It’s no secret that Americans experienced more than our fair share of natural disasters in recent months. Wildfires razed entire neighborhoods in California. Hurricane Maria decimated entire regions of Puerto Rico. The event that impacted my world was Hurricane Harvey. The deadly storm dealt its mighty blow right as the new school year got underway.

I was still new to my position, having served as the Head of School at Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) for just four weeks. Floodwaters rendered students and their teachers disconnected. As a school leader, I’m accustomed to dealing with emergencies. But little did I know this event would inspire a whole new playbook!

While few things during disasters tend to go perfectly, I’m extremely proud that, thanks to our school’s virtual format, TOPS remained opened and served our students well during the hurricane and subsequent floods. Learning continued for students and, in the process, provided families with a sense of normalcy during the crisis. Here are three best practices about effective communications that may be helpful for other school leaders when emergencies strike.

Next page: Three reliable ways to use communications wisely during an emergency


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