As your students arrive for a new school year, you need to have a school communications plan and strategy ready to go. Alleviate the stress you may be experiencing by leveraging these 5 tips for simplifying your communications plan this school year.

#1. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Leverage other district’s social media policies and trainings to quickly create your own. Tip: most schools/districts place their social media policies and forms somewhere on their website. Here are a few samples to get you started.

Carroll ISD Digital Citizenship and Social Media training.

Fort Osage School District’s sample social media agreement consent form.

Fort Osage School District’s sample social networking approval form.

Looking to get started with social media or ramp up your existing strategy? Download this “how to” guide written by fellow communications leaders called A K-12 communications leader’s guide to social media success.

#2. Survey and/or research your community.

Get to know your audience in advance and learn the best ways to reach them.

Start by looking up your district’s 2015 Speak Up Survey results from Project Tomorrow. Then read this year’s community engagement report created with Project Tomorrow to find out how K-12 schools are meeting the expectations of parents for enhanced digital communications.

Nixa Public Schools recently shared additional ideas for getting the latest data on your community. They recommended:

  1. Looking at national trends (AdAge, PRSA etc.)
  2. Finding your 2010 Census info (County or City).
  3. Conducting a phone interview.
  4. Conducting a demographic interview.

#3. Go digital with your back-to-school resources.

Make sure as you are looking at your website and mobile app before your parents are. Back-to-school resources should be front and center and easy to find which can help reduce the call volume to your main office. Place a big button on your homepage that says, “back-to-school resources for parents” or build out a separate website for back-to-school. Either way be sure to include the following:

    1. Orientation and early check-ins
    2. Registration forms
    3. Vaccination forms
    4. Permission forms (media waivers, field trip permission slips)
    5. Class supply list
    6. Calendars for important dates
    7. Lunch menus
    8. Bus routes/transportation
    9. Uniforms/dress codes

#4. Embrace teacher messaging.

Let your teachers have some control and help build your brand equity by sharing positive stories on social media or via notifications. Communicate critical classroom updates directly to parents, students and guardians. See how Blackboard Teacher Communication can assist with your efforts.

#5. Create once, publish everywhere.

The COPE movement is breathing life into outdated and clunky communication practices across K-12 districts. By writing a message once, selecting preferred communication methods, and publishing across your desired channels– you’ll save time, create consistency, and build capacity.

Discover how Blackboard’s Community Engagement Solution can help you manage all of your communications channels at once.

Did we miss anything? Share additional resources for simplifying communications with us in the comments.
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