STAGE 3: SUSTAIN PROGRAM THROUGH CHANGE
Over time, there will be a need to maintain its health during difficult
circumstances and a desire to grow the program as it matures. The following
steps outline a suggested strategy for approaching these issues proactively.
STEP 17. Expand marketing
The second phase of marketing is to create vehicles that reach out to a wider audience and that celebrate the successes of the program. A web site greatly expands the audience and can give credibility to the program. It can provide ongoing information, links to other web sites, and an easy mechanism for building support.
Engaging the media for articles in the newspaper and TV and radio spots on the local news can spread the word to a wider audience at no cost and with minimal effort. Self-written articles take more effort but can be placed in newsletters and other publications. Connection to a research partner to do an in-depth documentation of the project can also produce written articles.
As an overlay to an existing curriculum, we avoided the bureaucratic and legal obstacles that would have delayed or prevented implementation. However, a press release that we sent out celebrating an early success of the program got us in hot water when the district administration saw it. We had to revise it to conform to district expectations. We then had a meeting between members of the advisory council and district representatives, showed them how successful the program was, and received formal support for the program.
Roddy Rivers, Instructor, Randolph Career and Technical Center
Due to the highly visual nature of the subject and the impact on the lives of the students, videos are an extremely effective tool for capturing the worth of the program and explaining it to potential stakeholders and contributors. The words of students themselves are very important. The videos can be viewed at conferences and meetings including preservation, trades, and education conferences (both CTC and home high school conferences), and on local access cable. Students, like everyone else, love to see themselves on-screen doing something at which they excel. It can be a subtle motivator and brings respect to the work.
Participation at preservation and trades fairs can give a core group of potential supporters a good understanding of the program. Open houses and “blitz days” at the work sites can bring both potential resource providers and the general public to the site where they can see the program in action. A good time of the year to do these is during Preservation Month. T-shirts for the students are an excellent way to identify the group to outsiders as well as reinforcing a sense of teamwork in the students. Additionally, social media, like Facebook and Myspace, creates effective ways to show what is going on and communicate the program to students by their peers.
At the reception that we held for the Randolph School students at the end of the school year, the mother of the only female student in the class told me that her daughter was having a difficult time academically at her home school. She was so excited to be a part
of and to complete the Fort Wayne project that she worked really hard to improve her grades at her home school—a requirement for her participation at Fort Wayne. Her mother felt that her daughter’s participation in the project had been a huge boost to her self-esteem.
Nancy Finegood, Executive Director, Michigan Historic Preservation Network
As the program grows, integration with the broader school system and community is increasingly important in order to ensure that the program is sustainable over time despite administration, teacher, and budget changes. Getting the program into the media is an essential step for creating community awareness and buy-in. Other actions include having parents of the students and neighbors of the site to visit the project. A “blitz day” can also be used to open the site to the community to participate in a day of work
When you encourage parents to be involved, it can create a domino effect in which parents speak ‘word of mouth’ to others about the program. The enthusiasm can be contagious…I have had parents, when introducing their children to the program, be so excited about such an opportunity that they themselves would like to enroll!
Rhonda L. Deeg, formerly of Harford Community College