Back-to-School Communication: Simple and Streamlined
Did you know the back-to-school season is the most stressful time of year for families? Yes, even more than the holidays, according to the New York Post. This is because there are so many moving parts to keep track of: teacher assignments, extracurricular signups, and of course, back-to-school shopping. What’s more, this information seems to come at them fast, from all directions. It’s difficult for them to sift through everything and find what applies to them. So, it’s important to know what information to get out there, and how. Here are some tips for streamlining your back-to-school communication:
Information families want:
Think back-to-basics. Families want the information that will set their child up for success on that very first day back. Some examples include:
–ground rules, such as dress codes and technology policies
–logistics, such as health forms, any extra fees, school lunch payments, bus schedules, and pickup/drop-off locations
–important dates, such as picture day, activity signup deadlines, parent/teacher conferences, vacations/days off, and curriculum night
Tip: Every school district will differ. To best estimate what families will want to know, think about the phone calls and emails you receive over the summer. What are your families asking for? Prioritize those frequently asked questions when getting your information out to families.
But it’s not just the information that counts. How parents receive it is crucial. Efficiency is key to happy families and minimal stress. Think to yourself, how do you get the must-know points out to your district’s families? One email? Two? Three? Old fashioned mail? It’s time to update that process so parents can easily find exactly what they’re looking for.
For effective and streamlined information, we recommend:
- Creating one central back-to-school page with links to all information
- Repeating messages to make sure they’re heard (more allowance with social feeds)
- Limiting the number of portals and communication channels you use (too many EdTech apps can get confusing, especially when parents have kids at multiple schools)
- Changing it up! Times are changing, and so should your methods of communication. Stay up to date with how the families in your districts communicate with you and one another.
How to contact families:
- District and school websites – content that can be accessed at B2S but also needs to be available all year long. Think: calendars, lunch menus, school hours, transportation, and school supply lists
- Mobile app – B2S information that is more transient (picture day, soccer sign-up deadline, PTO meeting reminders etc.)
- Notifications and alerts (text/SMS/voicemail) – use for school closures, emergencies, half day reminders, etc.) *Do not overuse
- Email – B2S welcome newsletter, policy updates, survey links, use as a messenger for your website content or secondary messenger for mobile app content
- Social media – Welcome posts, photos, activities, sports, event reminders and registration links, school supply lists
- Video and Youtube channels are becoming increasingly popular – welcome messages from the superintendent, galleries and archives of school events
Get your information out EARLY!
- We recommend at least one month before school ends. This is to give families time to budget, look for deals, and shop casually throughout the season instead of panic buying later.
- 77% of parents are moderately to severely worried about back-to-school costs, according to U.S News – helping to plan makes relieves stress
- With TeacherLists, families can compare prices at various national retailers
Want more help?
We’re happy to assist. TeacherLists provides easy-to-embed links, social media content, and website banners for a seamless back-to-school communications process. Upload your district’s lists to get started or click here to connect with a district specialist
Originally posted 2023
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