In the era of instant information, district communication officers' roles are becoming more complex. This is especially true in smaller districts where a full communications staff is less likely to exist, District Administration reports.
There are a couple of strategies communications directors can use to keep everyone connected: Making a plan for routine as well as emergency communications, which can both use social media, and considering alerting the community to urgent situations.
Communications staff also need to find ways to connect with non-parents, the article says, noting that mailed newsletters are likely to reach the older members of the community, and that this demographic is also more likely to vote on school bonds and levies. Social media is also an efficient platform for publicizing school and district accomplishments.
In Wisconsin, Fall Creek School District Superintendent Joe Sanfelippo has the art of communicating with the community down to a science. He says districts need to find their audience and figure out which social media platforms those people frequent. Then, he urges districts to build momentum about the district by celebrating the students and developing the school’s brand.
Students can also be involved in implementing a social media strategy.when celebrating student accomplishments in the community. Students are master social media communicators, so put them to good use sharing the success of their friends or communicating what they are learning. This strategy can be particularly helpful for small districts with sparse communications staffs. The trick is to bridge the generational gap and get the information to those who might not be connected to current students.
In small districts, hometown newspapers are still delivering local news on school board meetings and local schools. In these areas, communicators should develop relationships with the reporters. In addition, superintendent blogs on the district's web site can keep the community informed of initiatives and plans. Show-and-tell events can also be a powerful tool in which students demonstrate to community members and other stakeholders how new technology and other classroom tools benefit their learning.