September 25, 2023

How Schools Can Improve Communication with Parents

Back to school, what an exciting and sometimes confusing time for everybody!

This is a message for the world’s teachers and school administrators. Please take it as a gentle suggestion, and with great respect for the amazing work you do.

Clearer communication means less confusion. Less confusion means fewer people asking questions and taking up your valuable work and teaching time.

One of the biggest issues I have seen historically with school communication goes back to my son’s entrance into kindergarten.

The confusion has continued ever since.

The issue is that teachers and administrators communicate in a way that only an insider would understand.

Example, let’s say that your school runs an event every year called the Book Bash.

When communicating about this event, please don’t forget to be clear.

You want to get the message across to new people who don’t know what the Book Bash actually is.

But doesn’t everybody whose kids go to the school know about the Book Bash?

No. They really don’t.

Here’s a list of people who don’t know.

  • New families who have just moved into town.
  • New members of your staff who are still learning the ropes.
  • People who only have one child. Every year is a first for these parents.
  • Grandparents and guardians who may be assuming responsibility for children for the first time.
  • Parents who have switched roles and are new to the stay-home parent or school activities manager position.

Instead of having to work extra hard to catch these people up individually, it makes the most sense to include background info each time we refer to the event in question.

To do this in online communication, use links. That’s what they’re for.

Any time you send an email out that references a certain themed event, highlight the title of said event. Then link the highlighted words to the original web page that includes all information about the event.

Most parents probably already know about the event, and won’t need to click the link. But there will always be that percentage of individuals just getting on board.

Including that link would be really helpful for them, and it would save teachers and administrators time and communication headaches.

Another thing that can improve and streamline your communication is the use of templates.

As a marketing professional, I keep a folder on my computer called communication templates and I use it for client communication.

You can do this if you work for a school, too.

Some people like to write their own letters, it’s true.

Even so, a communication template really will save you time.

Communication templates can be used to train new staff members.

They can definitely be used when it’s time to recycle seasonal communication.

Organize the templates by subject so that you can access them easily.

You can put them in folders if there are many templates.

Or if you only have a need for one folder, simply name the files logically by topic.

When it comes time to write about a yearly event that will take place, just open the template. Save it as a new file so you can customize your message.

Freshen up the wording by changing the intro a bit.

Add details that would make it current.

Be sure that all the days, dates and times are correct.

Also make sure that staff member names who may be referenced in the letter, are current.

Proofread the new version of your letter and save it in a new file, as mentioned.

You’ll still have the template in tact, which anyone can refer to in the future, as needed.

If you work for a school, I hope you will read this and understand it was meant to help you facilitate communication.

When we communicate clearly, everyone wins!

Wishing everyone a fun and educational school year!

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