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Running Head: COMMUNICATION LEADERSHIP

Andrews University

School of Education

A Reflection Paper for Competency 2A – Effective Communication

Pursuant to the Requirement for LEAD 675: Portfolio Development -Communication

by

Dawn Peterson

Summer 2018

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1

THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS ......................................................................................... 2

What is Communication? ................................................................................................................ 2

Why is Communication Important? .................................................................................... 2


Best Practices for Communication ..................................................................................... 4
Build Trust ..................................................................................................................... 4
Embrace Change ............................................................................................................ 5
Build Community Rapport ............................................................................................. 5
Develop a Communication Plan .................................................................................... 6
Communication as Public Relations ................................................................................... 8
Teachers and Parents...................................................................................................... 8
Crucial Conversations ......................................................................................................... 9
APPLYING THEORY TO PRACTICE ....................................................................................... 14

Past Experiences ........................................................................................................................... 14

KEY LEARNINGS ....................................................................................................................... 19

Looking to the Future.................................................................................................................... 19

Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 20

References Cited.......................................................................................................................... 21

APPENDIX A ............................................................................................................................... 23

Artifacts......................................................................................................................................... 23

APPENDIX B ............................................................................................................................... 26

Figures........................................................................................................................................... 26

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Introduction

In this paper, I aim to discuss the importance of effective communication with others as it

pertains to the role of leadership. The Leadership Program Handbook (2017-2018) states

“Leadership fosters effective communication in all internal and external interactions, to establish

and maintain cooperative relationships” (p. 20). While this paper focuses on communication, it

will be considered from the perspective of the importance of leadership in the area of school,

family, and community communications and will be a culmination of research and experiences

reflecting my personal journey using effective communication.

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THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS

What is Communication?

Communication can be defined as “‘a two-way process of convergence’ (Rogers, 2003),

in which information is shared by both parties and mutually beneficial relationships are forged

between individuals, groups, and organizations, including schools and the families they serve”

(Heath, Maghrabi, & Carr, 2015, p. 364). Barron (2018) states that “communication isn’t a goal,

it’s a tool to cultivate relationships” (p. 10).

Man has communicated since the beginning of creation. God created Adam and Eve and

communicated with them in the Garden of Eden. We are told they enjoyed visits from the angels

and “were granted communication with their Maker, with no obscuring veil” (White, 1890, p.

50.3). God desires to develop relationships with us, but with the fall to sin, we have been cut off

from the direct communication that Adam and Eve were privileged with. It was through the

death of Christ that He established a new line of communication with fallen man.

In taking upon Himself humanity, our Savior unites His interests with those of the fallen sons
and daughters of Adam, while through His divinity He grasps the throne of God. And thus
Christ is the medium of communication of men with God, and of God with men. (White,
1898, p. 143)
Why is Communication Important?

God loves us so much that he desires to have a relationship with us. This relationship can

only be built with communication that goes both ways. When communication breaks down on

either side, chaos occurs and relationships deteriorate. The tower of Babel is a prime example of

broken communication. When God confused their language, the entire project came to a halt

(Gen 11:1-9).

The apostle Paul, in his letter to Philemon, gives us another reason for communication,

and that is to share the gospel with others. He suggests, "the communication of thy faith may

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become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus”

(Philemon 1:6 (KJV)). From this, I draw the conclusion that we need to develop effective

communication as a way to build relationships that will draw others to Christ’s saving grace. For

the purposes of this paper, that will relate to communication with schools, families and

communities.

So then, what is effective communication, how does a leader foster good communication,

how do we nurture parental involvement, and how does it relate to education?

In a research report of 51 studies, Henderson and Mapp (2002), show there is a positive

correlation between family and community involvement and improved student academic

achievement including higher test scores, grade point average, better attendance, and higher

enrollment in more challenging classes just to name a few. Amazingly, this holds true across all

boundaries including economic, race, backgrounds and student age (Cary, 2006, pp. 6-7). What

this tells us is that parent involvement is vital to the educational wellbeing of their children

(Henderson & Mapp, 2002, p. 7).

Well-crafted communication is the key to building an atmosphere of trust and respect

(Porterfield & Carnes, 2014). Porterfield and Carnes (2014) warn that “high-quality

communication does not occur accidentally” (p. xxi) but is the result of leadership that gives

thoughtful, intentional effort toward building relationships with their stakeholders. According to

Heath et al (2015), effective communication “entails listening and responding as well as the

frequent flow of communication” (p. 364).

Meeting the communication needs of stakeholders is a requirement for those in

educational leadership and unfortunately, many of the methods traditionally used are outdated.

Our audiences are more mobile than ever and want information to be more like soundbites,

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bulleted lists, and immediately available 24/6/365 (Heath et al., 2015; Porterfield & Carnes,

2014). Today’s parents have gotten used to companies offering better and better customer

experience and unfortunately schools have been slow on the uptake of what is considered by

some as best practice for companies that want to survive.

Communication can help to close this gap of expectations. Schools and their leaders

need to learn how to enrich communication in ways that will continue to build strong supportive

relationships, and gain parental participation.

Best Practices for Communication

How do we build better communication within our schools, families and communities?

Porterfield and Carnes (2014) walk us through what they consider to be the most important ways

that schools can encourage better communication. They remind us of the different times in

which we are living. Years ago, schools were considered the authority in the best way to educate

children. They were trusted with everything from textbook choices to discipline. But that is not

the case anymore. Parents want to be involved in every aspect of their child’s life. Parents now

question everything and trust that was once automatic, now must be earned.

Build Trust

Building trust is a brick by brick matter. Each encounter must communicate respect,

competence and integrity (Porterfield & Carnes, 2014). From the janitor to the secretary that

answers the phones. Every person connected to the school must understand the importance of

their actions and words. Integrity is built when both words and actions both speak to their

commitment to the school.

In their book titled, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High,

Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Swizler (2011), submit the importance of finding mutual

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purpose when engaging in conversations. They suggest that this is one way to show that you

care about stakeholder’s “goals, interests, and values” (p. 77). When conversations include

concern for others, it shows respect and integrity.

Embrace Change

As mentioned above, the parents of today’s children are different than those of earlier

times, which requires educational leaders to change their communication methods. Today’s

parents have grown up in the digital age and expect information to flow freely in both directions.

Leaders must move to digital communication rather than rely solely on the traditional paper

newsletters. Schools can also support better communication by offering a healthy current

website designed to give parents instant access to the information they need. This could include

downloadable permission slips for field trips, accurate up-to-date calendar and current grades,

enrollment forms etc.

Transparency is expected with this digital generation. They are problem solvers by

nature and an opportunity to work with the school would go a long way toward building loyalty

and relationships (Porterfield & Carnes, 2014). This group also tend to be more community

centered and socially conscious (Brack, 2012).

Build Community Rapport

Successful leaders stimulate community engagement with the school. The old phrase ‘it

takes a village…’ is astute. Parents and community have much to offer the school program, but

unless relationships have been built, they may not feel welcome to participate. Opening the

doors and welcoming their participation is not a one-time offer. It needs to become ‘the way we

do it here’. In his book Schools that Learn, Peter Senge (2012) suggests schools that learn find

ways to adapt and grow by building a shared vision together with the stakeholders.

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Cary (2006) suggests that schools who create ways to “embrace a philosophy of

partnership where power and responsibility are shared” (p. 10) make greater gains in

standardized tests. Barth (2002) and Brandt (1998) believe that “schools connected with its

cultural community enjoys school pride, open communication, productivity, cooperation,

widespread involvement, sense of cohesiveness and acts of caring and sharing” (as cited by Cary,

2006, p. 11).

Understanding how important community participation can be on student learning,

Porterville and Carnes (2014) state,

Leaders who authentically engage the community start with the belief that the stubborn gaps
in educating all children for the twenty-first century only are filled by involving the
community and valuing the ideas and experiences they bring to the table. We’re not talking
about lip service here. Instead, we’re asking for open acknowledgement that the schools
ideas alone are no longer enough. (p. 42)
Leaders who are open to community participation look for ways to invite the community to

participate. They take advantage of suggestions and interest in even the little offers of

participation. Savvy leaders learn to listen to what is being said as well as what is not being said

in order to build better relationships.

Develop a Communication Plan

In every classroom across the nation, students participate in required fire drills. They are

practicing a plan set into motion with the future in mind. If there were no plan in place when a

fire threatens the school, children would run the risk of endangering themselves and others. This

is the reason teachers take care to regularly practice the prescribed plan in case of fire. The same

can be said of the importance of a communication plan. Plans are best made before there is a

need. Thus, every school should have a well thought out plan for good communication for the

future.

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Before trouble comes, the leadership should learn to anticipate potential pitfalls toward

future goals and programs by planning good communication as part of the program. This also

becomes part of good public relations. “In one study (Grunig 2002), corporate CEO’s with

excellent communication programs reported a 225% return on their investment in public

relations” (as cited by Porterfield & Carnes, 2014, p. 52).

Porterfield and Carnes (2014) espouse that the best communication “plans are based on

research that identifies the various stakeholders who will be influenced by the program and both

what they believe and what they need” (p. 53). This offers school leadership the opportunity to

engage the community as stakeholders to participate in the future of the school in the form of

volunteers, forums, and partnerships.

A good communication plan allows leadership to circulate information regarding a

specific upcoming program or about the school, build collaborative relationship with

stakeholders, and influence stakeholders for the benefit of the school (Porterfield & Carnes,

2014). They list ten items they believe could be part of the communication plan depending on

the program designed. These items are: mission, research, audiences, assumptions, messages,

delivery systems, timelines, responsible persons or departments, available resources, and

evaluation.

Planning for future communication needs, while designing new programs, will allow the

leadership to address potential concerns before they come up. People like to feel as though they

have the information necessary when making decisions. If new programs routinely communicate

information the stakeholders need, they will be more likely to engage in a more trusting

relationship. That is the goal of good communication: to build strong relationships.

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Communication as Public Relations

In his presentation given at the 2018 North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist

Teacher’s Convention, Scott Barron spoke to principals about the importance of good

communication. He shared the words of the old song “I heard it on the Grapevine” (Whitefield

& Strong, 1968), and reminded those present that schools have their own grapevine that is

always active. Schools can thrive or fail on the information that is passed on. There are several

key concepts that are important to look at on this subject.

Teachers and Parents

A school’s best assets are the faculty and staff and even the students, but they can also be

the worst. How the faculty speak about the school and fellow staff outside the school walls can

be detrimental. If there are workplace issues such as lack of trust, constant bickering, workplace

bullying, unsafe working conditions etc., these will tend to leak out as frustrations rise. What

could appear to be an innocent conversation with a store teller can become bad publicity for the

school. This is concerning because according to Hunter (2005), “research shows that generally

teacher’s opinions about a school are more highly regarded by parents and citizens than those of

the principal, superintendent, or members of the school board” (as cited by Porterfield & Carnes,

2014, p. 65). Many times parents only have relationships with the teacher and do not even know

the names of the other employees at the school. Their opinions can also be shaped by the stories

brought home from their children. If teachers and staff have this kind of influence, then it is vital

that teaching the importance of good communication skills is important.

Barron (2018) states that “people derive the value of their relationship with you based on

the sequence in which you share information” (p. 33). He suggests that the best sequence for the

sharing of information is upward (those to whom you are responsible to), outward (to those who

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share responsibility with you), down (to those whom you are responsible for), and around (to

everyone else). By following this sequence the appropriate information is disseminated in a fair

and timely way. This allows for surprises to be minimum and for the entire staff to feel valued.

Crucial Conversations

In spite of a person’s best efforts, many times there are topics or conversations that have

the potential to become inflammatory. Patterson et al. (2011) refer to these as “crucial

conversations” which they define as “ a discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes

are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong” (pp. 3-4). For teachers, every

conversation they have with parents can become a crucial conversation because parents are

emotionally attached to their children. Teachers and leaders that find methods to deal with these

conversations become an invaluable asset to the school. Learning to diffuse angry students,

parents, and faculty instead of going on the defensive is an important part of leadership.

According to Patterson et al. (2011), there are tools available that can help diffuse difficult or

emotionally challenging conversations.

As mentioned earlier, the goal of good communication is to build relationships, which

requires the “free flow of relevant information” (Patterson et al., 2011, p. 23) known as dialogue.

Dialogue by definition needs both parties to participate in the sharing of ideas, beliefs, and

understanding. The sharing of information is important as it allows for collaboration. One idea

builds upon another and by the time everyone has shared, the end result can be very different

than what started in the beginning.

Conversely, because participation in dialogue is a choice, the question that must be asked

is, ‘why has this person chosen to withdraw from the dialogue’? Patterson et al. (2011)

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postulates that this is likely due to the lack of feeling safe. Individuals feeling threatened usually

respond in one of two ways, either silence or violence.

Patterson et al. (2011) warns that when people are not involved, silent even to the point of

not participating in the conversation, they are signaling their lack of support to the final decision.

Silence is “almost always done as a means of avoiding potential problems” (Patterson et al.,

2011, p. 58). Some people are uncomfortable with conflict and find it easier to withdraw

completely. Do not take their silence as agreement, it is merely a signal of their fear.

The other way people respond to feeling threatened, is verbal violence. They attempt to

coerce others to agree with them, placing derogatory labels on others, and attacking others in an

attempt to change their point of view (Patterson et al., 2011). Samuel Butler once said, “He that

complies against his will is of his own opinion still” (as cited by Patterson et al., 2011, p. 26).

How does one avoid these pitfalls in communication? The best communicators recognize

that many times they contribute to the problem and must therefore seek to find a way to move the

dialogue back into a safe place by finding shared beliefs, goals, and respect (Patterson et el.,

2011). Finding mutual purpose and mutual respect for others and the conversation forces leaders

to look at what is in their own heart. Is the motive for the conversation clear? Is the

teacher/principal willing to work on themselves first before they attempt to fix others? Do they

show respect for others? Is there a willingness to apologize? Kotter and Cohen (2011) remind

us that the “heart of change is in the emotions” (p. 682). Recognizing that once hearts are

involved, the teacher is more likely to follow through with the necessary changes that must take

place to bring the conversation back to a safe place for both individuals. Asking the questions,

“what do I really want for myself? What do I really want for others [this child or parent]? [and]

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What do I really want for the relationship?....[Then] clarify what you really don’t want”

(Patterson et al., 2011, pp. 44-46).

Sometimes conversations can move from a position of safety to emotionally charged and

unsafe very quickly. This is particularly common when parents feel that they or their child is

being attacked. Leadership that learns to watch the following areas can break the dangerous

progression into unsafe territory. These areas include; “content and conditions…when things

become crucial…safety problems…[and] if others are moving toward silence or violence”

(Patterson et al., 2011, p. 72). Skilled communicators learn to watch as well as listen as they are

in the conversation.

Patterson et al. (2011) give several techniques a school official can use to evaluate what

they call a “path to action” (p. 105). They make two claims. First, that feelings/emotions are not

thrust upon a person without their permission. Each person actually makes the decision for

themselves about how to respond to outside stimuli. Second, there is a choice how to respond.

One can either learn to control the emotions or be controlled by them. One way they suggest

learning to master the emotions is to work through the path to action.

The following figure shows the progression that takes place when confronted with

potentially emotional information. The first step, see and hear relates to what others say or

Figure 1. Path to Action (Patterson et al., 2011, p. 102)

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what they do. This is the potentially emotional information that a person has a choice to respond

to. The second step is critical. Immediately upon hearing or seeing, the mind attempts to add

meaning to the new information. The mind automatically and without conscious awareness

generates the most likely story based on most recent though not necessarily the most accurate

context. Kahneman (2011) explains this process as two parts of the brain.

• System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of
voluntary control.
• System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including
complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the
subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration. (p. 20-21)
This automatic response from System 1 is the ‘story’ the brain tells. But when System 2 is

engaged, the brain stops to critically evaluate the more likely reasons for the information such as

the motive for the behavior, the why, what, and how. The answers to these questions become the

story that drives responsive feelings. These stories then lead to feelings. The individual then has

the opportunity to make a choice of how to feel. Lastly, the individual has the choice of best

course of action or response to what was said or done.

Unfortunately, with all this taking place in the middle of conversations, it’s no surprise

one forgets to engage System 2 to think critically and pay attention to the signs of safety either

for themselves or others. For the teacher or principal, taking the time to evaluate during heated

conversations with parents or students can lead toward a building of trust and encourage healthy

relationships.

Another technique suggested by Patterson et al. (2011) when conversations have the

potential to be derailed by emotions is to use the acronym STATE as a reminder of a way to stay

on focus.

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• Share your facts. Start with the least controversial, most persuasive elements

from your Path to Action.

• Tell your story. Explain what you’re beginning to conclude.

• Ask for others’ paths. Encourage others to share both their facts and their stories.

• Talk tentatively. State your story as a story–don't disguise it as a fact.

• Encourage testing. Make it safe for others to express differing or even opposing

views. (p. 154)

This type of active communication takes effort and time to establish into a habit, but

when relationships are on the proverbial line, school leaders must make the effort to have the

best dialogs possible for the sake of the school community. Research shows that “good

communication builds cooperation and teamwork, innovation and creativity. Good

communication builds a climate of resiliency. It fosters the enthusiastic support of the

community. Good communication undergirds the best teaching and learning” (Porterfield &

Carnes, 2014, p. 233).

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APPLYING THEORY TO PRACTICE

Past Experiences

In this section of the paper I want to share how I have used communication skills in the

past. As with all areas of leadership, there have been times when I have communicated well, and

times when I wished I had more tools in my proverbial toolbox. Unfortunately, because of the

years since many of these experiences took place, I no longer have access to examples of my

written work such as the various newsletters that I have produced so I am short of artifacts.

Merriam-Webster defines communication as 1) “A process by which information is

exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior”, and

2) “a verbal or written message” (Merriam-Webster, 2018). I have used various platforms for

communication over the years. I have used verbal when teaching Revelation in my current

Sabbath school class, communicating in my classroom in a ‘beginning of the year’ meeting with

the parents in my kindergarten classroom, and with friends and families.

In the classroom, I have been known to use videos and pictures to enhance what I’m

teaching in the classroom. For instance, when I was teaching about inventing (part of our

science curriculum) to grades K-2, I found pictures and videos of various inventions that showed

current examples of the inventing process from a young person’s perspective.

Lastly, my written communication has over the years grown especially since entering

graduate school. I tend to be a ‘techy’ type of person, so I have easily adopted the digital world

as it has evolved. I remember when WordStar was the word-processing platform that most PC’s

used which eventually was replaced by Microsoft’s Word and then their Publisher programs. I

became familiar with both and used them to make flyers, church bulletins, calendars and

newsletters. Many of the newsletters that I will mention below were created on those programs.

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Then as the digital age moved forward, I learned how to communicate on the web by using web

page editing programs to keep current. Communication is a way of life, but many times we

might regret the lack of good communicating skills when evaluating experiences of the past. I

will also share those experiences in this section of the paper.

The first official written communication that I remember creating for the workplace was

for the parents in my kindergarten class at Bakersfield Adventist Academy. Every Friday of the

school year, I sent home a newsletter that told the parents what their child learned that week,

what to expect the following week, and what special activities were planned for the future such

as field trips or classroom parties. I believed it was important to keep the parents involved in the

details of their child’s education. This allowed the parents to reinforce at home the items learned

during the past week. My parents enjoyed this weekly update and because children at this age

are eager to share with their parents, these newsletters actually made it home compared to those

sent by the teachers of older students. This was prior to the digital boom that allowed parents to

easily use technology to access information.

As part of my training as a Mary Kay consultant, I was taught that communication is the

lifeblood of my business. Learning how to communicate with others is vital in the business of

sales. In regards to our interaction with others Mary Kay often said that she tried “to imagine

him [or her] wearing an invisible sign that says: MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT” (Ash, 1984,

p. 15). She reminded us that “no matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other

person feel important” (p. 15). One way of communicating that others are important is our

ability to listen to what they have to say. It is often said that “God gave us two ears but only one

mouth”. Sadly, we are taught at school how to read, write and speak, but not how to listen (Ash,

1994). To help consultants better understand our clients and team members, part of our training

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included personality tests such as DISC profiles. The profiles helps us to understand ourselves

and others.

It was with this training that I built my client base and team. Using the techniques taught

by Mary Kay, I trained my team members the same way I was trained. I praised them to success,

and encouraged them to learn from their mistakes and move forward. I had weekly

success/training meetings in my home and sent out monthly newsletters, encouragement cards,

text messages and phone calls. It was because of my ability to communicate with my team and

customers that we were able by God’s grace to win the use of a Pontiac Vibe for a year with

Mary Kay (artifact 1).

Later, at Lodi Adventist Elementary, I was employed as the school secretary and part of

my duties were to create and send out a monthly newsletter that was in traditional paper form as

well as published on the school website which I was also in charge of updating on a regular

basis.

In my next position I experienced both joy and sadness in my communication skills. I

was the lead teacher for room 3 which consisted of infants aged six weeks to fifteen months. It

was my job to communicate effectively with the parents about the daily care of their babies

(artifact 2). Parents were often asking me to send them pictures of their babies. Because we

were now living in the digital age where parents expected instant access to pictures of their

babies, I set up iCloud photo sharing with each of the parents. It allowed them access to the

many pictures we took of their babies, while not requiring them to sign waivers allowing other

access to their pictures because they were the only party allowed to view the photos of their

babies. This visual communication became very popular to the parents. They were able to be

part of the developmental growth their babies experienced while in our care.

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Another important form of communication I was required to participate in was informing

the parents what needs their children required. At our daycare, the parents provided the diapers,

creams and formula/breastmilk for their babies. It was my job to send out notices about

inventory levels and this was done in a form sent home on Fridays (artifact 3).

Lastly, part of my job as lead teacher was to incorporate the parent’s personal desires for

their child. While we were a daycare, we always attempted to let the parent participate in the

care of their baby. An example of this was how we would put the baby down for a nap. Some

parents wanted us to rock with babies to sleep while others wanted their baby to put themselves

to sleep in their crib. We attempted to accommodate these desires. I was my job to

communicate these to the other caregivers in the room. It was my goal to develop a trusting

relationship with each parent. After all, I was taking care of their precious babies.

These were the areas I excelled in, unfortunately, this is also the position where I

struggled the most in communicating with one particular co-worker. My co-worker and I had

different values. I began to realize that she only followed the parental desires if it was

convenient for her and would lie to the parents about the specifics of the care we gave. This was

devastating for me because I had worked hard to have a positive relationship with each parent.

Our communication broke down the longer we worked together because I wouldn’t lie to the

parents about various aspects of their care such as whether to use a pacifier or not. Some parents

didn’t care but others were adamant that no pacifier be used. Conversations about items like

these with parents had the potential to quickly become crucial conversations (Patterson et al.,

2011). Unfortunately, they also became crucial between my co-worker and myself. Looking

back at this experience through the lens of what I leaned from Patterson et al. (2011), I should

have watched out for the behavioral responses from my co-workers and attempted to move us

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back to a point of safety and finding mutual purpose and respect. Using the strategies suggested

might have saved me and the rest of the caregivers in my room much stress and anxiety.

In the past, I have had very little interest in social media sites such as Facebook, but

recently I realized that I was missing out on an important form of communication for today’s

homeschooling parent. There are several Adventist homeschooling groups on Facebook that

have graciously allowed me to join them so that I could share a study I was running. Several just

asked that I share the results with them once they are available. In fact, it was almost entirely

through Facebook and LinkedIn that I received the 215 responses for the homeschooling study

“Why Parents Choose to Homeschool”. We received responses from all over the United States

as well as Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, and a few other countries. In today’s digital age, making

use of social media is an important aspect of communication.

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KEY LEARNINGS

Looking to the Future

As I look to the future, I honestly have no idea of the plan that the Lord has in mind for

me. But as I have read and learned in the course of my studies on communication, I realized that

whatever I am called to do, I will use the skills learned. As I move forward toward creating a

bridge between Adventist education and Adventist homeschoolers, my plan is to be specific in

planning the best way to communicate with each group. As Porterfield and Carnes (2014)

suggested, all new programs must include a communication plan as part of the roll out. This

means that as I move forward, I hope to communicate in diverse ways, using all modes of

communication.

Living in the digital age means making use of social media as a method of

communication. As mentioned previously, I have recently learned the importance of using this

form of communication and I plan to become proficient in the future.

Another important piece to the communication puzzle is that Adventist schools need to

do a better job communicating what they offer homeschooling families in their communities.

Many schools seem to allow homeschoolers to participate in some aspects of the school program

but have done very little to promote this to their stakeholders. Homeschooling families may not

even be aware of what the school is currently offering. Better promotion, such as a pamphlet

specifically for the homeschooling parent, that delineates what the school offers could help the

families meet perceived gaps in their home education. If marketed well, this could bring extra

revenue to the school.

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Conclusion

Communication is an important part toward building lasting relationships. Whether it’s

by written word, verbal, non-verbal, or even listening we all communicate something. It is

imperative for those in educational leadership to incorporate best practices in regards to their

communication with others. For those in educational leadership, that means finding ways to

communicate with a diverse group of stakeholders. Effectively communicating the needs of the

school, students, school board, and the community using a multi-method communication plan

will help strengthen the school and the community. When educational leadership learns the

skills to diffuse emotionally charged conversations, better relationships will follow.

It is my goal to use the theories and plans suggested in this paper as I seek to follow

God’s plan for my work within the educational community as well as within my personal

relationships. I believe that we must ever be open to learning and growing and I’m looking

forward toward practicing these methods in the future.

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References Cited

Ash, M. K. (1984). Mary Kay on people management (Warner Books ed.). New York: Warner
Books.

Ash, M. K. (1994). Miracles happen: The life and timeless principles of the founder of Mary Kay
Inc (Third ed.). New York: HarperCollins

Barron, S. (August 2018). Laws of the grapevine. Paper presented at the NAD Teachers
Convention, Chicago, IL.

Brack, J. (2012). Maximizing millennials in the workplace. UNC Executive Development, 1-14.

Cary, A. O. (2006). How strong communication contributes to student and school success: Parent
and family involvement. In National School Public Relations Association (Ed.).
Rockville, MD.

Heath, D., Maghrabi, W., & Carr, N. (2015). Implications of information and communication
technologies (ICT) for school-home communication. Journal of Information Technology
Education: Research, 14(2015), 363-396.

Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family,
and community connection on student achievement. Retrieved from Southwest
Educational Development Lab: http://www.sedl.org/connections/.

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow [Kindle]. (pp. 512). Retrieved from amazon.com

Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D. S. (2011). The heart of change. In J. S. Osland & M. E. Turner (Eds.),
The organizational behavior reader (Ninth ed., pp. 681-693). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Leadership Department. (2017-2108). Participant handbook. [Handbook]. Andrews Univeristy,


Berrien Springs, Mi. Retrieved from
https://learninghub.andrews.edu/pluginfile.php/826122/mod_resource/content/1/2017-
0718%20Leadership%20Program%20Handbook%202017-18.pdf

Merriam-Webster. (Ed.) (2018) In. Retrieved from www.merriam-webster.com

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., Mcmillan, R., & Swizler, A. (2011). Crucial conversations tools for
talking when the stakes are high [Kindle edition] (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill
Education.

Porterfield, K., & Carnes, M. (2014). Why school communication matters: Strategies from pr
professionals. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Senge, P. M., Cambron-McCabe, N., Lucas, T., Smith, B., Dutton, J., & Kleiner, A. (2012).
Schools that learn: A fifth discipline fieldbook for educators, parents, and everyone who
cares about education [Kindle version]. (pp. 584). Retrieved from amazon.com

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White, E. (1890). Patriarch and prophets [Digital edition] (pp. 805). Retrieved from EGW
Writings App

White, E. (1898). The desire of ages [Digital edition]. (Digital ed.) (pp. 832). Retrieved from
EGW Writings App

Whitefield, N., & Strong, B. (1968). I heard it on the grapevine. On In the Groove. Detroit, MI:
Hitsville USA.

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APPENDIX A

Artifacts

1. Photo of Mary Kay Pontiac Vibe won by team

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2. Performance evaluation. See #4

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3. Haxton referral letter

Brianne Haxton
1823 W Sunnyside Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

February 7, 2016

To Whom it May Concern,

It is my pleasure to recommend Dawn Peterson for a position as a childcare professional.

Even before I met Dawn, I was impressed by her way with the children in her care. After we got
the call from Sunnyside Childcare Center notifying us of an opening at their facility, I opted to
tour it one more time before we accepted. Like any first time mom, I was nervous about bringing
my child to a daycare after my maternity leave. When I visited, Dawn was sitting with the kids
during circle time. She was reading them a book and tickling them with blue flowers. I
remember this vividly because the children were enthralled. At that point, I knew that my
precious, tiny baby would be in good hands with Dawn.

My son began at Sunnyside Childcare Center in January 2015. Dawn was the lead teacher in his
room. I can honestly say that Dawn was critical in helping to ease my transition back to work. In
those first few weeks and throughout the year that my son was in her room, I greatly appreciated
Dawn’s friendly welcome, her patience/reassurances, and her kindness. Dawn’s personality
traits make her an ideal caregiver.

First and foremost, she is friendly and kind. Each morning, she greeted us with a smile and a,
“Good morning, my dear!” When I was tired and sometimes overwhelmed, that unwavering
smile was incredibly reassuring.

Dawn is the heart and soul of her room— she planned themes for the kids and found fun,
diverse activities and adorable projects for them every week. She proactively set up iCloud photo
accounts and shared pictures from the day. It was such a treat to get those pictures and to be
reminded that my child was safe, well-cared for, and happy. She also kept on top of supplies and
notified me in advance when my son needed diapers, wipes, food, etc. so we were never
scrambling to restock.

Lastly, Dawn took any concerns that we raised seriously and worked to make sure we were
always comfortable with the resolution.

For all of these reasons, my husband and I highly recommend Dawn. If you wish to discuss
further, I am happy to do so.

Sincerely,

Brianne Haxton

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APPENDIX B

Figures

1. Path to Action .................................................................................................................... 3

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