When asked about the number one tip for relationships, one popular answer emerges; Communication is key. The same goes for the relationship between schools and the families they serve. One of the reasons for students transferring schools last year was the lack of communication surrounding COVID-19 protocols. This year, school protocols will continue to adapt as changes in the world occur, making communication just as vital. But how do you communicate with families clearly and consistently? Emails and newsletters are often effective methods, but let’s dive into some engaging ways you can reach parents. We’ve compiled a list of three creative ways your school can communicate with families to ensure engagement and transparency.
#1: Utilize Videos
Video has grown increasingly popular as an effective method of communication because of its ability to increase engagement and retention to create a lasting impression on viewers. When outlining protocols and expectations for the year surrounding the health and safety of students, video is one of the best ways to clearly and quickly communicate your message. Create a quick video explaining this year’s protocols to distribute on all your existing platforms, such as your website, social media, and email. Guidelines will be simple for families to understand and remember. Additionally, hearing from a staff member how the school is handling the health and safety of students can bring parents a greater sense of peace. It becomes a one-stop resource for parents to understand how the school is approaching learning for the year. Videos can also help with other messages, such as upcoming events, enrollment processes, or pressing updates.
#2: Integrate a Chat Function
Parents will often explore your school website in search of answers to specific questions. If they cannot find this answer promptly, it generates frustration. While finding important information on your website should be quick and easy, you can simplify this even further by including a live chat feature on your website. A live chat feature allows parents to type their questions and almost immediately receive a response. Chat features can be programmed with automated answers for specific questions, direct parents to a particular tab, or chat directly with someone in the office. Rather than scouring the site, the chat feature allows parents to be informed quickly and effectively, making it an effective method to further communicate with parents. Establish some frequently asked questions parents may have about your school’s guidelines and program these to have automated responses. Additionally, a live chat is an easy-to-use avenue for families to reach out to the school. It demonstrates to parents how much you care about having open communication with members of your school community.
#3: Send a Text
When it comes to communicating pertinent information with families, it’s crucial parents see this info. While the majority of emails are left unopened, text messaging has a 99% open rate. There are stricter protocols to follow when texting parents; however, it’s almost guaranteed families will open and read communication delivered via text. Text messages should be short and straightforward and are often limited to 160 characters. Therefore, they are a great tool to communicate quick reminders or direct parents to a link to further information, such as a video outlining this year’s protocols. Several services exist to make this process simple (like Schola!). You can also encourage teachers at your school to utilize these services for individual classes to remind students about upcoming due dates or changes in assignments. The more your faculty and staff communicate with parents and students, the less room for ambiguity.
Communication can play a significant role in overall student success. Many parents still face much uncertainty with school this upcoming school year, so effective communication brings the peace of mind they need. You can also communicate via your website, social media platforms, hosting virtual meetings and webinars, sending personal letters, or making phone calls. However, before you go implementing new methods of communication, you first must have a solid understanding of your school community. The most effective means of communication will depend on the families at your school, so knowing the school community is imperative. For some schools, parents might be most receptive to Instagram live and tweets. Other schools might have parents who prefer traditional emails and newsletters. Implementing the method parents are most receptive to will boost student retention and demonstrate that you value them as school community members. Schola is here to help equip your school with the tools to improve education outcomes, including ensuring transparent communication with families. Here’s to a year of clear and consistent communication!
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