Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Having a Publicist


Feinstein High School is in a particularly awkward position. A separate school facilities’ study calls for the small, alternative high school to be closed, yet Brady told parents and teachers that they should move forward with a reform recommendation regardless of the facilities’ recommendation.

Karen Feldman, who runs a youth group called Young Voices, suggested that Feinstein teachers rally behind the transformation model and then press to relocate the school, which is in an aging building. If the building is to be closed, Principal K.C. Perry and several parents said they wanted to keep the school open for another year to allow the juniors to graduate from Feinstein.

Everyone should, at some point, have a publicist. Not so much because we all need the publicity, but it is quite illuminating to see how much more attention people pay to your work when someone else is promoting it on your behalf. In turn, you then realize why some things get more attention than others.

I'm not counting on "saving" FHS, but if nothing else, I've at least managed to change and complicate the narrative (not just through this blog, mind you) about FHS, and, most importantly, make the people working there feel a little better about what they accomplished there.

But it is really difficult to calculate the difference just having a publicist makes in shaping perceptions of charters vs. regular public schools. I mean, Claus does a good job, but it is a big country.

Sample conversation:

Me: When I was at school I saw 10 kids were already accepted to URI Talent Development.

Jennifer: That's just the first group. There's probably be 20, 25 total.

me: So... like a quarter or a third of your graduating class goes into URI TD every year?

Jennifer: Yeah.

me: Does anyone know about this?

Jennifer: Probably not.

I have been avoiding the Facebook vector, but the new Rhode Island is Ready page is too tempting to pass up.

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