Tweet, Snap and Gram your way to better school communication Educational

My eldest daughter, Reaghan, is preparing to be a fifth grader, while my youngest, Chesney, will be a first grader this year. Going back to school with them is one of the busiest times of the year. There are many meetings, papers to read and fill in, and new things to learn about your school. As a parent, I rely heavily on the district’s and its school’s communication efforts. Classes haven’t even started yet and they get a lot of calls, letters from the school and the district, and lots of other information.

We have 2 weeks left!

This is a great time of year for any school or district to see how they communicate. Evaluate the methods used, analyze the effectiveness and longevity of the communication and assess the audience reached. The ultimate purpose of this communication is not only to exchange information, but also to promote engagement within the school, district, and community.

Traditionally, schools and counties have used things like home notes, weekly packages, phone calls, and / or email to communicate year-round. While many of them are still valuable and have their place, there are new and not entirely new social media media that can be used to deepen community engagement or do something completely different. This media can be a quick and easy way to not only exchange current information, but also tell the wonderful stories that exist in your buildings.

Here are some ideas to build a community, improve School: Home Communications, and have some fun with social media.

Twitter: You may not think there is enough space in 280 characters to get your message across, but Twitter can be a powerful way to connect with parents and the community. In 280 characters, you can share a powerful idea, reminders of upcoming events, and signs of encouragement. Twitter continues to grow as a popular place for parents and community members. Hashtags can also be powerful to increase the reach of a district or school. Nowadays, many schools and districts create and use hashtags on Twitter to unify conversations. These hashtags can also be used by parents, students, and the community to share.

Ideas for Twitter:

  • Share a daily quote or encouragement message.
  • Post links to resources or websites for parent engagement or curriculum resources.
  • Encourage the use of the school or district hashtag to encourage parents, students, and the community to share stories, images, and videos from their perspective.
  • Share links to other ideas.

Instagram: Images can help us better tell a story or capture what’s happening in your building. Parents and the community like to see their students in the classroom or athletes in the field. Instagram made it easy for everyone to become a professional photographer, and sharing these pictures is easy. Using instagrm in schools or telling the district’s history can be another way to get parents and the community to open a window on the school and showcase the learning and accomplishments that take place.

Ideas for Instagram:

  • Share a student of the day or pictures of what’s going on in the classroom.
  • Pictures of sporting events, clubs or concerts underline the commitment of the students in the district.
  • Images or videos to help parents understand curricula, standards, or help.
  • Give the students a voice and let them take over the account once a week or month and decide which story they want to tell through pictures.

Snapchat / Instagram stories: You may not think Snapchat or Instagram stories have a place in the classroom or school, but they can be very exciting and an easy way to expand your audience. The premise for both is the same. You add pictures and short videos to your story. You stay part of your story for 24 hours and after that they are gone.

Ideas for using stories:

  • A day in the life of a student or employee
  • A day in class. What are the different classes in your building on a typical day?
  • Share pictures and videos of a specific event, such as a career fair or meeting.
  • Create a story about the big game, concert, or art event.

Periscope / Facebook Live / IGTV: Video can be a great way to get the community involved if the community can’t get to school. In the past, broadcasting videos and events within the school was a difficult process that used expensive equipment and required a high level of expertise. No longer! With the phone that you have with you or the tablet with which you are reading this post, you can transmit videos in real time.

Periscope, Facebook Live and IGTV are three easy options without special equipment. With Periscope, videos are archived and can be shared via a link, published on your Twitter account or published on platforms such as YouTube. A Facebook account must be used for Facebook Live. However, the video is immediately archived and shared in your news feed. IGTV is an app that you download and the videos go straight to your Instagram feed. All services offer the ability to comment and share as a video while it is broadcast live.

Ideas for using live video:

  • Send back-to-school meetings or other meetings for parents and parishioners who are unable to attend throughout the school year.
  • Weekly message from the Supt. Or other members of the management team about what’s happening in the district.
  • Broadcast sporting events or have students comment on events.
  • Are you doing a science fair, geography fair or other student celebration of work? Submit it and let the students make the comment.

Finally use your website: I know this post is about innovative ways to improve School: Home Communications, but let’s be real. The school website is still an important and valuable tool for communicating with your parents and the community. Many are still visiting your school website to find information, contact numbers, and resources to help their students at home.

Increase a viewer’s length of stay by combining educational news with posts that share a story. Posting pictures, videos, and messages that capture what it’s like to be a student or staff member in your school or district can be a great way to let the community know what’s going on there. Your website is less about the static information published there and more about the stories. Remember that many of the tools listed here can be embedded on your website. So you can place your Twitter or Instagram feed exactly where everyone can see it.

Ideas for your website:

  • Post the morning announcements through a video. If you are using YouTube Live, you can embed the video archive.
  • Recognize a student / employee / volunteer of the week. Give them a short questionnaire to which you can post the answers.
  • Do you have a competition where you post baby pictures of students / staff in the comments. Let people guess who is building the school culture and community.
  • For high schools in autumn, run stories about where staff attended college to get juniors and seniors to think about where to apply

The key to success is that communication is constantly changing. There is this dynamic ups and downs in communication with stakeholders that must always be taken into account. What works for one may not work for another. It is therefore important to further evaluate the methods and tools used and to measure their effectiveness. By analyzing metrics and interviewing parents and the community, you can gain valuable insight into your effectiveness and possibly also take a new way to improve your school: home communication.

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