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Secret Sauce To Successful Newsletters
One of the biggest drivers of a parents’ ability to share praise and feedback with their child’s school is the ability to know about what is happening on the ground. Newsletters are a great way to give parents enough information to be able to ask their kid about the school week. Here we share a few tips and tricks to make sure your school newsletter is successful!
1. Newsletter Owner: Choose your newsletter owner! Principals often think they have to be the ones doing newsletters – and it is true they have a lot to share. The reality is all you need is someone who is a solid writer. Programs like Google Docs allows multiple people to input information into a newsletter. Your principal can even leave a voice memo with the key points they want included in the newsletter.
2. Timing is everything: You want to think about both frequency and timing.
- For frequency, what is a reasonable amount of time you can put together a newsletter? Some schools choose every week, some schools choose every month. We recommend either weekly, bi-weekly (e.g. every other week), or monthly.
- You also want to think about when to send the newsletter. For example, consider sending a newsletter on Friday if there are things parents might need to prepare over the weekend. Consider sending a newsletter on Monday if parents typically only “check in on school matters” once a week. Consider aligning your newsletter with something else that goes out regularly ex. progress reports, lunch bills, etc.
3. Watch your tone! As many a mother loves to say, watch your tone. Tone matters a lot. You’ll want to use a tone that is positive, optimistic, and communal.
- Write as if the newsletter were from your faculty as a whole directly to parents “We at Smith Elementary…” “Please make sure your child…”
- Keep it positive! Change “please don’t break this rule” into “please remember our expectation of…”
- Use an enthusiastic tone and assume that everyone who reads your newsletter is as excited as you are about the information you present.
4. Format, format, format: There is what you say, how you say it, and how you format it.
- Use a predictable format and only change the content from issue to issue. This helps parents read and skim more quickly.
- Present information from most important to least important.
- Use a “snapshot” to give a quick overview of dates of upcoming events then describe events in detail later in the newsletter.
- Give brief yet precise information in your newsletter (dates, time, locations, other details that might answer questions parents may have). Help parents review the newsletter as quickly as possible.
- Always use underlining and highlighting in a predictable manner (ex. dates always highlighted, most important detail always underlined).
5. Picture It: Pictures help communicate in a universal language!
- Use pictures to spice up your newsletter!
- Use pictures of past events to promote upcoming events (people will
literally visualize themselves attending).
- Use real life pictures of things things that need detailed attention (ex. dress code reminders).
5. Include “Well-being” notes: Remember to express that you care about your students and families by including extra information that might help with general family well-being (ex. food resources, summer resources, enrichment opportunities, ideas for families).
6. Things to avoid: There are lots of keys to success — and a few things that you’ll want to avoid.
- Extreme informal language
- Too many pictures
- Grammatical errors and incorrect information
- Serious topics (Address those separately with a more formal letter)
Enjoy celebrating your school, students, staff and families through newsletters.
Possip Gives Parents a voice to build stronger relationships with their child’s school through sharing praise and feedback
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