At James N. Gamble Montessori High School in the Cincinnati Public Schools district, Principal Taylor Porter values good communication with parents which, according to Porter, involves informing, listening to, and responding to parents. These three tenets are central to Gamble’s communication with parents and growth strategy as a school. Gamble started using Possip pre-pandemic, and throughout the pandemic, it’s only served to strengthen their communication efforts.
Read our Q&A with Principal Porter to learn more about their communications philosophies, use of Possip, and strategies for parent follow-up.
What are your communication philosophies?
Good communication includes informing, listening, and responding. That’s the part we all miss– personally, professionally, from an organization perspective or school perspective. It’s not productive to always give marching orders. You have to find a way to hear your stakeholders and Possip, as a tool, has helped us with that.
After you receive a Pulse Check Report, what strategies do you use to follow up with parents and share praise with staff?
We signed up for Possip pre-pandemic, and I’m so glad we did because it allowed our parents and school community to get used to the tool. We get reports biweekly because we have a huddle every other Friday with our admin team. During our huddle, we go through the “hot” priorities in our reports and delegate it to the right personnel (resource coordinators, secretaries, etc). We didn’t have to create another meeting to discuss Possip reports because it goes with our schedule.
Our school is in a unique position: we’re experiencing tremendous growth. It’s really important to me to communicate with our families and community and also receive info from them– we want our relationship to be symbiotic (i.e. mutually beneficial), which includes having people in house who can respond.
What has been the impact of partnering with Possip on your school and community?
Parents love Possip because it’s another layer of communication. The most important thing to me is school safety, and we are looking to grow and keep growing. As we talk about safety and school growth, communication is the best tool. Voice mails can be tough, and emails are flooded. Having a quick biweekly report with responses is super efficient.
I send parents a weekly robocall, weekly email, and weekly YouTube video. All of those tools allow us to share what they need to know, meanwhile, Possip is the best way for us to become aware of what we need to know from parents. Parents have shown through surveys that they appreciate the high level of communication.
What are some tips you’ve shared with your principal colleagues that you think will benefit our other partners?
1. Prior to the first Pulse Check, send out an email blast about Possip. We sent a robocall, email, and YouTube video in advance.
2. Before starting Possip, we had teachers proactively share information with their students that they could pass along to their parents.
3. Don’t take sole ownership of Pulse Check Report reading. Build a team to view reports together, so you can make sure your response is effective.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about Gamble Montessori HS?
Our school is really special. We’re a young school, but growing rapidly so I try to take advantage of any way we can increase and improve communication. There are things that make us special, such as curriculum and extracurriculars. Safety is also an essential value. Through it all, we are trying to grow and it’s working!
We have five core values and one of them is community– we have to learn how to listen to each other. And considering the pandemic, Possip is even more useful. Pre-pandemic I enjoyed working with Possip, but now tools like it are making our lives a little better [in these times].
Special thanks to Principal Porter for the interview!