During back-to-school season, staff and teachers handle huge amounts of information that families need to ensure their child’s success and stay engaged in the school community.
Even so, parents often feel unsure of where to turn—especially after hours. As we know, parents and children often only see each other in the evenings when everyone is tired and no one can remember if the field trip was changed from Tuesday to Wednesday.
When schools are able to connect consistently with families in successful ways, students benefit in many ways, including fewer absences, higher pass rates, and a greater likelihood of staying in the district. And it doesn’t have to be costly or time-intensive. The eBook Strategies to Streamline, Scale, and Simplify Communication to Reduce Stress for Educators was just released to aid educators facing communication strain during the back to school season, and throughout the school year. For a quick read, here are five simple strategies to facilitate communication without placing an extra burden on staff.
Define your message
What are you communicating? Why? How much information is necessary to get the point across? For most routine communications, that’s your end point. Busy families just want the basics about most events and activities: who, what, where, when, and how.
Bring good news
Make it routine to share information about individual students’ progress and positive milestones. Putting in a good word about students is especially beneficial for those who had negative school experiences themselves as children and for those who are new to the American educational system and aren’t sure what to expect.
Stay ahead of the curve
Sometimes schools need to provide information about complex topics. Examples include mask and social distancing policies, curriculum decisions, or expectations for behavior. During times of uncertainty and high anxiety, leaders who initiate communications, express concern for families’ needs, and connect via multiple channels decrease the possibility that misinformation and dissent will flourish.
Determine the point of contact
The simple step of including a person to email or call for more information about a specific event or activity can reduce the number of inquiries to the main office—which the staff likely would have had to forward anyway.
Overcommunicate up front to prevent confusion
Establishing lines of communication early in the school year sets a strong foundation. It’s also a good idea to revisit your communication strategies regularly to make sure they’re having the desired impact.
Use all the tools at your disposal—email, your website, town hall meetings, open houses, informal events, videos, calls, texts, and social media—to reach every family in the mode that they prefer.
Among these tools, there’s particularly strong research about mobile’s effectiveness.
80% of the population has a mobile phone.
Open rates for text messages are significantly higher than email or postal mail
The average mobile phone user sends 74 texts per day.
We leverage mobile with our evidence-based AllHere Virtual Advisor (AVA). AVA enables student success using artificial intelligence, chatbot, and natural language processing technologies to communicate 24/7 via automated two-way texting.
Our platform builds on key insights and evidence-based strategies about how best to partner with families so they feel looked after and informed. Our approach has been documented by randomized control trial research to reduce chronic absenteeism by 17%, reduce course failures by 38%, and increase student retention.
Best of all, AVA ensures that everyone receives the same information—including whether that field trip was changed from Tuesday to Wednesday. To learn more about implementing AVA and relieving stress on staff as your families return to school, contact us to schedule a demo.