Four Ways to Include Staff in Your Family Communication
Fostering strong and effective communication among teachers, administrators and families is critical to student achievement and success. But as the adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. So many others are involved in the school environment besides teachers and administrators. Effective communication is vital to building trust and maintaining positive partnerships with families. So, you want to make sure every person who supports students’ development and well-being at school is an active part of your school’s communication strategy. Because these key players are not always in daily contact with students or guardians, this can be a bit of a challenge for schools. Here are four crucial roles to include in communications with families:
1. School Counselors
While this has always been the case, school counselors are being relied on now more than ever. Every school and district is concerned with the mental health of their students and are looking to their counselors for help with this, among so many other things. So make sure that they have an opportunity to interact with your families on a regular basis! And it is important that they have an opportunity to share information with various groups – the school, individual classes, and grade levels – as families across these groups can benefit from different information. Not only this, but counselors need to be able to quickly and easily engage in one-on-one communication with guardians in order to truly support the students they are serving.
2. School Nurses
This is another role that is playing a large part in school communities than in years past. Nurses are being looked to to communicate information such as vaccine clinics, quarantine guidelines, and other covid information as well as continuing to be responsible for other communications regarding student health. This is not only a crucial responsibility but also a large amount of information. Make it as easy as possible for your nurses to be in contact with your families as needed! As Nicole, a school nurse in Iowa says, “In this age of COVID-19, clear communication from school nurses about health and safety will be more important than ever.”
3. Parent Liaisons
Not every school is fortunate enough to have someone in this role, but those that do can attest to their efforts and importance! Schools may have parent coordinators, family engagement coordinators, and school community coordinators, but regardless of their titles, they are often the ones who are best able to build relationships with your families. “It is my job to reach out to families and provide resources that are in the community and ensure that families feel that their voices matter to us and are heard,” says Adriyel, a Community Schools Coordinator. “Making sure that I can access them but that they can access me as well. Families need to feel that I am not just accessible but welcoming.” However, they frequently have to manage a vast array of communication tools to communicate with families. Make it simpler and more streamlined for 100% of families to be able to reach out to this person for any of the variety of ways in which they support families will make their communication more efficient.
4. Front Office Staff
Many people say that the front office staff are the true keepers of the school! They know about all of the school happenings and are often the ones who are most often have face time or even day-to-day conversations with families. Yet, there are rarely guidelines or formal plans for communication between office and families. Making sure that there is a system in place ensures that all families are able to participate. Furthermore, it makes it easier for your front office staff by knowing where they can expect to receive communications and where they can most effectively send communications.
While it is widely accepted that both family engagement and all school staff are crucial to student success, there is often a gap between the two. Employing the right communication tool and practices will help you close this gap to strengthen your school community and culture.
Snap! Connect accomplishes this! It includes the entire school community including the above roles, related service providers, special teachers, and more. This fact, along with its one- and two-way communication platforms makes communication more efficient and effective for these incredibly hard-working staff and more streamlined and simple for families.
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