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Want a different outcome? Start with communication basics

Communication skills matter. Yet when it comes to our loved ones, sometimes we forget how to do it. Our choice of words, tone, and body language are the difference between productive conversations and the explosive ones where everybody shuts down.   We sometimes forget that our kids, even the teenage variety, are still children. They are not small adults. It falls on us to teach them effective communications skills by modeling the correct behavior. Some kids can be more challenging than others but when our conversations are full of emotion, no one is listening or learning. So where do we start to ensure the communication basics are always top of mind?

Step one is dealing with feelings. Listen to and acknowledge your child’s feelings, don’t dismiss them, even if you don’t understand them. As Elaine Mazlish explains in her book How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, you have a better chance of being heard if you start by letting your kids know they have been heard. This is actually the case for adults too.  Acknowledging your kids’ feelings creates a safe place for them to talk by letting them know you are in their corner. This can be hard to do when they are irrational, acting out, or being disrespectful, but that’s when it’s most important keep ourselves from escalating and making things worse.  These behaviors are merely symptoms of an underlying problem or frustration they are dealing with but can’t figure out how to communicate.

Getting things done

Ok, so I have heard and acknowledged my child’s feelings, now what? As you know sometimes it’s just about getting things done like chores or participating in packing for a trip. It is vital that our kids learn the skills of taking care of themselves, their surroundings, and helping out their family.  Here are some more tips from How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk  that both my husband and I utilize with our teens which have made a positive impact in our family dynamic:

  1. Describe the problem and leave the accusing comments at the door. Last summer we entrusted the boys with the job of painting the fence in the backyard.  Instead of using the utility sink in the basement, they decided to clean their brushes in the bathroom.  Needless to say, there was paint splattered on the walls, floor, counters, and sink. I wanted to say “What is wrong with you?  Look at the mess you made!  That wasn’t very smart.”  Instead I pointed out the mess, calmly explained that the bathroom is not where we clean paint brushes and asked how they would rectify the situation. They both agreed to clean up their mess and use the utility sink in the future.  No fuss, no muss and they happily finished the job with no further incidents.
  2. Say it with a word or a gesture. Less is more. In our house, it can consist of just saying: “Sam, dishes” after which Sam usually says “Oh, yeah” and then puts his dishes away. I have explained why putting the dishes away is important before but the teenage brain likes to forget.  There’s no point rehashing the why and getting into a lengthy exchange that just results in eye rolls and unnecessary animosity.    A quick reminder is all that’s necessary and its mission accomplished.  With all the repetition, he has learned breakfast isn’t over till you put your dishes away.
  3. Describe what you feel without attacking or mocking your student. We have a non-negotiable rule in our house that there are no phones in the bedroom at night, yet somehow my youngest “accidentally” brought his to bed a few times one week recently. This really pushes my buttons because I consider this sneaky and deceitful. So I told him that I was upset and felt that finding his phone again in the bedroom made me not trust him. He proceeded to explain that he had to show his brother something and then forgot to bring his phone back downstairs. My response was simply, “Ok, but that doesn’t change the rule of no phones in the bedroom when it’s time to go to sleep. My job is follow through and if I make exceptions, what’s the point of the rule.” He understood how I felt and handed over the phone and that was it. In this case, by explaining how his actions impacted me before simply taking his phone, we avoided certain conflict and hard feelings. Moving forward the phone stayed in the kitchen when he went to bed.

Communication is an art form that when perfected elicits positive relationships with those around us.  When spoken to with respect, kindness, and patience, we are fulfilled and open to one another. Some days I am better than others in modeling this behavior. When I misstep, I take a breath, apologize if I bungled it, and try again. By sticking to the basics we build a connection with our kids instead of alienating them. The goal is that they know they can come to us for anything when life hits them hard. What can you do to improve to the dialogue with your kids so you too can have better results?

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

 

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Mindful Parent to Teacher Communications – Lessons Learned

Sometimes keeping up on school emails, newsletters, permissions slips, activity sign-ups, announcements, and checking data in the online student tracking system, the Parent Portal, can seem a little overwhelming for parents. As a working mom with two active children in two different schools, I often find myself skimming communications from both schools between running from one activity to the next. If I have questions about grades or activities or something that happened at school, I quickly send an email to a teacher.

In the past, a rushed email to a teacher may have come off as impatient or judgmental, when it was more likely just a quick message without much thought put into it at all and sent between a meeting at work, pick up from basketball practice and a grocery store run. I’ve learned over the years to take a few extra moments and slow down and to be more thoughtful in my communications with teachers. I’ve found a few changes in my communication attitude and approach have led to more positive outcomes for my children, their teachers, and me.

Easy ways I’ve found to improve my communications with teachers include: staying positive, checking tone in emails, making appointments, and being open to listening to different perspectives.  

Daniel Patterson is a former teacher and school administrator turned parenting coach. He includes many of the same ideas on how to improve parent-teacher communications in a recent blog post Strategies for Parent-School Communications. Some of Daniel’s key parent-teacher communications strategies include: staying optimistic, respecting hierarchy, making appointments, being direct, considering threats, holding children accountable for their actions.

I’ve tried a few of these strategies over the years and found that every teacher I’ve talked with has the same goals in mind for my children: challenge them to do their best and support them in reaching their full potential.  We can all agree that our great teachers are underpaid for the time and effort they put into their jobs as they meet with parents, plan class time, grade papers and analyze test scores, often outside of school hours. Raising teachers’ salaries and lightening their workload is not something I can do today. However, I’ve learned that just taking a few extra moments and being more mindful in my communications with teachers goes a long way in supporting and respecting their work. 

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Changing Traditions and The Death of the Chocolate Santa Clause

The chocolate Santa Clause first poked his head out of my stocking in 1965. All you could see was that shiny, silvery red head just above those glinty Santa eyes. He’s appeared in my stocking every year since then. That’s 48 years of Santa heads peering out at me. There won’t be one there this year. My family informed me that it is a waste of time, we already have too many sweets around the house during the holidays that are a lot better. (I am willing to concede the second half of this argument but, REALLY, I did not know there was such a thing as too many sweets).

I’ve reluctantly conceded. Santa will be missed.

Tradition is a hard thing to break. Have you ever noticed how “traditions” are romanticized when you talk about personal traditions but professional traditions can be seen as pejorative; as in “mired in old traditions”? I don’t think it is that simple. As a boss when do you give up on doing things the way they’ve always been done? The question is not easy to answer.

Tradition reinforces culture, creates a foundation. I don’t know if the story attributed to Pablo Picasso is true, but it is rumored that he said you must first learn to paint like the masters before you can extend the boundaries of your own art.

As a school communications entrepreneur I continuously challenge myself and my customers to extend the boundaries of their art. So maybe I shouldn’t really complain that the “art” of great Christmas Chocolate has moved beyond stale milk chocolate Santas.

I am going to begin a tradition of dark chocolate peppermint bark.

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Parent portal got you down?

 

 

Ah, the parent portal!   In theory, it offers you insight into what’s going on in your student’s academic life. The portal tells you whether your student is turning in their homework, doing okay on their tests and quizzes, going to class, etc.  You have all of the information to course correct if things have gone off track. Such a useful tool and it seems so logical and pragmatic. Oh, if it was only that simple!

Instead, going through the portal often turns into an anxious, panic ridden experience. Missing assignments, a few failed tests and your mind starts racing with negative thoughts and questions. Then the chronic checking begins. It’s like somehow if you check the portal multiple times a day, things will automagically change.  Then your student comes home and boom, the inquisition begins and she slumps in her chair or goes on the defensive.  Sound familiar?

The picture I’m painting is somewhat exaggerated but my goal is to point out that the trap we often fall into as parents of being reactive and going on the attack is not effective and damaging to your relationship. With the portal, we have more information than ever before, almost in real time, regarding the progress our students are making in school.  This sets up more opportunities than ever before for misunderstandings and conflict. As a result, we need to take what we find on the portal with a grain of salt and use it as a tool.

Have I held my breath when I checked my own kid’s portal? Absolutely! With my youngest son, school has never come easy, but hard work and reading tutors helped through middle school and he was doing well.  With the transition to ninth grade and high school however, we were very aware of the challenges this might bring. We wanted to provide him with the opportunity to succeed on his own but the portal revealed quickly that things were getting out of control, especially in science. Lots of missing assignments and low quiz and test scores.  So, my husband and I started to investigate by talking to him and asking, “What’s up?”  He had given up. He didn’t understand what was going on in class as the lectures were too fast. He wasn’t taking notes and he didn’t have a book to reference. Once he fell behind, he felt he couldn’t catch up and just couldn’t see that trying at this point would make a difference. Fortunately, we caught this early and got him support; a text book and a tutor. We also had him do his homework in the kitchen to avoid procrastination. There was always someone around to check in. He slowly dug himself out of the hole.  We still weren’t sure he was going to pass by the end of the semester so we had summer school lined up and ready to go just in case. Failing and retaking a class offers a valuable life lesson and opportunity to teach your student that it’s what they do with failure that matters.

When reviewing your student’s portal, here are some ways to look for the story behind the grade.  Remember, kids do well if they can and if they are not, there are lacking or lagging skills (Dr. Ross Green).

  • When you see the grade, avoid jumping to conclusions, the grade is the symptom not the root of the problem.
  • Sometimes the portal isn’t always updated; some teachers grade faster than others.
  • Look at effort, your student may be doing the work and just struggling on tests and quizzes.
  • Look at the classes that are going well. This is a great time to receive some student perspective on the positive

As parents, we have the challenge of not letting our emotions take over.  When your student is struggling, find a way to step back and look at the situation rationally.   If you are fraught with emotion, go for a run or workout to blow off some steam before talking about it. You need to be calm and level headed so you can have a productive dialogue and problem solve. You will be doing a lot of listening and asking questions. If you’re driving everything and your student isn’t brainstorming solutions, she isn’t learning anything and it won’t stick.

If your student isn’t sure why the portal shows she’s doing so poorly, this is also a great opportunity to teach self-advocacy skills. Have him reach out to his teacher to figure out what’s going on and work together to improve the process. Depending on her confidence level, you might have her start with an e-mail. If she is comfortable talking to the teacher after class, even better.  You can always follow up with an e-mail of your own to make sure he followed through.

The parent portal is a great tool that allows you to monitor progress and catch issues early.  The key is how you engage your student with that information to make the conversation constructive and productive.  The big tip is it’s about listening, asking questions, and collaborative problem solving.  It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers. When you are just as clueless about what to do as they are, laugh about it and let them know it’s not just them. Just breath and embrace the opportunity to figure things out together.

 

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Helping Kids Get Organized

We have a guest post on our blog today from Roxanne Turner.  Roxanne is a Board Certified Life Coach with extensive training in ADHD and executive functioning, focusing on the process of getting things done. Today she writes about Organization: Helping kids learn how to organize.

Organization! By; Roxanne Turner
When I was little, my favorite thing about school was getting new supplies at the beginning of each year. I loved the new pens, folders, notebooks and getting to figure out how I was going to organize my stuff throughout the year. Each semester offered an opportunity to make changes.  Alas, I was in the minority.  To say most kids struggle with organization is an understatement.  It is a skill that must be learned and practiced.

Knowing their assignments, when they are due, and the resources needed to complete them is over half the battle to being successful in school.  Being organized is the key to that part of the puzzle.  Most kids know how to do the work, but struggle keeping track of everything or knowing where to start.  As parents, our role is to provide the support our kids need without doing the work for them.

So where do we start?  First, kids need to relate to the concept and understand what’s in it for them.  Initially, being organized takes time and effort so we need to reframe the concept so they understand the benefits:  Homework gets done faster, more free time for activities such as sports or video games, less frustration, etc.

Next, tap into how your student organizes things they are interested in such as music, video games, Apps, etc.   Organization comes more naturally when we are passionate about something so leverage that to draw parallels to school work and find tools that work for your student.  Have a conversation with your student to discover what they like about how they organize their things and what works for them.

With my son I gained some interesting insight when organizing his closet. First, I learned he had a strong aversion to hangers so we went out and bought a dresser. This worked much better for him but as he started to put his clothes away I stared in confusion as he put his underwear and socks in the bottom drawer, then his pants/shorts in the next drawer, and finally shirts in the top drawer. This was backwards from how I would have done it but he explained, “I put the clothes in as I get dressed, makes more sense to start from the bottom up.” Once he had the right tool (dresser), putting away and organizing his clothes in a way that made sense to him was no problem.  That information was useful when it came to organizing his school papers.

There are three different kinds of organizational styles: visual, spatial, and chronological.  Here are some clues to what your student’s style might be:

Visual Organizers:

  • Did you see my back pack?
  • When doing homework puts all the items out in front of them

Spatial:

  • Do you know where I put my backpack?
  • Clears off the area when doing work

Chronological:

  • Do you know when I last had my back pack?
  • Stacks homework in a certain order before or after completing an assignment

With a basic understanding of the style or combination of styles your student demonstrates, you can provide more effective solutions. Visual organizers like color coding and other visual cues. Spatial organizers need to have all supplies within reach when doing schoolwork, and a clean work area that “feels good” to them. The chronological organizer can remember sequential steps in some sort of order and keep stacks of paper on their desks that may appear messy.

There is no magic cure for the chronically disorganized. To begin to develop a system, it starts with questions like:  “What do you think about three ring binders?” “How about color coded folders, one color for each class?”  “Do you want a dedicated homework folder, one side for homework to work on and the other for homework to turn in?“

Once you have some input from your student regarding what they like and don’t like, now you get to experiment with different tools and work together to create that daily/weekly 5-10 minute routine to maintain their systems. If time is not being invested consistently, it makes it difficult to see what is and isn’t working. It takes time but stick with it. Small gradual changes at first translate to big changes over the long haul.

Through these conversations, your student will be providing their input and increasing their personal investment. Keep in mind your system may not work for them.  You can use your system as a starting point but if they say no to your ideas, that’s ok and will usually get them thinking about what might work for them.   When you head off to the store, have them take the lead. Don’t be discouraged if they grumble, mumble, and possibly roll their eyes at first. Just provide a friendly reminder about what’s in it for them. A good one to use is that it will get you off their back.

Finding the right solution for your student is an evolution as you and your student reflect on what’s working and what’s not.  The final step for you is to ensure repetition and consistency.  Studies show that it takes 66 to 264 repetitions (Dr. Phillippa Lally, psychology researcher at University College London ) to develop (good) habits.  Don’t expect to have a conversation, setup some tools and see your student become organized.  It will take constructive reminders and follow up (no yelling or accusations) to make it stick.  Be patient, they will get there.

 

Book reference: Organizing the Disorganized Child by Martin Kuschner, M.D. & Marcella Moran, M.A., L.M.H.C

Roxanne Turner, PmP, BCC (CCE Board Certified Coach)

Photo by Luke Palmer on Unsplash

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Positive Messages Lead To Positive Results When Advertising to Parents

Sponsors, are you ready for an alarming statistic?
According to a recent report conducted by Common Sense Media, kids aged 2-11 are exposed to over 25,000 ads per year. That’s almost 2,100 ads per month. Put another way, that’s an incredible 15 ads per hour. So yes, we truly live in advertising age. While it’s true that ads are coming in fast and furious over traditional airwaves, more than ever kids are being exposed to clickbait-style media. Advertisers know this, and are good at targeting digital natives, perhaps too good.
There is no doubt that student-aged consumers are a huge target audience, and no one in the business of creating profit would be wise to ignore that fact. For years, there have entire marketing campaigns focused around this demographic. But, only fairly recently has research been squarely focused on product placement and the impact it’s having on kids, raising questions about the types of products kids are being exposed. Questions increasingly ponder whether or not kids should be burdened with purchasing decisions in the first place. As one study put it, a lot of times kids don’t have the mental capacity to differentiate between what is part of a TV program and what part of it is the ad. The same study pointed out that about 14 percent of all commercials they sampled had an overtly negative message.  That sounds small, but out of 25,000 ads, that would be 3,500 ads featuring negative content per year.
So, is there a viable alternative? The School Communications Agency believe there is. Advertising a positive message produces better results in the long run – for kids, for schools, for consumers, and ultimately, for sponsors. TSCA ads are ALL family friendly, tailoring needs that kids and parents genuinely want to attend to.
Take this list of Forbes’ best advertising campaigns of all time.  These ads have the same underlying ingredient – they are all extremely positive.
As you know, very soon “Back To School” drives will begin. Stores will be flooded with them, vying for your dollars. TSCA sees this as a chance for sponsors to hit a positive message out of the park. Why would you want to display your positive message with us?
Last year, the National Retail Foundation reported that families with children in grades K-12 planned to spend over 20 billion dollars on back-to-school supplies, and it’s trending up almost every year. Sponsors, what a great opportunity to send a message to potential consumers, while helping schools at the same time. Kids and families have so many needs, and a positive message is front and center among them.
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Effective School Communications Takes Many Forms

Technology, busy on-the-go parents, the new “mobile world” order, instant information screaming at you through screens and earbuds all conspire to overwhelm you with data. We live in a data rich, information poor environment where it is hard to get your message across when there is so much noise. Today’s K thru 12 schools are struggling to communicate to parents: Parent Attention Disorder!

I’ve mentioned before the story of my nephew who is a Principal in a middle school in California. Last year they decided to move the school start time to 30 minutes later to give kids a chance to be better rested and more alert. They held school meetings, posted it on the website, put out special notices to take home and alerted parents through their brand-new School Ap. All of this worked to some degree or the other – but no one form of communications did it all. And, in fact, the good old fashioned School Newsletter was one of the most effective tools they used.

The simple fact is, people listen to and receive information in different ways. Added to this is that people “hear” best when they get the message through more than one medium. For the last few years schools have been bewitched by mobile applications, auto alerts and expensive new online communications tools. This is all good – and should help reach parents, teachers and students as they navigate their over-booked lives. But we go too far when we leave the good old fashioned newsletter behind. Digging through your child’s tattered backpack to discover old homework and the school newsletter is not just a time-honored tradition – it remains one of the most effective ways to communicate.

But, the newsletter of old does need a face-lift. Effective newsletters must meet the challenge of:

  1. Being regular and reliable – every month, on time, for 10 months (0r more)
  2. Be structured to make sure it is readable and that important information stands out
  3. It is both paper and electronic so parents can read it their way
  4. It includes need to know information – with a dash of enjoyable, fun to read articles
  5. It is aesthetically pleasing

The School Communications Agency is a School Communications Program company that focuses on effective communications to parents, students and the broader school community of sponsors and supporters.

And, as part of our mission, we make sure you get the School Newsletter right!

Contact us today and find out more: call us at (970) 239-1641, drop us a note at: info@tscaschools.com. Or contact me directly at jerry@tscaschools.com.

And remember – there is always a hidden surprise at the bottom of every child’s backpack! Next year – make it a TSCA-partnered School Newsletter.

 

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Reprinting a Message From Outgoing Education Secretary

For our TSCA reader base, who are interested in building community and improving education, this is an article worth reading.

______________________________________________

A Dispatch From the Outgoing U.S. Education Secretary
America has the right to a great public education
By John B. King Jr.-January 17, 2017

Education is a ladder. Rung by rung, it helps people reach places that would otherwise be an impossible climb.

It is not enough for those already prosperous to prosper. All Americans must have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in our nation’s growth, if it is to succeed. That has always been so but is even truer today, at a time when the fastest-growing occupations require education beyond high school.

And that is why now is the time for champions of public education to set aside the policy differences that have divided us over the past two decades and move forward, together, to defend and extend this fundamental American institution.

We don’t have to agree on every strategy or tactic. We won’t. But we can stop wasting energy on false dichotomies and disparaging rhetoric. We can stop questioning our natural allies’ intentions and fight side by side for the belief that every student in America has the right to a great public education.

The passage just over a year ago of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, provides us an opportunity to begin our work together.

The top-down, one-size-fits-all approach of the No Child Left Behind law was a blunt tool, ill-suited to a task that called for nuance. ESSA, on the other hand, empowers local leaders to develop strategies that address their unique needs. But that doesn’t mean every district should go it alone without guardrails for protecting students’ civil rights, guidelines for implementing the law, or the good ideas forged and shown to work by others.

ESSA also calls for states to continue making college-and-career readiness their goal. We must be united in fighting efforts to water down those expectations and undercut progress when the work gets hard.

Just as important, we must invest in schools and teachers so they can help students meet those standards. Even successful strategies will fail without the funds to back them up—especially in schools and neighborhoods where change is most needed. Money is never the only answer, but it pays for science labs and school counselors, repairs leaky roofs, and makes high-quality preschool possible. Yet, in districts all across the country, students who need the most get the least. Federal funds can help, so we must put in place rules to ensure that those most in need get the help they deserve. However, even a modest proposal to do so has faced fierce opposition inside the beltway from many who ostensibly share the same values about education and equity.

“It’s not liberty when the happenstance of birth binds a child to a life of limited possibilities.”

We also must have the courage to hold ourselves accountable for students’ success. Without accountability, standards are meaningless and equity is a charade.
But accountability doesn’t force us to embrace “test and punish” policies based on redundant or poor-quality assessments; nor does it require us to simply “wish and hope,” with no tests and little insight into how, or whether, our children are learning.

We should make sure tests are better, fairer, and fewer, as President Barack Obama has called for. And we should help states develop accountability systems that are rich and varied—including measures such as chronic absenteeism, access to and success in advanced courses, and approaches to discipline that help students improve their behavior and achievement.
Let’s also set aside the false debate between allowing public charter schools and supporting traditional public schools. Our primary concern shouldn’t be the management structure of schools; it should be whether they serve all students well. We must demand that charter authorizers set a high bar for granting a charter, rigorously monitor academic and operational performance, and close charter schools that fail their students. At the same time, we must insist that district schools also provide a high-quality, well-rounded education for all their students.

And we must get beyond either exalting teachers as heroes who can single-handedly solve all education problems or castigating them for failing to do so. We should instead recognize that teaching is an incredibly difficult job, requiring dozens of decisions every hour. We can invest in teachers’ preparation and development at the same time that we welcome their expertise and leadership on the challenges they face and the issues that affect their students.

Teachers need more resources and the higher pay they surely deserve, particularly those serving the highest-need students. They also need the space and opportunity—the clinically rich preparation, the collaboration time, and the career pathways—to do what they joined the profession to do: help all children reach their full potential.

Finally, we must recognize that the growing diversity of our people is an asset, not a liability, and support diverse schools. Diversity helps more children succeed, broadens their perspectives, and prepares them for the global workforce. I am convinced the growing conflicts in this country over race, religion, and language would be profoundly reduced if our children learned and played alongside classmates who are different from themselves and if they encountered diverse teachers and leaders in their schools.

The light of opportunity shines more brightly and more widely today than it did eight years ago. Thanks to the hard work of teachers, leaders, students, families, policymakers, and advocates, the high school graduation rate is 83 percent, an all-time high; achievement gaps are closing; and the most recent college graduating class was the largest and most diverse in history.

But, too many students still don’t finish high school, and when they do, too many aren’t ready for college. The relationship between poverty and educational achievement in the United States is among the strongest in the world. This destroys hope. But we can restore hope by working to ensure all young people are well-prepared to complete a postsecondary degree or training program.

Some will argue equity conflicts with liberty. But it’s not liberty when the happenstance of birth binds a child to a life of limited possibilities. True liberty is being able to take our lives as far as our drive and talent allow.

The Pledge of Allegiance affirms that liberty and justice for all is an enduring and dual birthright. Preserving that birthright requires advocates of public education—including teachers, parents, business leaders, elected officials, and union leaders—to all be a part of the solution.

We must all press ahead, firm in the knowledge that when we pull others up, they do not pull us down. When the light of opportunity shines on those who lack it, it does not dim for those already in its glow.

____________________________________________________________________

Keep an eye on what the School Communications Agency is doing at our website https://theschoolcommunicationsagency.com/ as we work together to improve parent/teacher communications.

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The School Communications Agency’s Holiday Newsletter Ideas

It’s “Tis the Season” time with holiday newsletters, when it is the perfect time to celebrate and share in the spirit of togetherness. As the semester comes to an end, it is a nice time to recognize the many accomplishments of your school staff and students.  A great way to show support and to help bond your community closer is to highlight accomplishments from the first half of the school year in your parent newsletter.

Ideas include:

  • Teacher awards
  • Staff recognition
  • Student accomplishments
  • Extra curricular achievements
  • School wide progress report
  • Classroom spotlight: fun activities, innovative ideas in action

Adding accomplishments will leave your parents feeling satisfied with the semester and more connected with their child’s school.

Another easy idea is to add in fun activities that families can do over break.  It is important to remember to cater activities to all religions and cultures so as to create an inclusive community.

Ideas include:

  • Fun holiday crafts
  • Festive cooking recipes
  • Family games
  • Cozy movie day ideas

These ideas will fill the room with holiday spirit, bringing a sense of pride and joy to the entire school. Your community will feel closer and more upbeat for the holiday break!

For more ideas visit The School Communications Agency website.
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How to Have a Great School Newsletter

When writing a school newsletter, the word “purpose” plays a significant role.* Many have alluded to the idea that parent newsletters are only sent out to inform the community. While that statement resides true, a successful parent newsletter also consists of three further main components.  These are:

  • Logistics
  • Achievement
  • distribution methods.

 

Logistics

The logistics in a newsletter is “the spark”. It’s what makes each one stand out so the reader is drawn to the content.  The purposeful information needs to be conveyed in an informative, eye catching manner. Using components like color, graphics, and purposeful headers in the format design of the layout is important.

Also, it is important to remember that when information is structured into long extensive paragraphs, often the attention of the reader is lost.  Keeping important content short and concise is the best way to engage the reader.

At The School Communications Agency, we publish school newsletters with both of these logistical basics in mind, allowing maximum readership potential.

 

Achievement

Schools thrive on achievement, so why not flaunt it? Many parents that read school newsletters want to hear about success factors that are happening in the school they support. These achievements can include:

  • Student awards
  • Teacher achievements
  • Classroom projects
  • Extra curricular activities

Adding an achievement section is a small aspect that can help unite the community and create a positive outlook on your school.  The School Communications Agency will be sure to include your school achievements it in your newsletter.

 

Distribution Methods

Not every school can be successful using the same method of distribution of newsletter information. Some schools find parents requesting old-fashioned paper newsletters while others want the more modern methods of electronic distribution like emails, posting on the website and having a mobile ready app.

The School Communications Agency provides a template that is printable and mobile ready allowing schools to cater their newsletter to the demands of parents which helps increase reading rates.

The School Communications Agency works hand in hand with your school to achieve each of these components into all school newsletters thereby improving parent readership and providing important information to the community.

 

https://theschoolcommunicationsagency.com or call (970) 239-1641 to learn more.

 

*Ref: “The Magic behind a Good School Newsletter.” School Communication and Leadership.

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