Technological changes bring new communication strategies

By Larry Glaze April 05, 2010 01:50 pm

I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, a relatively simple time compared to now. The technological breakthroughs I remember include the transistor radio. Wow, a small portable radio that allowed you to take the likes of Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers and Fats Domino with you anywhere you went.

My first experience with color television was in the eighth grade when visiting a friend’s house. I watched “Star Trek’’ in living color and was awestruck by the vivid colors flowing forth from the television.

I think my all-time favorite new technology was the eight-track tape deck. I remember bolting that unit to the bottom of my dashboard, buying multiple Pioneer speakers and cruising my ’58 Chevy Impala on Willamette Street in Eugene listening to Credence Clearwater Revival.

My first calculator was a behemoth Texas Instruments model that weighed about a pound and was the size of a book; it cost $75. Today the same calculator can be purchased for $5 or less, it weighs only ounces and is the size of a credit card.

I put myself through four years of college using a Corolla manual typewriter, applying large doses of whiteout to correct grammatical errors. My first exposure to a computer was in 1975 at the University of Oregon where they had the laborious punch card system, which was very slow and tedious for information processing. The way we communicate using technology is much different today!

So here we are 40 years later and I am looking at ways to communicate with the younger generation. I am told that communication methods like Twitter, Facebook and use of the Internet are the way to go to enhance communications. My position is that if this will help La Grande School District communicate more effectively with the public, then we should be doing it. I have written this community comment to share with the public the efforts we are undertaking to improve communications with the community.

The La Grande School District is reaching out to the community in an effort to improve and enhance communication between the public and the district. On behalf of the district, I have enacted some tools to aid in this process.

I established a Key Communicator Network several years ago, which is a group of community leaders, interested parents and patrons who establish solid two-way communications among organizations and their publics. The network has helped, and will continue to help, the district to distribute accurate news to the staff and community quickly. It also enables school officials to intercept potentially harmful rumors.

Selected individuals are recognized community leaders and interested community members who are involved in La Grande schools. They have agreed to disseminate accurate information about the school system and to correct misinformation. Their task is to keep in touch with school officials and immediately report back any misperceptions and inaccuracies.

For the most part, key communicators just do what they normally do — talk to people. I will periodically provide them with some key messages to disseminate as they talk with people. Key communicators may also report back to me with concerns or praise they are hearing around town regarding the district. You can be added to the key communicator distribution list by contacting Sharry Sherman at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

In order to reach as many community members as possible, an online survey has been created to determine how the public prefers to receive information from the district. A link to the survey can be found on our school district’s website,, under Quick Links.

Please take the time to complete the survey. It should only take a few minutes, and I would greatly appreciate your input! Thanks in advance for your time.

A portion of the survey refers to the online, social media websites Facebook and Twitter. Within the past couple of months, the district has made a presence on these sites. You can become a “fan” of the

La Grande School District on Facebook and “follow” the district on Twitter by clicking on the Quick Links tab on the district’s website, The district can be found on Facebook under “La Grande School District” and on Twitter under “LGSchools.”

It is my goal to have the community receive timely, up-to-date information via updates on Twitter and Facebook, including the latest news, school closure or delay information, event reminders and more.

Community members do not need to have an account with either site to view district notices.

Please take some time to complete the survey and look the District up online. I appreciate your time and input!

Larry Glaze is superintendent of the La Grande School District.