Schools deserve far more credit for the work they do.

Walk in the shoes of school principals and their staff.

I often wish folk could have the opportunity to see what schools are doing against great odds. Perhaps then, we will have greater community applause for what principals and their staffs are doing to make school an excellent learning space.

People need to walk in the shoes of principals and staffs before they crack down on them on a whim.

Not everybody is blessed to visit schools as I do. But social media like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are also used to share good news. There are school newsletters and community newspapers that can help school celebrations reach the masses. There are text facilities like mass SMS texting. I don't get all my school news from visits only. I visit school Facebook pages, their websites and many schools share their highlights with me. I thrive on good news!

Here are a few amazing transformational highlights that took place in the past week or so at just a few schools in our circuit:

The Head Boy of Floreat thanking the sponsors for investing in their school

Last week I was blessed to celebrate the opening of the Science laboratory at Floreat Primary school.  Here the Archway Foundation and the University of Western Cape partnered with this school to help them set up a Science laboratory for the learners. The head boy, a Grade 7 learner, expressed their gratitude and the joy he and others have that learners at their school will now have access to a fully equipped science lab. The principal of SACS, Mr Ball, was there to share Floreat's achievement.

Two retired teachers from Harmony offered to substitute at Square Hill Primary School

Two retired teachers reported for duty at Square Hill Primary School as substitute teachers. They are enjoying their retirement but they were willing to assist this school so that two young teachers could attend courses at CTLI, the WCED's training institute.

"We want to help our younger teachers by allowing them to attend professional development courses. We never had those opportunities so we do not want these young teachers to miss out and leave the profession," said Filly Bolligello.

Andre Lamprecht with a few of his learners during the Handover ceremony of the R1m sponsorship

Levana Primary school received a donation of R1m from a generous sponsor. The principal, Andre Lamprecht said: " We want to build a school hall and a community library. This is what our school and our community need.  We will get there."

Steenberg High Band at our Awards Ceremony earlier this year.

Steenberg High School has a fantastic Big Band that headlined at our Metro South Education District (MSED) arts festival, Kaleidoscope, at the Artscape Theatre. The school band has only been playing for the past year.  During one of our conversations, Andre Kraak, the proud principal of Steenberg High, explained how music has helped to transform many of their challenged youth. The school band has also played at our Awards Ceremony earlier in the year.

Balance is important

I am sure these stories warmed your hearts. Now, imagine the impact if we had access to all the fantastic efforts at all schools? Imagine if all these wonderful stories of commitment, loyalty and loving care for learners by schools went viral?  Why on earth would we just want to focus on the things that go wrong?

We all know that schools have problems and sometimes schools do not always do things right. When there are problems, these need to be addressed and corrected. That is non-negotiable. Schools must be enabling environments where learning is priority.

But, we cannot be blind to what the schools are doing to transform the learning environment for the children. We need balance.  Fix those things that are broken AND spread the good news of school life. School principals  and teachers should know that we appreciate their efforts to build our communities.

Build school brand ambassadors beyond the school boundaries.

Schools should also learn to advertise their celebrations. Why keep the lamp under the table ? When I encourage schools to share their good news, many schools balk at the idea.

It makes no sense to keep  positive changes private because you "don't want to brag; you do it for the children; it's not important".  Can you imagine a retailer like Vodacom or Coke adopting this mindset?  This thinking is self-destructive and does not help to build morale at the school and in the community.  The community needs good stories to keep them inspired and to persuade them to become actively involved in school life.

There is also a  tendency for people to focus on the negative.  Therefore,  it is ultimately the responsibility of schools to find creative ways to share their good news . Help people to walk in your shoes because they are not naturally wired to do your promotions. Schools that invest in their brand consistently via all platforms and who 'walk the talk' enjoy the cumulative benefits of an engaged community.

Are you and your staff ready to become your own brand ambassadors? 


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