Over the summer months, I thought a lot about communication, with both staff, parents and community. During that time, I weighed the many options available to our school using many formats, including social media. With this in mind, I felt we should try the following this year:
1. School web page w/blog: This is a fairly efficient way of disseminating information to the school community. The set-up is fairly standard with tabs for various groups. However, we now include a blog where we can submit posts and have parents comment to them. The two-way communication is quite nice and one we need to promote.
2. Twitter: We now have a Twitter account @montsaskschool. This is ideal for quick bits of info. like updates, scores at sporting events, etc. However, I would like to know exactly how other schools use Twitter, specifically, the school account. All my staff now have accounts and I need to continue to promote the use of Twitter with them, as it is such a great tool for educators.
3. Synrevoice: We will continue to use this service provided to our school by the school division. We can send messages out to our entire school population within one or two minutes using this phone service. I believe we will use the service more for things like advising parents when newsletters go home, report cards, etc. However, over use of this service can be an irritant for parents.
4. Email: Because we are a rural community, not all parents have high-speed internet. However, this service has improved over the past few years, so it is worthwhile getting all the parent email addresses we can. This will be checked on the first day with reminders sent out. One thing though – dial-up does not download newsletters efficiently!
5. Principals Newsletter: We have our monthly newsletter but are just changing the format a bit. I am taking on the responsibility of monthly correspondence to parents, similar to Eric Sheninger (except he writes a lot!) My VP will do a “term” type of newsletter three times/year, using similar formats as in the past, but heavy on images and celebration items. Many of these can be submitted to the division office for their communications.
6. Our community newsletter: We have a students that submits items to our community “Positive Post.” My role is to meet with the student before submissions so we can collaborate.
7. Local newspaper: As needed.
8. Facebook page: Is very familiar to all. Not sure if we’re quite ready for this yet, but hopefully this year. Great way to model proper use of media, is very efficient for embedding video, podcasts, etc.
I believe these methods will help with communication throughout the year. Above all, I believe these are MANAGEABLE for us this year. For any school based administrator, one should really investigate what communication methods can be handled effectively, and viewed by the school and greater community. If the media does not fit, or cannot be administrated properly, don’t use it, as it will be of little use to anyone. The “status” of having many social media formats also wears off quickly when not used properly.