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keyaiko
Community Member

School Communication

We are finishing our first year with Canvas and are starting to evaluate things that went well and things that need improvement. One of the big areas of self-identified needed improvement is school communication at all levels. We are a small International school largely made up of volunteer and part-time staff, so we don't have anyone on staff whose main job is to handle PR and school communication. I am a math teacher by profession, but help with educational technology and Canvas administration by hobby. Therefore, I need a lot of help! I have been looking around the Internet at articles and webinars for ideas how to do an effective communication audit so that we can form a strategic and simple communication strategy that meets the needs of our parents and staff. I was wondering if anyone here has resources to help.

I realize this is a big question. I value any input/ideas you have, but especially would like to know anything about:

  • Methods to identify communication gaps
  • What information needs pushed to parents and students and what should be made available for them to pull
  • How much should Canvas be involved in school communication? Should it be only used for course-level communication or can it be used for communication about school events?
  • What is the best way to structure calendars? (School events, athletics, etc.) Is Canvas good for that or is there something better? We are invested in Microsoft 365 so Google is not an option for us.
  • What is the role of social media in school communication? (Facebook, Twitter, ...)
  • We have a school website, but it's more for prospective teachers and families, not current families. Should that change? How much of a role does your school website play in communicating current events?
  • How do you train parents on school communication methods so that they know how to receive and initiate communication with the school?
  • Everything else I'm missing.

Thanks!

2 Replies
cgiraud
Community Member

  • Methods to identify communication gaps: When no one shows up, or people are bewildered about school events, or you have low response rates, it's likely you have some gaps. We have found that parents prefer direct contact via email or better yet by text. This needs to be monitored, however. It can become too much.
  • What information needs pushed to parents and students and what should be made available for them to pull--You just need to find the magic formula here. I think parents would like to be able to opt in for notifications of all sorts. For example, I don't want sports info for all teams, just the ones my kids play on. Or I really don't care about the new parent reception, but I do care about the annual book talk/author visit.
  • How much should Canvas be involved in school communication? Should it be only used for course-level communication or can it be used for communication about school events? This is up to you guys. It's great for course-level communication, certainly. Other communications via Canvas should relate to student life, not really school life necessarily. Your website would be better for that and would be something prospective families might like to see.
  • What is the best way to structure calendars? (School events, athletics, etc.) Is Canvas good for that or is there something better? We are invested in Microsoft 365 so Google is not an option for us. We find calendars are great for courses, college counseling visits, and general information -- like "Today is Day 4 in our 4 day rotation."
  • What is the role of social media in school communication? (Facebook, Twitter, ...). Our development office uses it. It's great for little shout outs, promotions, light news pieces that might not get out otherwise.
  • We have a school website, but it's more for prospective teachers and families, not current families. Should that change? How much of a role does your school website play in communicating current events? Website is great for development office, general school calendar of days off, PD days, all school events.
  • How do you train parents on school communication methods so that they know how to receive and initiate communication with the school? Hold an annual communications meeting with parents. Give handouts. Make communication trees clear.
  • Everything else I'm missing. Communications is a big beast. My overall recommendation is to divide what's critical for students and use Canvas for that. What's critical for parents and prospective families--use the website for that. Targeted communications about kids successes and sports teams news, school productions -- use website and social media.
jodi_petersime
Surveyor

Would love to implement sports schedules, meeting schedules into the calendar program.  Would love to hear how others do this.