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Several school districts that have implemented the Evidence-Based Leadership framework will present their results at What’s Right in Education day aligned to Studer Group’s What’s Right in Healthcare™ conference this October. A recent article in EAGnews highlighted the involvement of the School District of Janesville (SDJ), Wisconsin, its board chair Bill Sodemann, who will be presenting:

According to Bill Sodemann, employment practices used to improve the performance of hospitals [e.g., improve patient and employee satisfaction; recruit, retain, and recognize top performers and deal with low performers; create results-driven culture] have worked wonders in the Janesville school district, where he serves as school board president.

“The School District of Janesville has received three national awards for student achievement and five state awards this past school year with approximately $150,000 worth of grants and awards attached to them…” (Sodemann).

“As a fellow board president, I can attest to how our district and board have grown from these experiences… [One of our presentations is titled] Digging Deep into the Data: How was the district of Janesville able to cut over $10 million and reduce staff by 110 positions and still raise student achievement, especially with minority students” (Sodemann).

What’s Right in Education presenters include board members, superintendents, and high achieving school principals from Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. The messages from each of the leaders will be clear: communication and actions must align to the vision, goals, and objectives of the district. Scott Feldt, a board member for SDJ and Deputy Treasurer for the State of Wisconsin, describes what this means at the superintendent level:

As a leader, the superintendent… create[s] the culture for the organization and set the expectations of all those who work for the district. How and what [is] communicated… significantly impacts their perception of the school district’s competency, quality, ability to meet their needs, their personal work goals and vision…. The vision will not gain traction without proper messaging.

Regardless of the value a school district places on messaging, a message will be communicated both internally and externally…. Messaging allows the district to manage, and in some respects, control its brand, or the public’s perception of the district. Through messaging, a district can accurately:

• Communicate its core values, vision/mission

• Communicate expectations to stakeholders (students, parents, employees)

• Educate stakeholders on important issues

• Communicate district successes and challenges

• Engage in dialogue with stakeholders

• Solicit support for the district, its programs and its employees

Messaging is not a specific form of communication; rather, it is a process that helps to achieve the strategic goals identified for each specific stakeholder group…. Focusing on how we communicate is essential, but we must remember messaging is the continuous communication to stakeholders on a variety of issues and topics.

The educational leaders presenting will communicate how their districts and schools improved student achievement, employee engagement, and parent satisfaction. As represented in the examples of the board members highlighted above, for each of the districts represented at What’s Right in Education the school board members were the major catalyst for ensuring change toward more accountable, aligned and transparent schools.




Scott Feldt is a member of School District of Janesville Board of Education where he is assisting the District with communications strategy and implementation. Feldt is also the Deputy Treasurer for the State of Wisconsin. Feldt has implemented a communications strategy for the Treasurer’s office that has led to appearances ABC’s Good Morning America three separate times in 2011 in addition to numerous appearances in print, radio and television media in Wisconsin. In addition, he established a social media strategy that has led to a continuous increase (twofold and threefold) in followers of various social media (website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). Feldt is co-founder of Total Media Strategies, a communications consulting firm that specializes in assisting local governments in achieving their communications goals.

Skinner, Victor. No Date. Onference brings successful employment tools used in hospitals to education,” EAGnews.org. Retrieved 08.22.2012 here.

What’s Right in Education is a one day conference presented by superintendents, board members, and school leaders with proven results in student achievement, parent satisfaction, workforce engagement, and service excellence. Registration fee is $100. Visit us at http://www.studereducation.com/wrie2012 for conference information and to register online.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, the recipient of a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.