July 11, 2013
School’s out and the students and teachers are gone, so what does a school district communicate? While it is normal for your communications to “slow down” over June and July, there are still some fundamental things you should be doing. Here are some recommended communication tools for the summer months:
Guest Column in your Local Newspaper. Survey after survey show that most people get information about their local schools in the hometown newspaper. Monthly articles, authored by the superintendent, should continue through the summer. Suggested topics include:
- Congratulating the schools and community on a great year and highlighting academic accomplishments.
- Share what challenges are ahead for the upcoming school year. For example, share information on the new state standards and the state report card. Both items will certainly impact the classroom and the community’s view of the school district.
- Share what teachers are doing over the summer to enhance their knowledge and profession. For example, are some teachers taking classes? Do some teach special classes or tutor over the summer?
Communications Planning and Messaging for Staff. Before your staff begins another school year, schedule time to meet with them to discuss your communications strategy and how they can help you accomplish your communication goals. Provide them with key informational points that they can share out in the community and with parents in their school buildings. This helps ensure key themes are getting out to the public in consistent manner.
Dive into social media. Haven’t started social media? Summer is a great time to start! Getting comfortable with social media takes time, so start somewhere and start small. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or a Blog, choose ONE that is most relevant for you and start slow. Once you become more comfortable, you will be surprised how quickly it becomes a part of your regular communications routine.
Reevaluate your current communications strategy. Take a look at what you did last year and figure out what worked and what didn’t. It’s also a great time to really focus on exploring new communications tools to enhance your current communications strategies and outreach.
Make a Communications Calendar. Take a couple of hours to map out your communications strategy from now until December. Knowing that people get information in different ways, it should include a plan to reach people through face-to-face communications, direct mail, the media, district communications tools and social media.
Summer break is not a “communications break.” Make a plan to do these simple tasks and you can guarantee that your community is receiving a consistent drumbeat of information from you throughout the year.