Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Principals - Attention Spans and One Main Fundraiser
Online alone, we have an attention span between 4 and 9 seconds according to experts. We're not talking just online though - check this out... The term 'attention span' as I understand it, originally described a child's ability to pay attention relative to adults.
In our super-fast paced lives these days, I believe that, often times, our children have about the same ability to concentrate on one thing as adults. I'm no psychologist or anything but at home, particularly at certain parts of the day, I jump around from one thing to another faster than a trapeze artist at the circus. My children are quite happy to do one thing during these times.
So here's the point. Things get crazy and there's a limited amount of time and money available at any given time. Schools are competing for this time and money. Therefore, schools have to grab the attention of time-starved parents and demand attention.
Fortunately, parents care deeply about their children and their journey of learning. Every day holds surprises and discovery. It's magical for parents and a job for schools. When a child returns with a backpack brimming with papers, it's an amazing thing. So much creativity mixed in with a bunch of updates, fundraisers and other stuff.
It's my personal and professional goal to help improve school funding. Of course my expertise is in fundraising but as a parent of school age children, I see the parent side as well. When there is too much stuff coming home, parents have a hard time recognizing the importance of one thing over another.
It's sad but true. The reality is, that parents get easily overwhelmed. As most parents would attest, keeping tabs on simple things can be a challenge and when it comes to a bag overflowing with papers, it becomes too much and everything gets lost. I've recently seen this in person on the donation drive our school was hosting. There was no less than 10 other things to look at and the competition with all of the other documents was just too much.
In closing, pay attention to what gets sent home and minimize it as much as possible. Are there documents that could be condensed or a sorting system that could create a distinction between one type of item, say artwork, from notices? There is room for improvement and any improvement means more attention paid to each document.
Think in terms of providing the minimum necessary to get everything across and in this day and age, rely on the web, social media and websites to provide in depth information that parents and the community may be searching out.
Hope this helps remove a paper from a school bag in a town near you :)