School's out and the students and are gone, so what does a school do to communicate? While it is normal for communications to "slow down" over the summer, there are still some fundamental things schools should be doing. Here are some thoughts about what schools should be doing during the summer months:
A Guest Column in your Local Newspaper. Survey after survey show that most people get information about their local government in the hometown newspaper. Monthly articles, authored by the school superintendent, should continue through the summer.
Suggested topics include:
• Congratulating the community on a great first half of the year and highlighting accomplishments.
• Share what challenges are ahead for the rest of the year. For example, share information on how the state budget will impact your community.
• Share what your staff is doing over the summer to enhance their knowledge and profession. For example, are some people taking classes?
Communications Planning and Messaging for Staff. Discuss with your staff your communications strategy and how they can help you accomplish your communication goals. Provide them with key informational points that they can share out in the community. This helps ensure key themes are getting out to the public in consistent manner.
Dive into social media. Summer is the perfect time for schools to get comfortable with social media and build a following.
Reevaluate current communications strategies. Schools should take a look at what they did last year and figure out what worked and what didn't. It's also a great time for them to really focus on exploring new communications tools to enhance their current communications strategies and outreach.
Make a Communications Calendar. Schools need to take a couple of hours to map out your communications strategy from now until December. Knowing that people get information in different ways, schools should include a plan to reach people through face-to-face communications, direct mail, the media, district communications tools and social media.
Summer break is not a "communications break" but sadly most schools treat it as such. Schools need to make a plan to do these simple tasks that can guarantee that their community is receiving a consistent drumbeat of information from their school throughout the year.