Kelsey High School provides different programs to meet different student needs. It is a school made up from 9th to 12th graders. Their mission is “committed to academic excellence and prepares all students for success by fostering personal ethics, encouraging artistic expression, and promoting development of responsible citizens.” Each student has a profile along with a communications column between parents and teachers. Teachers also have a similar profile. There is also a Communications Center link where teachers can design their seating charts as well as a list of administration that has the legal, parental, personnel, school, and student issues. Kelsey makes sure they designate a strong communication between it’s students, teachers and administration during the learning process.
Illegal drugs were found at Kelsey High School due to a 10th grade student falling into a coma and now resides at the hospital. After careful investigation, several students of different grades were suspended until further investigation. This seems to have been an ongoing secret for 6 months now and the first known drug incident at Kelsey High School. Kelsey High School has developed a genuine concern for the student safety and is acting fast to find out where the drugs come from and how to prevent it in the future.
Kelsey High School now has to face the fact that students, parents, and the community will be asking lots of questions and different opinions. They will need to figure out a way to build their character back up without looking like an irresponsible organization. Also with the new drug problem in place, perception of power is also effective. Parents will come into play with perception of power with teachers and vice versa. A teacher will need to report any sighs of drug use. A principle has to also report these signs to higher authority and parents. There has to be rules in place on who communicates with whom.
A crisis response plan helps Kelsey put issues together as well as dedicate different personnel to different situations. For example, you would have your Public Relations Representatives to handle any media issues. Kelsey High School also need to be careful on not to stereotype any students and question EVERYONE that they think maybe involved. The communication that the staff, student, and parents have with each other should give them an upper hand on where to look, who caused the conflict, and who do you target.
This organization has to know how to anticipate the communication climate by predicting the worst thing possible. Also, anticipate how management is liley to act and react as drama of a crisis unfolds (Newsom, Turk, Kruckeberg, 2004). They could use the Employee Crisis Communication Model. It would be classified as an unintentional crisis. Since this is a situational problem, one person can take charge and figure out what strategies are best from here. When trying to figure out the best strategy, face-negotioation theory can come into play because this companies concern (publicly) would be saving face. They should have a concern for their repitation and if this would affect their student attendance.
To be sure that Kelsey High School’s faculty and staff are prepared to any unexpected crisis there needs to be a plan. In order to apply to that plan there needs to be training. There are several things to add to the training plan and that is what communication skills are needed, what activities and methods to use, any communication obstacles, how to improve, research methods, ROI(return on investment), picking a training facilitator, testing their knowledge, and ackowledging the shor and long-term outcomes.Communication starts with a simple plan. Once a plan is established(such as this one) we can begin communicating effectively. In this critical event with Kelsey High School, the essential communication skills are both written and verbal. First we have to figure out who our audience is. What does the audience know about the topic? Do they have a positive or negative attitude toward it? How did they arrive at that attitude (DiSanza, Legge 2012). We can look at our audience not only just the students and faculty but the media and parents that will also be effected. Another effective way to communicate is what kind of strategy to use. Effective communication is where the person specifies which type of goals they are trying to accomplish. This will later be addressed in short –term and long-term goals. Also, During the training process, we will implement role playing of actual scenarios that could be related to this incident. This can be implemented a few times a year to keep employees and staff on their toes. Secondly, would be to establish a crisis team that is designed to be in charge of any unfortunate events. There should be one team leader and a back up team leader. Next will be a primary and secondary spokesperson along with experts and mental health workers. Also have easy contact between any employees, students, staff, parents, managers, etc.
Students are very rarely going to report drug incidents with each other or staff whether they are afraid of becoming a “snitch” or they do not believe it is their business. Students are private so it is important that staff is aware of what is going on and also do not ignore the first signs of a crisis. Also, if an idea does not pertain to a person’s belief people tend to ignore the conflict all together. It is important to all be on the same page. Next, looking over a problem step by step will help us identify on how to improve. Having a Crisis team will help to minimize task. Knowing what our objectives are ahead of time helps us to also improve our needs and task. Our goal in this particular situation is to find out where the problem started so it can be prevented. Also, realizing what we learned from the training and implementing them helps to improve the training. Yearly test and quizzes can prove helpful.
Watching student behavior at schools is a great research method. The students behavior as well as the faculty can be observed. Are the students acting secretive? Is there a change in students grades and behaviors that were not there before? Are teachers reporting incidents? Conducting random assignments and test are also ways to make sure training plans are in effect and implemented within the school. How to handle a particular crisis lets us know what a student or staff would do in an actual situation. Another concern is return on investment. There should always be a plan of action in a time of crisis. Having a plan can provide a better flow of what the next actions should be taken place. Scrambling around when something happens trying to figure out who is going to handle what and how causes a headache and a bad reputation for the school. Having a team designed for a crisis will help basis the structure around the conclusion. Also, the school must understand the amount of time they have and to also work with other people’s time such as the staff and other employees involved. Also, understand training is not an option. The more you put into the program make sure the more you get out of it. DO NOT make this a voluntary thing. Lastly, flexibility is also the key to ROI. Nothing is perfect or goes exactly as planned, so make sure you are willing to go with the flow and how to work with the situation.
We chose an external leadership strategist to help with this type of crisis. Leadership strategies provides companies with dynamic professional facilitators who lead executive teams, task forces, strategic planning, issue resolution, requirements analysis, process improvement and conference forums(leadstrat.com). They have trained more than 16,000 people and also offer public and onsite private classes for clients. Picking a facilitator will help the company stay focused when focus is elsewhere. In a crisis, we want to achieve the right results and an outside professional and put all their focus on just that. There will be way too many opinions and views in the case and the school will need only ONE strong opinion. What if the team cannot come up with a good answer? What if we only have a week to get the situation under control? All of these factors come into play on hiring an external facilitator.
Some short term outcomes with Kelsey High School would be better preparedness with situations. I also feel paying closer attention to possible issues will now be a hot topic among everyone. What else can we focus on other then drugs in the school? Lastly, being more aware of what students are getting into, if grades are dropping, and if losing interest in school. Long-term outcomes are simply having a better organization. The school will have a better reputation for handling situations effectively. Also, with one training technique a success, they can offer other training techniques for other crisis situations.
The media tends to get involved in crisis especially when it has to do with the Public. If the media decided that this would be newsworthy then Kelsey High School should focus more on raising awareness about drugs in school. The media can actually be of help and not bring a negative outlook at the high school. The school should also try their best to maintain its public integrity. Creating an action plan that should take affect in the first 10 minutes shows the public that Kelsey High School is prepared and well aware of handling the situation. During the crisis and the media frenzy Kelsey High School should remember to always tell the truth, do not be afraid to engage in public relations, have legal consultation, and understand the difference between the Right to Know versus the Right to Privacy.
Evaluating and reflecting on the communication process at Kelsey High School after the drug crisis event holds a specific value. Depending on if the communication process was successful or not dictates whether or not it should be implemented again or a new communication process is planned.With faculty and students paying close attention, Kelsey High School could fund programs for children who become wrapped up in drugs or have questions about drugs, so they will not become a victim. Another thing to value in the evaluation process is how the overall thing turned out. Was there positive media involved?When reflecting on how the situation was handled, Kelsey High School can also dig though resolutions that could have been done differently. One thing that could have been done differently in helping formulate a better resolution would have been to not make it all a Public Relations scenario. Understanding what communication analysis was most effective can be done by research methods.Survey research is a method where individuals fill out a questionnaire or are interviewed about their attitudes, activities, opinions and beliefs (Christensen, Johnson, Turner. 2011). Another helpful research method would be qualitative research. Qualitative research is studied from using the twelve major characteristics.E-mail is a simple tool that can be used between students, staff, parents, and the community as well as the media. The dark site is another tool that gives instant access to information during the crisis. An external site can be used for public to get updated information as well.
Kelsey High SchoolCommunication Analysis ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION ANALYSIS SARITA WALKER DR. JUSTIN BOREN COM 480
Kelsey High School High school made up of Communications columns 9th to 12th grade students for parents and staff “Committed to academic Communications Center excellence and prepares Link all students for success by Strong communication fostering personal between ethics, encouraging students, staff, and artistic expression, and parents promoting development of responsible citizens.”
School Crisis Illegal drugs found between 9th and 12th grade students 1 student hospitalized First drug incident at Kelsey High School Concern for student safety
Interpersonal Communication/Perception of PowerInterpersonalCommunication Perception of Power Faced with opinions Parents and chatter Teachers Angry parents and School Principle angry students Rules of Need to build school Communication character
Communication, Intercultural, and Diversity Conflict Crisis response plan? Who caused the conflict? Who do you target? Be careful of stereotypes
Communication Climate/Face-Negotiation TheoryCommunication Climate Face-Negotiation Theory Imagine the worst Saving Face thing possible Concern for Reputation How management will Can cause decline in act/react student attendance Employee Crisis Communication Model Ongoing or Situational?
Communication Skills /Activities & MethodsCommunication Skills Activities & Methods Timely and Effective Role Playing Communication Establish a Crisis Team Who is our audience? Easy Contact Strategic Communication
Communication Obstacles/How to Improve Unwillingness to Needs & Task Communicate -Crisis Team Ignoring the Conflict -Learning goals and objectives -What did we learn from the training
Research Methods/ ROIResearch Methods Return on Investment Observational Need for Expense? Research -Having a team ready Experiments -Time Sensitive -Random Assignment -Not an Option -Flexibility
Training Facilitator Leadership Strategies Why Leadership (The Faciliation Strategies? Company) -Stay focused -provides professional -Desired Results facilitators to lead executive teams, task -Defuse difficult force, issue resolution, behaviors & distractions strategic planning, -Time efficient process improvement, and - Action Plan requirement analysis. http://www.leadstrat.com/contact -us
Short-Term/Long-Term Outcome Better Preparedness Having a better Pay closer attention to organization all together possible issues Being able to implement More aware of students different training techniques based on needs
Dealing with the MediaFocus on what Kelsey willdo next Maintaining Integrity Raise awareness Always tell the truth Maintain Public Integrity Engage in Public Create an Action Plan relations -crisis plan, report Legal Consultation incident, secure Understanding the building, first Right to Know vs. aid, verification of what happened, keep a record Right to Privacy
Reflection & Evaluation Was it a Success? Positive Media/Program Funding What Could Have been done differently? New Research Methods New Tools
ConclusionBy implementing communication skills, different activities and methods, overcoming obstacles, identifying where the company can improve, determine research methods, knowing your ROI, and choosing the right training facilitator, a good training and development plan can be utilized in a company. Once the plan is implemented and put into place, a proper reflection or evaluation should take place in the organization to further continue positive efforts with a crisis plan.
References Blanchard, N. Thacker, J. (2007). Chapter 9: Evaluation Training: Effective Training. Systems, Strategies, and Practices. Christensen, L.B., Johnson, R.B., Turner,L.A. (2011). Research Methods, Design, and Analysis. Ch. 12:Survey Research. (11 ed.) Christensen, L.B., Johnson, R.B., Turner,L.A. (2011). Research Methods, Design, and Analysis. Ch. 13:Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research. (11 ed.) Disanza, J.R., Legge, N.J. (2012). Chapter 1: The Role of Communication in Business and the Professions. Business and Professional Communication. Plans, Processes, and Performance (5th ed). Neher, W.W., Dandin, P. J. (2007). Communicating Ethically. Character, Duties, Consequences, and Relationships. Chapter 7: Ethics in Interpersonal Communication: Relationship and Character Newsom, D., Turk, V. J., Kruckeberg, D. (2004). This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations. Chapter 13: Crisis and Credibility Patterson, B. (Dec. 2004). A crisis media relations primer.