Promoting Your Program

Promotion of  Technology or Business education programs is vital. Promotion helps make people in the community aware of our programs and the impact we have with students.  When looking for a grant, trying to find volunteers to support your program, or even fishing for donations from local industry- promoting your program is an essential part. Most of us don’t like to promote our programs because it feels like you’re promoting yourself- but get over it! Promoting your program is the best way to make sure that your program gets the support and recognition that the students have earned! It’s not about us as teachers, it’s about the students and getting them every resource we can to help them get the most out of our programs.

I’ll divide this page into 4 major sections:

  1. Promoting your program to students and parents
  2. Promoting your program to Administration
  3. Promoting your program to businesses and local community
  4. Promoting your program to the Professional Community

I am also providing a list of some of the activities I used to promote my program for the first two years I was at McFatter High as an example. (I happened to have this list handy since it was a part of my application for Program of the Year).  I’m not keeping it updated because I don’t need to toot my own horn! But if you are looking for some interesting ideas, there’s some in there!

Promoting Your Program to Students and Parents

Of course, the students and their parents (or guardians) are the most important people to promote your program to. They are essentially both your clientele and your staff! Students will not choose your class as an elective if it does not look like an exciting and challenging curriculum. Have an open lab night to introduce your lab to students. Choose some of your best students already in the program to help demonstrate what they have done in class. Start a Technology Club (TSA is a national technology association for students) and have some fun after-school activities. Do something funky for half-time at the football games (like a student created Trebuchet contest) once and a while to generate interest. Promote your program on the school news program. If students can see that the program is challenging, exciting, and fun- you’ll have so many students applying that there won’t be room for the dreaded “Dumping Ground Effect” to start down in the scheduling office!

I hold “Open Lab” nights occasionally and invite parents and students to come to the lab to discuss a particular technology or point of interest. Around the holidays I have a “Computer Shopping” workshop where I offer advice and answer questions about buying a PC. I sometimes do other workshops on creating web pages, troubleshooting your computer, Using the Internet, and others that would interest parents. This is a great way to build a strong sense of community around your program.

Promoting your program to Administration

Your Administration is a critical part of the success of your program indirectly. They control scheduling and budget, two of the three major factors that can kill a Tech Ed program. You need to be sure that you are marketing your program successfully to your Administration The best way to do this is to make them look good, by making your program a success.

We all know that there’s a certain undesirable substance that “rolls downhill.” But there’s an opposite law- “Creme rises to the Top.” You need to make sure that your Tech Ed program is “creme of the crop”, and that the administration knows it. Apply for awards that bring positive recognition to your school and student body. If you’re doing a really exciting activity or project, get the local news in there- that’s free television and newspaper advertising for your program! I got almost anything I wanted for a few months after my program was featured on prime time television news (I should have asked for that laser cutter then!!!). If your program is doing well, is popular with the students, and is receiving positive attention from the community, your administration will do whatever is in it’s power to keep that program successful, because they will receive praise from their superiors about what a great program they’re running at the school. If your program makes them look good, they’ll do what it takes to help you keep making them look good! It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that you should be sure to begin building if you haven’t already.

Promoting your program to businesses and local community

Local businesses and local community groups are a great place to promote your program. Many businesses will be interested in partnering with a successful program, and may even make material contributions (supplies or equipment) to a successful program if they can be shown that it will benefit them in the long run. Your students are future employees of local businesses. If they can contribute a little equipment now and get you to train students for free on that equipment, everyone benefits. You get the equipment, and they get well-trained and experienced employees.

Many local businesses also have tons of materials to donate. I have partnered with a local plastics company that literally fills the entire bed of my pickup to overflowing with free scrap plastics. This plastic is used by students to manufacture projects or to use as practice for milling. That one load of plastic lasted more than 5 years!!!

Local community groups can also be very helpful. Visit the Chamber of Commerce and tell them about your program and ask if they would be interested in starting a scholarship for students to attend a local community college if they are successful in your program. Maybe the local college would be interested in sending someone over to give a demonstration on a new technology that they offer classes or a degree in. It can’t hurt to ask, and many times, these groups are more than happy to support a program that has an active, community minded teacher.

Promoting your program to the Professional Community

Lastly, promote your program to other Tech Ed professionals. People want to be a part of successful things. Your program can be one of those things!! Apply for some awards and recognition for your program. This will give you an opportunity to maybe speak at a professional conference or meeting where you can meet other active professionals to partner with in developing your program.

I strongly recommend that everyone with an exciting Tech Ed program apply for the “Program of the Year” or the “Teacher of the Year” awards offered by ITEA and the state affiliates. It’s a great way to do all of the above- It shows that you have a great program to offer to students, it makes your administration look good, and it shows businesses and groups that your program is worth supporting.

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Sample List: Activities I used to Promote McFatter’s Program

This is just a list of activities I have used to promote my program. I already had this typed up since it was part of my Program of the Year Application in 2000. Since it was already typed up, I figured I’d include it- maybe some of the activities will help you come up with some great promotional ideas for your own program.

June 1998- Summer Inservice- Colleague Focus
Presented the program to active Technology Education programs in the county. Discussed advantages and asked for help recruiting good students to the magnet school. Shared problem solving techniques and design curriculum.

September 1998 – School Open House- Student, Parent, Community Focus
Opened lab and shared program with parents of new students.

December 1998 – Magnet Showcase- Student, Parent, Community Focus
Presented program at magnet showcase. Recruited students for following year.

January 1999- Newspaper Article- Community focus
Miami Herald- “Shop Classes Join The Computer Age” – Newspaper article on the new curriculum at McFatter. Discusses Scenario Based Education, and discusses Technology Education in general.

February 1999- TSA District Competition- Student/Parent/Community Focus
Shared with students and parents about the program at closing ceremony. Recruited students to Magnet School.

March 1999- TV News Report- Community focus
Fox News (channel 7) – News story on the Technology Education Lab at McFatter and Technology Education in General

March 1999 – Manufacturing Trade Association- Business Focus
Round table discussion with leaders in industry about how to get industry involved with Technology Education.

1999- Community Service Project- Community Focus
Students participated in a beautification project at a local park as a community service project for Technology Student Association (TSA).

September 1999 – Magnet Showcase- Student, Parent, Community Focus
Presented program at magnet showcase. Recruited students for following year.

September 1999- TecKNOWLEDGEy Web Site- Student, Parent, Community, Administration, Colleague, Business Focus
Created and published web site. E-mailed to every Technology Education teacher in county and in the state through the “Tech Flash” mail list.

September 1998 – School Open House- Student, Parent, Community Focus
Opened lab and shared program with parents of new students.

November 1999- Cyberfair Contest- Student, Parent, Community, Administration, Colleague, Business Focus
Entered Web Page in “Cyberteacher” contest, won Grand Prize ($1000), shared curriculum and program in two workshops at the convention for all Broward teachers.

December 1999 – Magnet Showcase- Student, Parent, Community Focus
Presented program at magnet showcase. Recruited students for following year.

February 2000- TSA District Competition- Student/Parent/Community Focus
Shared with students and parents about the program at closing ceremony. Recruited students to Magnet School.

March 2000- Intelos News- Colleague focus
Article in industry newsletter focuses on innovative design for the lab.

May 2000- Personal Visit- Business focus
Visited Prospect Plastics. Discussed program with business owner and solicited materials for program. Developed partnership with Prospects Plastics for scrap materials.

June 2000- Newspaper Article- Community focus
Sun Sentinel- “Transforming Education” – Newspaper article on the new curriculum at McFatter. Mentions TSA and success of the program.

1999- Community Service Project- Community Focus
Students participated in a beautification project at a local park as a community service project for Technology Student Association (TSA).

1 Comment

  1. Robin Munuz

    I’m impressed! It’s good to see someone very well informed about what they do. Looking forward to future posts.Cheers!

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