The summer is an excellent time to reflect on how the prior year has gone and what new ideas can be implemented for the new school year.
In this blog, I am posing some questions for educators to reflect on. How we communicate and how our communication is interpreted is important. Certainly, we can all find inspiration from Eric Sheninger’s well-known quote, “ Either you tell your school story or someone else will.”
How you tell your story requires you to be intentional; communication will happen no matter what but without some thought and planning, it might not be the communication you want. So, how is your school telling its story? What do the current communication methods say about your school?
Reflect on my top 7 questions and decide which you and your team do well and where you could improve. Pick three new focus areas to be part of your communication plan for the new school year.
- When a person comes to the front door of your school does signage say visitors please report to the main office or does it say visitors must report to the main office? This may seem small but words send messages.
- Does your front office staff give a great impression to all who enter the office? Remember, how they communicate tells people a lot about the principal. Do office staff have training on customer service?
- Is there an updated calendar on your school website? Who updates the calendar and how often?
- If your school is using Google, are staff use Google Sites or Google Classroom? If yes, have you communicated standards for updating and formatting? Or, are some staff using this great way to communicate while others are not?
- Does your school have a schedule for parent newsletters? Do grade levels or teams send parent communications home on a set schedule? What message is sent when schedules are not followed or one group in a school communicates much more than another group?
- Consider a school-wide positive communication effort. I have no doubt that all schools have some staff who make positive calls to parents but imagine the impact if all staff make a commitment to making at least one positive call during the year for each student they teach.
- Is your school using social media to effectively connect with families and tell the story of your school? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all free and can communicate messages the school needs to send. Do you have a plan for who manages social media in your school along with defined expectations including a minimum number of communications per day?
I started my list with an easy change the others are more challenging. Communication is like a garden it needs sunshine, water, and sometimes some weeding. I suggest choosing no more than three focus areas for the year ahead. It can be tempting to choose more but too much with all a school needs to manage may not allow for successful change. I encourage a purposeful plan to communicate in a coordinated manner. A well-coordinated plan will communicate your school’s story and also the important message, communication matters to us!
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