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Friday, May 31, 2013

Recommended Reading

Memphis teacher Casey Jones writes an inspiring story in Education Week Teacher. In short, she says teachers can make a difference, despite a student's impoverished background.

No doubt it's hard work.

Jones, who teaches in an alternative environment, goes above and beyond everyday. She calls parents to regularly make sure their children will be present at school. She grades revised essays nightly to provide students' with immediate feedback.

It's paid off for her students. Many who had almost given up have graduated. Younger ones have mastered Common Core skills.

As she says, "Students, teachers, and administrators cannot use poverty as an excuse. We have to see through it and teach students how to maneuver around their obstacles. Our optimism becomes their hope."

Teachers like Jones are, indeed, our hope.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What a great idea!

Loved reading about the new Arkansas Teacher Corps in this morning's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (there's a paywall).

It's Teach for America with improvements.

True, everyone loves TFA's contributions to schools and students -- especially in those areas of the state that have a difficult time attracting licensed teachers.

But, many folks also point out that relatively few of TFA's bright, young teachers remain in the classroom after their two-year stints. While the lauded teaching program is an opportunity for recent college grads to "give back,"  it often proves a short-lived stepping stone to the rest of their lives.

That leads to high turnover for districts. And, it took up a teaching slot that might have been filled by an individual who wanted to devote his or her live to educating students. TFA can be costly, too, with fees paid to the program in addition to the teachers' salaries.

The focus of the Arkansas Teacher Corps, on the other hand, seems to be to attract these same bright, energetic, enthusiastic college graduates to the classroom so they can stay there. 

As the dean of the UA College of Education and Health Professions told the newspaper about the program, "We're identifying and recruiting young adults who are extremely capable, extremely bright, who didn't necessarily think they wanted to be a teacher when they started to college, but at the end of their college careers are looking for different opportunities."

One corps member interviewed has a doctorate in chemical engineering; one was a pre-med major and yet another graduated second in his class with an English degree. All now say they are committed to careers as educators.

What's more, schools pay salaries, but no fees.

Gotta say it again. What a great idea!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Practicing what we preach

You need a look. You need a color palette. You need catchy copy.

These are the things we tell -- okay, preach to -- our clients.

But, ugh, it's taken us a year-plus to put our own look together. Truth is, we got busy with projects. And that's a good thing. A really good thing!

But we needed to tend to our own garden, as they say. So we're very proud now to have a look that's ours, a color palette (no longer just cyan and red), catchy copy....

You can get a sample of it with our new website. (If you use a Mac like I do, check your "zoom" settings if things seem to overlap too much on the pages.)

If you'd like to see more, contact us and we'll be glad to send our one-page fact sheet,  promo cards about our services or our full-blown portfolio.  Just shoot us an email to info@firstclasscommunication.com.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

At long last, we've been tapped!

First Class Communication is now an awarded vendor with The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS/TAPS).
That's great news for us, and we hope for many of you as well. That means that the RFP system just got easier if you are a school or government entity (and a TIPS/TAPS member) as it eliminates the need for competitive bids.
We learned about the program at last summer's Arkansas Rural Education Association conference. We had to wait until March to be able to bid under the professional services umbrella, and we found out at the end of April that won a contract.
It's been a long wait, but it's been worth it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our Five Classy C's

A company worth your money is up-front with well-defined values.  At First Class Communication,  we call our value statement's our Five Classy C's.

Here they are:
Commitment to Excellence
We hold ourselves to high standards, and we don't mind working hard, long and late to meet them. We want to please our clients, but we also want to produce work of which we are proud. That's why you'll find us reading, researching and attending courses to stay on top of what's new and useful in our field. 
Communication
It's funny how folks in the communication business are sometimes the poorest communicators. Having worked in journalism and public relations for many years, we know that fact all too well. But we also know the power of honest, constructive, responsive and frequent communication. We strive to practice it daily, both within our own offices and with our clients and potential clients. 
Character
The founding partners of First Class Communication joined together because we respected each other as persons of integrity, decency and trustworthiness. We believe those same traits must be at the core of our business. We make sure they are.
Dauphne and Julie share notes on a project.
Collegiality

Work is work, but it can be -- and should be -- enjoyable too. We believe in creating an empowering climate that fosters positive, professional relationships. At First Class Communication, we can honestly say we look forward to going to work each day. 
Collaboration
Working together as a team is a given in this field, so the trick is working together well. We do -- both within our First Class Communication team and as team members with our clients.