Creating an effective school communication program can be a tricky beast for any school leader to tame. However, it is vital in ensuring that all stakeholders in a school can stay in the know.
At New Technology High School in Napa, CA, effective communication means having a comprehensive and all-encompassing approach to interact with our community. We know that many of our stakeholders (students, staff, parents, etc.) live on different mediums. Pew Research Center indicates that nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone (April, 2015).
For this reason, it is crucial for us to make sure we utilize a variety of tools, such as Remind, social media, and our website to communicate what is happening at New Tech High so that everyone in our community has a means to access what is happening, smartphone or not.
Need for Communication
In August 2014, the Napa Valley was rocked with a 6.0 earthquake. The quake impacted many of the New Tech High families. As a school, it was vital that we were able to find a way to communicate with our students and parents. Many families were left without electricity and were unsure of what was going to happen next.
It is in moments like this when a comprehensive communication plan comes into play. We were able to calm the community by communicating information about the status of the school, check on the well-being of families, and share resources for those affected. In the face of tragedy, being able to have clear lines of communication was critical. We were able to utilize Remind to communicate with our families quickly and precisely about the status of the school and emergency needs. Sending out alerts and updates allowed are families to be in the know when they needed it most.
As the world of communication continues to evolve and grow around us, it is important that schools and school leaders remain flexible and adapt. Remind has been a vital tool in helping us support changing the way we can communicate with staff, students, and parents.
As a school, New Tech High uses Remind in two major capacities: staff communication and school communication. We have a staff class in which I can share resources, important reminders, and action steps. This allows us to always remain clear on what needs to happen and what is most important at the top of our plate.
As far as school-wide communication goes, students and parents can opt-in to an class that we send out event reminders, share what is happening on campus, and much more. Using Remind allows us to get information to stakeholders in the quickest and easiest way: right into their text message inboxes
Effective Communication Must Be Clear
In my first year as a principal, it has been important to constantly view myself as a learner. Frankly, I think this is a must no matter what year it is in your career, which is why this also guides my view as an effective communicator.
It is necessary for a school to have a clear and concise communication plan that all stakeholders value and understand. At this same time, you cannot be committed to a plan that doesn’t work for your school community. You must always be reflecting, gaining empathy, and reiterating your plan to best meet your stakeholders’ needs.