Innovative Promotional Tools You Probably Haven’t Considered

Blogging has become one of the most popular ways for people to share ideas, engage in dialogue, and interact with others who share a common interest. They usually are short essays published online according to a regular schedule, such as daily or weekly, revolving around a particular subject, such as food, sports, raising children or any other topic.

Currently, there are an estimated 450 million blogs being published on the internet. Blogs are free to create on blog hosting sites such as WordPress and Blogger, most of which also provide easy-to-use free tools and pre-made “themes” to make your blog look professional.

Blogs can include photos, videos, audio recordings, slideshows and many other forms of rich text. Bloggers sometimes make their blogs more interactive and entertaining by including polls and contests, and by encouraging their readers to leave comments and interact with them online.

Free and Effective Way to Connect with Passion Markets

Creating your own blog can be an effective way to promote your webpage because it’s an easy way to attract people who already are interested in your topic niche. By providing them with valuable information and rich content in your blog, you can build a relationship with your readers, ultimately directing them back to your website.
Plus, blogging is fun and interesting and you can quickly become immersed in a community of people who are friendly and knowledgeable about your niche subject

Growing Power of Audio

Podcasting is a form of digital media consisting of a series of audio or video files usually all devoted to a certain topic. They can be created for free using the audio and video tools that are included with most newer computers, laptops, tablets and even smartphones and can be distributed for free on iTunes, YouTube and other free distribution networks.

You can also send your podcast to a list of subscribers or post links to your podcasts on your web page or blog.

Like blogs, podcasts are an effective way to target people who share your passion for your niche subject, and can therefore be a great way to promote your website. Although some podcasts feature elaborate production – including professional-quality editing, musical scores and other production values – most are simply people talking into a microphone or video camera about a topic that interests them.

Unlike blogs, podcasts give you the opportunity to speak directly to your listeners or viewers. This can make it easier to engage them emotionally and show your personality, which can be an effective way of branding your website. Podcasts usually are played back later by users on iPods or portable viewing devices.

Video Blogging

During the early years of the internet, audio podcasts were the podcasting method of choice, but now with the near universality of video playback capabilities, video podcasts are becoming more popular.

Join Online Communities

Join the Party

Creating a reputation for your online business is no different than building a brand for a brick and mortar business. As the business owner, you need to get out into your community and meet people. Look for organizations that are relevant to your business’ niche and become involved in their online communities.

Introduce yourself to as many people as necessary and be prepared to “sell” your website to them in a few short sentences. One of the best ways to make friends online – or in the real world, for that matter – is to offer to help the other person, instead of asking for something all the time.

If you offer to write a testimonial for their website, for example, or to provide a free sample of some of your products, they probably will be open to the idea of helping you in return.

Be Nice, Get Paid

It’s also important to always be friendly and helpful to everybody that you encounter online because you never know who is going to be a potential customer. In most cases, the only point of contact people will have with you will be your online persona, so make sure you are consistently outgoing and always offer to assist people in whatever way you can.

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3 Simple Ways For Increasing Website Traffic

Increasing traffic to your website does not have to be done by a professional. This can be done by anyone who has a computer. When you get more traffic to your website you have more potential customers to show your products and services.

There are some easy methods to use that will contribute to acquiring more traffic for your site such as: utilizing search engines, choosing correct keywords, and having enough content to consistently direct traffic. These methods will slowly but surely draw more and more traffic to your website that will potentially make you more money.

Utilizing search engines can be a very significant way for your website to increase traffic. Building up a name in search engines will make it easier for people searching for whatever your website promotes to find it.

There is no point in having a website if no one can find it right?

So making sure your site is easily identifiable in major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing will make it much easier to gain more viewers to your site. Increasing website traffic can be a rewarding experience financially.

Keywords are very important when you are looking to increase website traffic. Using strong highly used keywords and keyword phrases correctly can draw substantial traffic to your website. Keywords are words or a phrase of words that relates to the service or product you have on your site. These words represent exactly what the consumers are searching for.

For example, if your website specializes in auto repair for Ford manufactured cars a keyword would be mustang repairs. The best keywords are very specific and unique. Providing highly used keywords makes your site easier to find in major search engines.

Providing original content is the most important task you can do to increase website traffic. With content you have keywords and more keywords. As mentioned before the more keywords you have that are being used the more people will find your website. Using blogs and articles to drive traffic is a popular method.

This provides continuous original content that is related and informative which draws regular consumers. Successful websites will have great content that provides information without boring the reader. If you are not a writer, it is a good idea to look into outsourcing for articles. There are plenty of writers for hire who know how to create great original content.

These three methods can increase traffic to your website extremely fast. With consistent work, you can have a website that draws hundreds of viewers a day in no time. Your job is to have the product and provide ways for customers to get it.

Without views there will be no sales so be sure to update content daily to have the potential to draw more and more traffic. Having the necessary information in creating keywords will be the best way for you and your business to flourish. Keywords are a very important part of online businesses, be sure to do your research.

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Increasing Website Traffic, With Quality Context

WEBSITE QUALITY

Review the website for quality content. The information should be presented in simple, concise and practical language, with particular attention paid to good grammar and correct spelling. Ensure that the navigation is simple.

Your website branding, appearance and usability are a reflection of your business, so make sure to have good design and strong functionality.

SERVICE AND RESPONSE

It is good business to provide a way for customers to contact you, either by phone, email, or through a contact form. Have processes in place to respond to inquiries when customers contact you. Make sure that orders are filled properly and promptly, with the least possible inconvenience to the customer.

Here is a look at where website visitors come from and how to maximize each traffic channel:

Direct visitors – These are people who type in your domain name and go directly to your website. Three key tactics are regularly used to increase direct visitor traffic:

Memorable domain names – Choosing the right domain name to represent your business online can have a significant impact on visitor traffic. An existing business should generally try to use an established name as its domain name. For example, Joe’s Beach Pails should obtain a domain name such as joesbeachpails.ca or joesbeachpails.com. By doing so, Joe is taking advantage of the branding that his company has achieved. People who are already familiar with the real world Joe’s Beach Pails company will easily remember the domain name, which will make locating the website more intuitive.

Offline advertising and promotion – Business cards, postcards, traditional direct mail, newspaper ads, flyers, giveaways and brochures that feature a domain name are all excellent ways to promote a website. A good marketing campaign will use a combination of offline advertising techniques to direct a potential customer to your website where you can display more detailed sales information and encourage the visitor to make contact or to buy.

Viral marketing – The premise of viral marketing is that there is nothing quite as valuable as a friend’s referral. On the Internet it is quick and easy to let someone know about a great website, company or product. Like a virus, a good idea can be spread at an incredible rate, passing from person to person and steadily increasing awareness of your website. By turning your own customers into sales agents, your business can implement viral marketing as an effective, inexpensive promotional tool.

Visitors who find you through search engines – Most people find websites through the help of a search engine or directory, so it is important that your website be properly listed and accessible to users.

Search engine services: Since listing a website can sometimes be a complicated process, you may find it easier to hire a business that specializes in search engine submission and website optimization. When you do, it is a good idea to check into the business’ deliverables, follow-up services, customer service and track record.

Paid ads – All major search engines and directories offer a range of advertising options to suit every budget and every type of marketing campaign. Here’s an overview of some of the options that are available:

Buying a higher ranking position – Search engines will provide your business with a higher ranking position if you buy a search term. For example, the term “fishing” may be bought by B’s Fishing Store. When a visitor searches for the term “fishing”, B’s listing will appear at the top of the list, but will be identified as a paid listing.

Pay-per-click ads – Some search engines and websites offer an advertising option in which you are only charged for the actual number of clicks to your website. For example, when a visitor searches on the term “fishing”, the ad and the link to B’s Fishing Store website is displayed. If the visitor actually clicks on it, then B’s Fishing Store will be billed.

Banner ads – Many sites offer banner advertising. You can negotiate various deals and models. Banner ads can be set to display based on the demographics or behavioural characteristics of the visitor (such as last few sites viewed) which are tracked through the visitor’s browser cookies. Banner ads are often designed in multiple versions and then tested online to see which ones are most effective.

Linked visitors – By its nature the Internet connects people with other people and businesses, and encourages cross-linking and cross-integration. To drive more traffic to your website, it makes sense to have as many other websites as possible link back to yours. Many search engines also use the number and quality of links directing people back to your website when calculating the ranking position: the more quality links, the higher the position. Note, however, that paid links won’t impact your ranking; only organic (free) ones will.

Depending on the type of website you have, you will have different linking strategies available to you. A website rich in content will be a more valued link than a business website that simply promotes its own product. There are various opportunities to explore.

Free links – Sources of potential free links include:

Clubs, organizations, and business affiliations to which you belong

Partners, suppliers, resellers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers

Niche business directories, government directories or non-profit organization sites

Paid links – Some of the same sources as above, plus:

Industry magazines, directories, news sites

Local government or business associations

Resource websites, online malls, search terms, retail directories

Banner/display advertising – This is available on a vast range of websites from search engines to portals to industry-specific websites. When planning a banner advertising campaign, you need a significant budget in order to sustain the ad strategy. One benefit of banner advertising is that the creative aspect can be tested while the campaign is still running and extensive data can be collected to measure the success of the campaign. The results can be used to adjust the design or the placement of the ads throughout the campaign.

Improving ranking

Improving visibility is known as search engine optimization, and you can do this as you create your content.

While each search engine uses its own algorithm for ranking, they each examine headings and descriptions. It is therefore wise to focus your energy in these areas.

Tips to improve ranking

Use reader-friendly words over industry terms

Write descriptions that attract readers and that represent your website

Link to reputable, complementary businesses and have them link to your website

Incorporate keywords, but remember that keyword flooding can lower your ranking

Submit your website to topic-specific and audience-specific directories

Limit your use of images and graphs; consider supplementing with plain text links

Promote your website and give readers a reason to visit it

Once your website’s ranking has improved, keep it that way by reviewing these steps on a regular basis and making changes to your site when needed.

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5 Top Advantages of Promotional Tents for Events

Business Can Be Taken To Different Locations

Most companies conduct business and engage with potential customers by means of showrooms. However, the problem is, traditional showrooms are rigid and inflexible. If they want to let more people from other places know about their brand, it is best to rent or purchase a marquee tent, which is available at local event companies.

All they need to do is set up the pop up tent at trade shows, community fairs, markets or wherever their customer base is located. They will have their own space and use customized branding so consumers will remember their business.

Boost Engagement Using a Standout Display

Companies can network and engage with prospects at trade events. However, it can be hard to get the people’s attention when there are lots of other businesses around. Therefore, they need to do something to let their company stand above the rest of the crowd.

They can customize their event tents with colored walls of their choice and canopies. They can also print their branding in full-color text complete with graphics. High quality tents can draw more customers and provide them with an opportunity to market their brand and products.

When businesses participate in trade events on a regular basis, a marquee event tent can help a lot.

Tents are versatile and User-Friendly

A number of the biggest companies join extravagant traveling road shows that feature modified trucks and campers. This can be cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses. On the other hand, a tent can be a versatile and cost-efficient solution that offers most of the several advantages given by a motorized showroom.

Modern tents are not only safe; they are also easy to assemble using uncomplicated tools. Basic marquee tents can be assembled by only a few skilled team members, reducing costs in the long run.

Marquee Tents are Effective for Sponsorship

One of the effective ways to develop a brand is by engaging with a community. When a business entails some sort of sponsorship, it would be a great idea to rent a marquee tent for a single event or invest in a customized one to use for a long time. This can be used in community functions, sports events and local farmer’s markets, to name a few. When businesses are active in their community, using a tent with clear, visible branding can provide people with a shaded area during events.

They can optimize their marketing by means of creative brand exposure at sponsored events.

Promotional Tents Are Cost Effective

To minimize costs while keeping their business lean and agile, companies can rent or buy a commercial/event tent from their local event tent company. A marquee tent allows them to set up wherever they are, when they are hosting an event on their property or heading out on the road.

The features of versatile marquee tents include interchangeable canopies and walls, mounting solutions for decorations and lighting plus connecting structures that can create a bigger complex of tents for projects like trade shows.

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Important Factors to Consider When Creating a Website

Purpose of Creating the Website

When a website is built with a purpose in mind, this will let businesses have clearer goals that will enable them to improve the whole planning process. Website projects have different goals including building traffic and improving communications between a brand and its target audience.

Prior to developing a website, it is crucial to know the exact purpose of the website. Businesses should also know the best way to set goals and create a website that meets this ultimate purpose. These important things to consider will help them create a focus and support the whole project.

Web Design and Layout

The way a website is designed, in terms of UI and UX, psychologically affects the way people respond. There is nothing better than a remarkable online user experience. When a website is being developed, one vital factor to keep in mind is creating an appealing design. Clean, quality designs allow viewers to focus on valuable content displayed and the brand’s essence.

Typography

It is very important to understand the typography fundamentals for a website. Texts that are extremely big or small can have an effect on the viewers’ response to them. Fonts should be given close attention, choosing one that directly draws the target audience without compromise to the brand’s purpose.

Security

A lot of websites fall prey to hackers either because of ignorance or poor maintenance. Any website can become a victim of several threats including malware and viruses, among others, particularly due to the latest advancements in technology and constant updates that make websites open to many, different risks.

Performance and Speed

Even if websites have great content, visitors can be discouraged when they are slow due to functionality errors. An optimized website that functions fast can benefit from the following: increase in returning visitors/customers, higher search result ranking (that has an effect on traffic) plus efficient mobile performance. These should always be considered before building a website to make sure of an overall effective performance.

Target Market

It is also important for businesses to know their target market and customers’ requirements to build a website that addresses their needs. For instance, a website designed for fashion enthusiasts is far more different than a site built for engineering professionals. A clear understanding of the market specifications will give a clearer picture of the web design, colors, style theme, layout, call to action and content strategy.

SEO and Important Plugins

SEO is among the most important aspects of a website. Even with great content and other smooth functionalities, everything will be pointless if SEO is not given importance. Creating a website that has a clean SEO code will make it easier to be visible to the target audience.

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6 Elements of Web Design That Are Crucial to Success

1.Call to Action (CTA)

Customers get encouraged to engage with a business when there are calls to action (CTAs) on its website. For instance, words like “Contact us today” shows that a business wants to build a relationship with its customers. However, businesses should make sure that CTAs are relevant to a visitor’s level of engagement with the company.

When visitors are only starting to learn more about a brand, the company can ask them to subscribe to its email newsletter. On the other hand, loyal customers will probably like to join a brand’s loyalty rewards program. No matter what companies want visitors to do at their site, they should add a call to action on all their web pages.

2.Short Loading Time

Whenever people search information on the web, they like the loading time to be as quick as possible. Otherwise, they will leave the website at once. Testing their website beforehand will allow them to determine loading time problems, which can be addressed in time for the site’s release.

Providing customers with a great user experience will increase customer retention so it is best to evaluate a site’s loading time the moment it has launched. With short loading times, customers get the information they need when they need it. When a website fails to deliver, it will be left behind by competition.

3.Active Blog

An active blog enables customers to remain updated on the company’s events, most recent products and other industry-related info. It is an effective way to stay connected with them, particularly if the things that companies post encourage viewers to engage with their brand.

Updating their blog on a regular basis lets customers know more about their brand’s values and willingness to encourage communication. When they deliver fresh, relevant, engaging content to users, their brand becomes recognized, which makes them an authority in the industry.

4.Clean, SEO-Friendly Code

It is crucial for companies to have a clean, SEO-friendly code when they are creating new web pages or optimizing those that already exist. Improving a site’s code can boost the overall ROI (return on investment).An SEO-friendly code give a clean picture of a site’s content to guide search engine spiders.

WordPress and other CMS services offer plug-ins that can make the process of boosting search engine rankings and cleaning up code easier. Since WordPress does not require much knowledge on coding, it is a viable solution for companies that struggle to drive traffic to their sites.

5.Compatibility with Different Browsers

With the progress of technology comes the steady growth of internet browsers. It can be challenging to keep up with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox, to name a few. In designing a website, it is a must to make sure that a website can be reached from different browsers.

A site should register well on the major browsers as well as the older versions. Ignoring this important step may disregard a big percentage of a company’s customer base. It can bring about unnecessary expenses to a developing business.

6.Navigation

When customers find it hard to navigate a website, they will leave and move on to other sites. To make navigation more appealing and efficient, businesses should review their site and look at it in the eyes of a new visitor. They should only choose sensible navigation streams.

Including a site map is an effective way to allow visitors to navigate more easily and search engines to crawl a site. In addition, streamlining navigation by removing pages that are not needed or do not perform can reduce load time, which in turn improves the quality of a brand’s online presence.

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Should You Go for Mobile Sites or Responsive Sites

According to statistics, using mobile devices to conduct searches online has considerably grown in the last two years. As a matter of fact, about 95% of mobile device users depend on their gadgets to look for local products and/or services. For this reason, businesses have to make sure that their websites register well on all kinds of devices to reach this increasing number of mobile users.

It is but wise for large companies with web presence to create a mobile-friendly website that can be clearly viewed from any device. So, when businesses plan to launch a new website, it is best to choose a responsive web design that is able to adapt to any mobile device.

Incorporated with Social Media

Nowadays, websites are required to be integrated with social media. Due to the latest technology, sharing information is now more convenient therefore; businesses that do not incorporate social media fail to benefit from the so-called modern day word-of-mouth marketing.

Social media paves a way for customers to promote a business’ brand, give reviews and be updated about the latest news on the company. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest make it easy for businesses to distribute their written and visual content like product images and brand videos.

Captcha Tests

Businesses that do not have ready captcha tests receive nothing but spam in their contact forms, website forms and comment sections. Such tests that come in the form of random letters and numbers typed before submission of a web-based form, spell the difference between humans and robots.

Including these short captcha tests in their contact forms will make sure that humans alone are able to utilize their site’s resources, which let them save both time and costs.

Efficient Security

As technology evolves, the latest, more advanced security risks have greater chances of compromising a website’s reputation. These include malware, viruses, malicious apps as well as the dangers posed by hackers. Websites have to prevent security breaches on the front and back ends.

Ecommerce sites and other websites designed to conduct online transactions require extra security measures to secure customer personal details. To reduce the possibility of browser-based risks, businesses should include SSL certificates in their websites.

While this is being developed, it is crucial to go over the security features added to the website’s framework and design. It is important, as well, to conduct security checks on a regular basis or else, hire the services of a provider for the job.

Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials, just like offsite reviews, can be used to promote businesses. Including customer testimonials on a site will reveal more about a company’s products, services and customer commitment.

When companies have an existing loyal customer base, they can solicit some online reviews. In case these customers provide their recorded testimonials, this is the right time to make branded videos. The more sincere and detailed testimonials provide more chances of drawing new customers.

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Better Academic Outcomes In Small Schools

Small schools have great variety. We learned that we don’t need standardized schools — that kills the soul! In Chicago we saw fabulous small schools that were Afro-centric, schools that focused on phonics, fabulous small schools about whole language, small schools that are using the city as a place to investigate. Why? Because they were small, they were focused and they beat the odds on academic outcomes. Small schools are the single most powerful intervention that we can imagine for young people. And the evidence at high schools was even more powerful, as you’ll see in our report.

Learning Lessons

There are now data from 25 years on big mistakes we make when we’re reforming high schools. The data reveal these myths:

• Myth One: You can reform schools incrementally. Forget it. You never get to where you thought you were going. Despite your anxiety, work the hard issues up front; you cannot work your way into them. You cut too many deals if you ease off and make everybody happy in the beginning. And I see a lot of people doing that. I’ve seen too many schools start out saying we’re going to break big schools into small schools. They keep almost everything the same. And within three years, they end up with a couple of interdisciplinary classes. The bottom of the school — where failure is more evident — is never touched.
• Myth Two: You can keep the same infrastructure. We’re still going to have the principal, the 16 vice principals, all those deans for discipline, the boys’ deans and the girls’ deans. And department heads and counselors that are organized by an alphabet, and then classroom teachers, who are doing the real work. And what we’re going to do now, maybe, is take the department heads and make them the heads of the small schools. Forget it. This is a time for serious conversation. Where I’ve seen it done well, like in New York City, labor unions have been fabulously supportive. Yet, I keep hearing from management how labor won’t go for it, so they’re not willing to push the limits. You can’t keep the same infrastructure.
• Myth Three: You need a separate ninth grade. One lesson is don’t do a ninth grade school – a kind of vertical, horizontal thing. You just create another threshold, and then the students drop out after ninth grade. If you’re going to build a community, it’s nine-12. And you know what, the seniors do not molest the ninth graders. They help them!
• Myth Four: Veteran teachers are cynical. “Old” teachers can’t and won’t do what’s necessary, and their experience equals burnout. We have seen the limit of treating experienced teachers like they are dead wood. A bunch of schools in New York decided to hire young, excited, amazing young people from Brown and Wesleyan. And they’re all really, really smart. But it would have been nice to have some teachers who know something.
• Myth Five: Standards and standardization are the same. Standards are not the same as standardization. Small schools, by their nature, are very interested in being held accountable — which is one of the remarkable things about small schools. The parking lots aren’t empty at 2:00 p.m. Teachers hold each other accountable; they hold the students accountable; parents hold the teachers accountable; and everybody holds the parents accountable. Kids hold themselves accountable. Standards are not the same as being the same.
• Myth Six: Professional development has to happen from the outside. Teachers have an incredible amount of knowledge, if given the space to say what 20 years inside dysfunctional institutions has done to them. A relation between inside and outside expertise is fragile — and powerful.
• Myth Seven: Tokenism will solve the problem. Two more black faces in an AP class just doesn’t do it for me. You can’t just play with the top and color-coat. You’ve got to take on the whole thing. Whole-school reform is the point.
• Myth Eight: One of my worst nightmares is when people turn small schools into tracks. There was a school somewhere in America, where administrators decided that they’d have five small schools inside one previous big-school building. So one school was going to be the Special Ed school; one was going to be the Chapter One school; one was going to be the pregnant and parenting school; and one was going to be the language school, for the Latino kids. And then, one school was going to be the humanities school, to attract the middle-class white kids back to the school. That’s not what anybody ever meant by small schools. That is a fundamental distortion. Small schools are heterogeneous, and commit to figuring out how to bring the genius out in everyone.
• Myth Nine: The illusion that accountability means rules and surveillance of teachers and students. That is not accountability, that is oppression. Accountability comes from relationships and responsibility. That’s what small schools produce. You can’t hide. It’s a group of committed folks.

Accountability requires autonomy. A big mistake is not giving small schools the autonomy that they need to do the work that they need to do. Small school teachers, and parents, and community members are willing to be held accountable. But the only way they can be held accountable is if you give them the autonomy to develop the curriculum, to organize their time, to figure out their assessment system and the ways that they would measure student progress. We could always close down small schools if they don’t work. However, we don’t close down big high schools when they don’t work. Close small schools down if they don’t work, but first, give them time. Let them grow. Don’t make autonomy a gift that some schools can earn. That’s a setup. Make autonomy a beginning condition. Then put people under the light of surveillance if they screw it up. What we do now is put everybody under the light of surveillance, and it chokes them.

What’s Needed Now?

First, I’m very taken by this “metropolitanization” analysis. It’s a good idea, and very useful to document the space of injustice between what’s happening in urban areas and what’s happening just on the other side of the border. In education, we could easily do that. We could track who’s in Special Ed; who’s getting college-eligible courses; who’s in AP classes; what are the post-graduate outcomes; how much teachers get paid; what are the drop-out rates across our cities; and where are the certified teachers. And we could document pretty easily the redlining of public education.

Second, we need a theory of change. I don’t think it’s hard to imagine where we need to go. That’s not the mystery. How to get there is not so clear; and how to get there systemically is less clear. I’m tired of hearing small schools is not a systemic strategy. It could be a systemic strategy if districts figured out how to learn from small schools rather than crush them. So we need a joint strategy of internal-to-districts work, and external advocacy. There are teachers who are quitting because they won’t teach English only. There are teachers who are refusing to place kids in a bottom track. There are parents who are creating freedom schools in the South, and some of that is getting called home schooling. And not all of those people are our enemies. They are asking for inside help and external push. We need the combination of pilots and protests. We need the melding of internal reform and sit-ins. We need to be working both sides. This is what I mean by the politics of urgency.

Third, we need to offer support for teachers and parents and places not yet engaged in reform. Too many of our friends are teaching and working and committed to schools that haven’t yet done the work. What we can’t do is only go to the places where there’s sufficient energy for change or we will lose some of our most dedicated buddies and friends. I know many of us have committed to staying in places that are not “there” yet, and you’re doing God’s work. Thank you all.

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