6 Strategies for Improving Schoolwide Communication
No matter how many years you’ve been teaching or serving as an administrator, communication is always a top priority for your classroom and your school. With technology changing how we interact with the world, communication is evolving with it. Even if you think you are doing a good job with communication, here are some ideas to consider to improve your communication or just add something new to your communication toolbox.
1. Social Media
Everyone is using social media, especially our students. Adding Twitter, Facebook, or even an Instagram account to your school might be new, daunting, and seem like a lot of work. But, it can be a fun way to involve your community and students more. You can post delays and other important information, but you can also celebrate all of the great things taking place within your school community. Celebrate student accomplishments and exciting lessons. Use a special hashtag for families to post pictures in response to a fun school event. Social media is a great way to bring your school and community closer together.
2. Weekly Memos
Sending out a weekly memo to staff, students, and even parents can increase the quality of communication. You can even have separate letters for staff and one for students and parents. For parents and students, you can share that week’s birthdays, spotlight a teacher for people to get to know better, give details of sporting events for the week, or even share an inspirational thought. For teachers, you could share technology tips, celebrate great ideas teachers are implementing within their own classrooms, and staff birthdays. If you’re really feeling tech savvy, you could keep a school blog. The same information could be updated, but in a more advanced format.
3. Bulletin Boards
Utilize a bulletin board in the teachers’ lounge or in the main office. They can be used in a variety of ways. You can post events, inspirational posters, or pictures for all to see. If you want to encourage your students and staff, you can create a shout out board where teachers and students can leave notes for other about someone who did something kind or helpful for them. This not only increases communication, but it also creates a positive environment that both staff and students want to be part of.
4. Tea with Teachers
Tea with Teachers, or some kind of teacher-oriented event, can be orchestrated for any age group to encourage relationships between teachers, students, and even parents. This can be a time where teachers are available with snacks or tea and students and parents can spend some quality time with their teachers. Parents can even schedule time to discuss their child if they would like. While this could sound like a parent-teacher conference, it could be a more relaxed environment. This is a great opportunity to build relationships.
5. Snail Mail
Sending a monthly newsletter the old-fashioned way is still a wonderful way to communicate. You can share celebrations, show off student work, introduce new staff members, important corporation decisions, give parents helpful tips, and give dates for upcoming events for the month. Even though the traditional postal service might seem outdated, it can still be nice to receive something in the mail that isn’t a bill. It is also something you can send to everyone in the district, even those who may not necessarily attend your school. This is a great way to build community.
6. Your LMS
Your Learning Management System is another awesome tool to use for communication. It keeps kids and parents connected to their teachers by class. An LMS allows parents to see missing assignments and upcoming work. It also helps keep students informed and is a base of information. Teachers can post announcements and celebrations. This is an excellent way to communicate using technology that you already have.
Lastly, we should focus on how you communicate. While there are times when you need to communicate a problem with a student to another staff member or a parent, make sure that you are sending out positive messages as well. Emailing parents when you notice their students doing something exceptionally well is a great way to build trust and a relationship with both parents and students.
You should also communicate often. Even sending a weekly email with what is taking place within your classroom that week can help everyone prepare for big tests and projects and keeps everyone in the loop. Communicating often also keeps the door open for students and parents to return your email or phone call. Keeping the lines of communication open is essential.
Hopefully, you find these tips and ideas helpful. Do you have ways that help you communicate well within your school? Share with us on Twitter @Schoology