4. Conduct a communication research survey.
Ask families what information they want and how they’d like you to share it. “You may learn, for example, that people don’t care about principal initiatives; they only want to hear about students.”
5. Put together a strategic communication plan.
Drawing from the survey results, determine what type of information you’re sending out, where and how you’re sending it, how often, and who’s responsible. Be sure to look into data analytics to measure the effectiveness.
6. Make sure your website is easy to use.
“This is huge,” says Martin. “Too many district websites were designed by IT directors and not web designers; as a result, lots of them are hard to navigate for everyone except the person that designed it.” He says people often tell him they know a report is on the site but can’t find it. The worst thing is to have parents get frustrate and criticize you for not being transparent.
7. Don’t overestimate your reach.
Martin knows many superintendents who have 3,000 followers on Twitter and assume 3,000 students and families are getting their tweets. In reality, half of those followers could be bots. Another third may be people you met at a conference. For the most part, parents are on Facebook.
8. Internal communication is as important as external communication.
“Often, we see educational leaders make the mistake of telling the community before their employees,” says Martin. “Your employees are the best local spokespeople. When they run into parents in the grocery store, you want them to know what the district is doing.” He says to share information internally first, especially what happened at the Board meeting the night before.