Families and community members want to know what’s happening in your district, and they want to know right now. There’s a huge need to educate the public about security, data privacy, curriculum, and all the rest, but you have to do it the right way.
We spoke Justin Martin, president and chief executive officer of Martin & Associates, a K-12 communications management consultancy, to see what districts can do to spread their good word.
1. Present information in the best format.
“You need to dole the information out in small, digestible pieces—don’t just attach a six-page report and ask people to read the PDF,” says Martin. “Put the important parts in the body of the email and, if there are supporting details, include those in an attachment.”
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2. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
“We hear superintendents say, ‘We’ve been talking about this for five months and no one’s paying attention,’ says Martin. “You have to send the information several times, repurpose it, and continuously share it to keep people aware.”
3. Do not rely on one distribution channel.
Martin says that less than 10 percent of people get information from their local daily or weekly newspaper, yet district leaders assume that if they saw it in a paper, their families did too. Instead, post information everywhere you can: Twitter, Facebook, your website, the radio, on the PTO site, in blogs and emails from school leaders.