I know, I know—the end of every school year is crazy busy, like we’re hanging on by a thread. But I also know if we can get the ball rolling for next year now, we’ll appreciate it come fall.
As we bring this school year to a close, let’s also begin looking ahead. We can accomplish both gracefully (okay, maybe not gracefully, but at least efficiently!) by starting back-to-school communications now. Here are five great reasons to simultaneously close one academic door and open another:
Send students off into the warm embrace of summer on a high note. Finish the school year in a way that has them wanting to come back! The month of May is notorious for assemblies and award banquets, but not all students are included in those activities which can make many feel like they’re getting the end-of-the-year shaft. Are you celebrating the end of the school year with a school-wide picnic for field-day? Consider sharing that experience with parents who are likely at home anxiously awaiting that final report card. Bid families who are graduating a final farewell while sharing summer plans with those you expect to see in the fall. When kids end the school year in a way they’ll remember with positive connotations and memories, they’ll look forward to returning. It’s science.
Not only will friendly communications from the school help boost morale, staying connected by sharing at-home learning ideas also prevents the dreaded “summer slide.” Academic retention is affected by the gap in between summer break and the school year, so stay ahead of the curve by inviting students to attend academic workshops, sending them fun activities they can complete at home, and making them aware of the various learning opportunities in their community. Team up with local museums or libraries to keep students engaged and a’learnin’ during the summer months: start an online book or photography club, publish a literary magazine, engage younger students with a Flat Stanley project, or choose other virtual activities that keeps students connected from the comfort of their own homes.
Some districts are more transient than others, and they’ve grown accustomed to the high turnover rate in their student body. Whether you’re expecting large amounts of new faces or just a few, it’s always a great idea to pre-welcome new students and families—your smiling face could be the first one they meet! If Christmas can be in July, so can back-to-school fun. Consider inviting new students and their families on a tour of the school, introducing them to some of the faculty and staff. Begin a series of “get to know us” messages profiling teachers, traditions, fall plans; that way, when the students begin the new academic year, they feel like they already know you. Don’t forget to highlight the ways parents can get involved, from joining the PTO to volunteering in the classrooms. Parent allies are essential for student achievement, so getting new families involved helps them feel at home as well as serves as academic support. And don’t forget to kill two birds with one stone: while you’re on a communication kick, collect all that registration paperwork now! Speaking of which…
Registration forms, health records, and transcripts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the massive amounts of information schools collect from their students at the start of each school year. Sure, it’s all necessary, but holy textbooks, isn’t there an easier way? I’m so glad you asked! There certainly is an easier way and it begins with a click. Simply download this handy dandy Back-to-School Communications Planning Guide to start taking inventory of what info you need to share and collect.
This may come as a surprise to you (written in my best sarcasm font), but not every child is excited about coming to school. Shocking, right? That’s why it’s extra super important educators work hard to build a community that students and families are proud to be a part of. Community-building activities that take place during the summer can be in-person or online. Face-to-face events like helping spruce up the school for another academic year give students a sense of ownership and pride for their building. Online fun like following the school mascot’s crazy summer antics on his Instagram account is a simple way to build school pride. There are so many things we can do to establish a strong rapport with our students and families, and I promise you our efforts outside the classroom will be met with academic benefits inside the classroom.
Stay summer strong with our free Back-to-School Communications Planning Guide. Click HERE to snag your copy.