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Friday, September 20, 2013

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

It's a mantra I try to live by, and sometimes I think I overdo it.  Too many messages can sometimes desensitize us to the messengers.  Like the boy who cried wolf, if we communicate IMPORTANT  or URGENT messages too frequently we'll get ignored.

However, lack of, or poor communication has been one of the most troubling aspects of our new Whole Grade Sharing.  "When did you communicate that?"  "How were we supposed to know this?"  "Shouldn't that be posted in the . . . (web page, newspaper, announcements, bulletin boards, etc)"  These are the most recurring questions and complaints we've heard thus far this fall.

Many times these comments are due to not knowing where to find information.  We either choose the wrong medium for the message, or the wrong time or sometimes we just don't get it done.  Often we get caught in the past and simply assume what has always been going on is always going to work, and that is not true.   We apologize for those instances and will try to do better.

We did that recently, with a letter out to all parents of elementary age students while trying to respond to dangerous situations at the first football game.  Elementary parents were sent a note asking them to better supervise their younger students at football games.  Its not that rules have changed, or that we are trying to suck the fun right out of a ball game for anyone.  School administrators need to be managers of risk for our school district.  With larger crowds expected at all NFV games this year, it is more important than ever to take the steps necessary to keep everyone safe. When people are injured on our property, we could be held liable and that's why we've communicated these rules.  They've been in the NF elementary handbook for several years:
Elementary Student Conduct – High School Events
Elementary students and their parents are encouraged to attend North Fayette Valley High School events. It is recommended that elementary students be accompanied by an adult. Parents are expected to supervise their student(s) at these events. School standards of behavior apply to all school activities. 
Conduct – Football Games or Outdoor school events
1. No playing “tag,” organized games or football on school grounds before or during the event.
2. Do not hang or sit on the chain link fence around the track.
3. No one except cheerleaders allowed on the track.
4. No students under the bleachers. 
While its not stated, we've always told kids who would not follow these rules that they'll have to sit with their parents. We are concerned for the safety of not just the students but the adults in the crowd as well.  Last week I witnessed several small groups of young students running and weaving through the crowd of adults, even playing their version of a tackle football game within a few yards of the pressbox. That is what brought about this communication.  The desire to be clear and to make sure everyone can enjoy the game safely.

The bottom line is we recognize the importance of good communication and both districts will work towards better communications throughout this initial year of sharing.

Proud to be NFV!

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