the sights, sounds, and information be passed along to the "R.L. Young family," but you will not see announcements meant for teachers mixed in with material meant for parents. Communication with faculty is handled another way.


Heights' Highlights (Middleton Heights Elementary School, Middleton Heights, Idaho)
Robin Gilbert created this blog at the beginning of this school year. The audience for this blog is the faculty and staff of that school. In addition to posts which are well-crafted, Ms. Gilbert has added "gadgets" down the right-hand slide allowing faculty and staff to respond to polls, view a monthly school calendar, read recent comments, or view notes of congratulation or appreciation. Like the R. L. Young, this blog uses the the multi-page feature of Blogger. Ms. Gilbert makes use of GoogleDocs as a place to store documents that faculty and staff can access electronically. She has been able to fashion a totally electronic (and free) system for handling maintenance requests using with GoogleDocs. I had done the same in my former school system, and it a huge time-saver for everyone.

Trinity Presbyterian Middle School (Montgomery, AL)
In the previous two examples, we saw a blog intended for parents/community and one intended for faculty/staff. What if you want to communicate with both groups with a blog. Principal Kerry Palmer created two blogs, one for each of those groups. I wrote about these blogs in this post. To read the blog for parents, click here. To read the blog for faculty/staff, click here. Throughout the faculty/staff blog, you will see links to other website that Mr. Palmer wants the staff to read. During a recent student trip to Washington D.C., parents were able to see pictures on a daily basis by visiting the website. 

Anyone who authors a blog needs to ask the question, "Who is your audience?" and write accordingly. This point holds especially true for principals. Letting one blog do for both audiences winds up in a blog that does a poor job in both arenas. These three principals had from the very beginning clear visions for who their audiences would be. It makes things easier for the author. It also makes things easier for the reader.
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