3 Ways to Support Your School Vendors During the COVID Crisis

Having visited over 1,000 schools, I have come to realize that school culture is about everyone – students, parents, staff members, and community stakeholders – all working together to support the overall vision of a school.

If you downloaded a free copy of my book, Building School Culture From the Inside Out, you know the importance of these school culture ingredients, but in the wake of COVID-19, I thought it might be important to discuss an often overlooked stakeholder: your educational vendors.

Every school is stronger because of the contractors and vendors that keep its efforts moving forward. From companies like TEEN TRUTH or CharacterStrong that offer speaking programs and SEL curriculum, to vendors such as Lifetouch or SOS Entertainment that offer photography or school DJ services, school culture is the sum of many parts coming together as one.

With COVID-19 shutting down schools and changing the educational focus to distance learning, many school vendors have been left to pick up the pieces. 

Here are 3 simple ways to support your vendors during COVID-19:

Recognize the Financial Impact

As an educational leader you are the head coach of your team. Vendors can be some of your star players, so make sure to recognize the financial impact COVID-19 might be having on their businesses. This can be as simple as calling to check on them, or working with your business office to make sure that past due invoices or upcoming deposits are paid in full and on time. Cash flow might be very important for many of your vendors that have teams to pay and summer months on the horizon.

Work to Reschedule Programming

We’ve been lucky at TEEN TRUTH that our schools have aggressively worked to reschedule Spring programs for the Summer and Fall months. This has helped to keep our organization healthy, but not all vendors have a strong relationship with their clients. Once you have time to come up for air, reach out to your vendors and see what programs you can reschedule. Which services you can change and re-book. Or even which contracts you can extend into the 2020 – 2021 school year. A little stability might go a long way for your teammates.

Get Excited About Going Digital

Most vendors are probably used to working with you on-campus. In fact, they might pride themselves on being an interactive part of your school culture. Unfortunately, some groups will not be able to maneuver through school closings, but others are working feverishly to launch digital offerings to help support you. We launched TEEN TRUTH/365 to offer free virtual assemblies and interactive classes to our schools because times are tough and we want to help! Get excited about these new offerings. Work with your vendors to provide feedback and improvements. Understand that these companies are part of YOUR team and they might need some feedback and support during these difficult times.

COVID-19 has caused a ton of obstacles and fear, but those of us who are educational leaders will find a way to build school culture and improve mental health despite this crisis. Don’t forget your school vendors in the process, I guarantee they have great pride and a lot to offer in being part of your school culture plan.

P.S. With many of TEEN TRUTH’s spring schools moving to the fall, we are expecting August, September, and October to be booked solid. If you are interested in hosting a school assembly, leadership summit, or staff training please reach out to us today.  We would love to get you on our schedule before all the best dates are booked!

JC Pohl, LMFT
President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH

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