Due to improved technology many congressional offices recommend sending e-mail through their websites, however, personal letters are also effective.
- Be clear about your topic and position by opening your email/letter with statements such as. “I am writing in (support or opposition) of (bill number or bill name or a specific issue such as, “funding support for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program”).
- One page is best and be sure to be polite and constructive.
- Be timely and explain the benefits or ramifications of a certain action.
- Use your name and address on both the envelope and the letter so that the staff identifies you as a constituent and can reply to your letter.
Letters to the Editor
Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is a simple way to gain exposure for your magnet school.
- Your letter to the editor should be short and concise – no more than 300 words.
- Include your name, address, email address and phone number – newspapers will not publish anonymous letters.
- State why you are writing the letter and the problem or issue that concerns you. Write why it is important and how it affects magnet schools.
- Make a general recommendation of what should be done, by whom and when. Example: “I believe our state legislature should pass legislation this year to create a new statewide office of diversity and innovation dedicated to providing resources and support to magnet schools.”
Elected officials are now utilizing different social media platforms to communicate with their constituents and keep them informed of their policy positions on emerging issues. Using social media will allow you to interact with your legislators and promote greater awareness of your magnet programs.
- Be sure to “like or follow” them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for up-to-date information from their office and to learn about upcoming public appearances including town hall meetings.
- On Twitter you can tag them in a tweet and ask them a specific question or provide them with information about your magnet program or stance on an issue.
- You can also comment on different posts on your legislator’s Facebook page.
Stay Connected With Your Elected Officials
In order to be a powerful voice for your magnet programs, you must keep an open channel of communication with your elected officials. One way to stay in touch is to utilize our online Grassroots Center to contact your elected officials using your smartphone or mobile device. Visit this page: http://p2a.co/mCnalbd
Town Hall Meetings
Many legislators hold town hall meetings periodically in their district/state. The legislator will speak on current issues and invite questions and comments from the audience. Participating in these meetings will enable you to bring the importance of magnet schools to the attention of your legislator and inform your community about your program(s).
- Find out when and where the town hall meeting will be held. The time and place of these events is often announced on television, published in your local newspaper, or listed on your elected officials’ websites.
- Determine if the agenda is appropriate and relevant to education issues.
- Organize magnet school supporters to participate in the town hall meeting and provide them with questions and/or talking points. (See pages 8 and 9 for ideas)
- After the town hall meeting be sure to follow-up with your legislator’s office regarding the issues that were discussed during the meeting, especially if the legislator requested additional information.
Organiza Local Supporters
- Build a coalition by identifying other magnet schools or local magnet school supporters. This may include other magnet school principals, teachers, administrators, parents and families.
- Families are a powerful and often overlooked ally that can help build support for your magnet program. Encourage them to be vocal advocates on your behalf and share their personal stories of how your magnet school has impacted their children’s lives.
- Identify other local education groups or coalitions that will support magnet schools and/or have a similar legislative agenda. (For example, state and local chapters of the NEA, AFT, or PTA)
- Organize a monthly meeting with these groups to discuss topics that are important to magnet schools.
- Set up information-sharing networks so that your efforts can be coordinated.
- Identify a leader or lead organization to facilitate and encourage this coordination and decide who will take responsibility for disseminating information quickly.
- Prior to meetings send information about magnet schools to supportive groups, including evaluative data on student academic achievement and performance.
- Suggest participants come to meetings with copies of letters/emails they have sent supporting magnet school issues or ask them to be prepared to write them prior to or following the meeting.
- Urge participants to act on future information alerts.
- Organize Telephone/Email/Social Media Campaigns – Share time-sensitive information with magnet school supporters through phone calls, email, and social media.