Technology is allowing us to communicate and connect with others in ways we wouldn't have dreamed possible just a few years ago. In the business world, consumers have grown accustomed to connecting with businesses online in an instant, and it can be challenging to stay competitive if you are not utilizing all of these online challenges.
The same is true in the education world. It's important for K-12 schools and districts to constantly explore the wide range of communications tools available to them as they look to reach their key stakeholders.
Decades ago, school communication was defined mainly by in-person meetings, written correspondence, phone calls and the occasional news story. Now, there's a seemingly endless list of platforms that people use to communicate everything from event details to last-minute school closure announcements. You don’t have to communicate from every platform that’s available, but you should use a few channels to ensure the broadest and most effective reach possible.
These include the following:
- Mobile apps: This provides a great source of information for parents and other community members. After they download the app, they can easily access important information, including emergency announcements, event calendars, school news and contact forms and information. There are numerous platforms that allow schools to create apps at a relatively low cost.
- Email: Emails are a great way for districts to communicate in a format that feels personal, while still having the potential for wide distribution. Using email communication allows you to bridge the gap between technologically connected users and those who are not involved with any social media platforms. You can draft emails to communicate just about anything and include helpful links that direct readers to your website or other relevant content.
- Social media: You can write posts that feature short announcements or describe your district's efforts to ensure a quality education for all students. You don’t have to start posting from every platform at once. Start small with a Facebook or Twitter account, and then develop your presence on social media as you get more comfortable using it.
- Website: It’s essential that you have a website that’s up to date and easy to navigate. Think about what your stakeholders search for when visiting your website, and make those items easily accessible. You might also want to add a blog to your website to draw more visitors to your page and promote engagement from the community.
As a district leader, your primary responsibility is to ensure that the students you serve receive a quality education in a safe environment. But there’s so much more to running a school district than simply implementing strong academic programming. To support the mission of your school, generate fundraising dollars and maintain a positive reputation in your community, you must constantly communicate with your stakeholders. The tools listed above can help.