Charter D – Communication
Part 1.0 General Communication
Section: 1.1 General Communication
- American Prep’s communication policy: If a teacher (or parent, student, staff member) has feedback, a concern or a problem related to American Prep, he/she should take it to the person most capable, in his/her estimation, of responding to the feedback or addressing the concern and to no one else. If they are unsure who that person would be, they are to ask one of the School Secretaries. This is the first line of communication and we believe it is the most effective way of addressing concerns or providing feedback in the most expeditious and successful manner. Professionalism demands that this model be followed so that teachers and staff may enjoy a positive, motivating environment in which to work that is free from harassment, pressure or negativity.
- 4-Step Communication: If a staff member is involved in a communication with any member of the community wherein there is evidence of frustration, anger or other intense emotion, the following steps should be followed:
- Listen carefully to the person’s grievance. If the conversation is occurring in a public area where others may be disturbed, or where the individual’s privacy is difficult to maintain, invite the person into an office with another staff member to listen to the grievance.
- After listening, repeat what you believe the grievance is.
- Then ask the person for time so that you can look into the problem/gather more information, and then get back to them.
- Follow up with the person and anyone else that needs to be in the communication loop.
- Information and Emotion: It is often helpful, whether you are the one communicating or the one listening, to separate in your mind the “emotion” from the “information” in a communication. Sometimes it is necessary to acknowledge the emotion before moving on to solving a problem. Other times it is important to get good information, which can be difficult when there is a lot of emotion involved. Prefacing your communication with “I am going to share some emotion or how I feel” often helps the listener know what is expected of them. Likewise, “I am going to give you some information, and then I’m going to tell you how I feel about it” may help you express yourself clearly.
- Communication Logs – a black spiral notebook is supplied to all staff members. They are to record in this spiral all telephone communications they have with regard to school. Incoming calls and messages must be recorded in the communication log. Follow up should be written in a different color ink for clarity. Non-telephone communications may also be recorded in this log. It is recommended that all important communications are recorded.
- Professional Tone – Staff should refrain from using a raised voice at any time, except in the possible case of matters of student safety, which would be rare. “Use your feet, not your voice” should be a familiar staff communication motto.
- Confidentiality – Ensure that when you send an email that has information about any student that you put “confidential, please do not forward” in the subject line. This helps those receiving emails to be cautious about sharing the information in order to ensure confidentiality for our students.
- Verification – A vital step in the communication process when there is an issue or conflict is verification. Be sure that you ALWAYS verify information BEFORE taking any action, making any statements or drawing any conclusions. This will require that you follow the 4-step communication process wherein you listen, restate, ask for time, and follow up (see #2 in this section).