Communicating with your Communicators: Leaving No Stone Unturned

Effective Advocacy is knowing your own situation and constantly tailoring communication efforts to have maximum impact. There definitely is a “one size doesn’t fit all” and you certainly have to find what works best in your own situation.  The following paragraph contains a personal “communications make-over” example followed by additional procedures for our consideration and finally, I will be asking for your expertise and input (yes, there is a test at the end!).

Maximizing our Communication Efforts with Building Principals:

For Music/Arts Program Leaders, effective communication with building leadership is crucial. We also know that these administrators are inundated with e-mail communication from a variety of support/service centers – from the After-School Program Office to the Work-order desk. How can we make sure our “noteworthy news” doesn’t get lost in their inbox? A successful initiative in my district has been to funnel department items/information for Principals into the appropriate grade-level Superintendent’s Weekly newsletter. (Possible topics include: Music Personnel Guidelines/Support, Upcoming League Concert/Festival Dates & Details,). As a music program leader, I have found that when this inbox information has arrived via the Superintendent’s “desk”, principal awareness/responses have increased and also proved a “one-stop shop” to retrieve (all) district information. Of course the trick is for departments NOT to submit something every week so the newsletter doesn’t becomes overwhelming.

  • What other communication procedures are in for us to have a maximum impact?
  • Is Music Information visible and quickly accessible on our district website homepage?
  • Are Tip Sheets easily available to quickly submit music news to your district’s Marketing Office/News Media Department?
  • Are Music Updates/Good News Items regularly shared at Board of Education Meetings?
  • Are community and university partnerships in place promoted and advertised?
  • Are Local Music Merchants actively involved in district events?
  • Are music/arts grants and or national music recognitions being submitted? (Ex. NAMM’s Best Communities in Music Ed.)

The list above is only a start and I want to encourage you to share your own creative (sometimes out of the box) suggestions & success stories regarding effective Music Program Leader communication and advocacy. We all are meeting ourselves coming and going so please, sound the trumpets!

Author Shawn Chastain is NAfME’s Southwestern Division Representative for the National Council of Music Program Leaders and serves as Executive Coordinator of Fine Arts for USD 259 – Wichita Public Schools. He can be reached at