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Good School Communication Creates Champions

When the chips are down, nothing helps turnaround negative news or social media chatter faster than some strong community champions. Turn your parents, alumni and other stakeholders into advocates and allies who will speak out and support you.

By communicating consistently with your audience through multiple channels (print, website, e-blasts, social media, etc.) throughout the year, families, alumni, staff — and even your students — are more likely to come to your defense in times of need because they are well-informed and feel like they are a valued part of your school community.

Here are some things to note about clear and consistent communication:

  1. It creates a sense of belonging.
  2. An open flow of information and conversation builds trust.
  3. When people feel part of the process, it leads to a better end result.
  4. Knowledge is power and it leads to security and less fear of the unknown.

Here are some tips on how and what to communicate:

When there is a hot topic in the press, address it while it is top of mind.

Right now, bringing students safely back to school is part of the national dialogue. Communicate with families about your return to learning plans and the safety measures you’re taking for your students and staff. As the current COVID-19 situation evolves, your communication can reflect those changes. 

Be transparent and speak truthfully.

If you’re limited on what you can say in a particular situation, be honest about it. As you get more information, you can update your communications. A truthful statement with minimal information is more effective than a false statement or a vague one with missing information. Aim to build trust amongst your community during this time of great uncertainty.

Invite the submission of new and creative content from school staff, students and parents.

Right now families in our communities need to be reminded of the joy that school brings. Ask your teachers to share the work that their students are creating. Invite families to share how they are staying connected to your district despite physical separation. School looks different this year, but the joy and love for learning is still growing. Engaging others will provide new perspectives and build a sense of community in your online presence. 

Use pictures and videos to tell stories.

Images put a face on issues and communicate emotion in a way that words can’t. We’ve seen emotions heightened to a new level in the last year. Images and videos that show the children and adults behind those emotions allow a connection to grow. Let’s use images and videos to unite communities through this emotional situation. Images also help to transcend language barriers by communicating a message visually rather than verbally or written. 

Celebrate successes, big and small.

People love good getting good news, and it softens the blow of bad news if it happens to occur. It also builds a sense of pride in a school or district they are invested in. We’re living in a time filled with many uncontrollable situations. One thing we can control is how we celebrate our victories. Take control of your successes and share that celebration with your school community. 

Take the time to consistently practice good communication and you are more likely see a positive impact when it matters most.

Published on: March 3, 2021