Included in nearly every parent and community survey we do, a question reads, “How do you like to receive school/district information?”
Right after we show that to school leaders, it’s not uncommon for us to hear, “Oh, we don’t need that.”
“Yeah, we just send newsletters and post on Facebook.”
“Does anybody read it?”
“We don’t know.”
That doesn’t seem all that helpful…
Note the purposeful wording of the question, “How do you like to receive school district information?”
This is not about what you’re doing or what you’ve always done. You may be sending a newsletter every month, but community members don’t want that. It gets tossed away because people think it’s junk mail. Instead, maybe people like articles in the local paper and want you to start an Instagram profile.
In other words, how people read about you may not be how they want to read about you.
How can people understand your goals and give voice to your direction if they don’t know?
What’s more, if people aren’t learning about you via preferred communication channels, you’ll frequently hear, “How come you only talk to me when you need money?”
Stating the obvious, that’s bad.
Using our communications survey, you’ll not only understand how people want to hear from you, but you’ll also better understand…
Whether school communications are easy to understand, informative, and timely.
Preferred social media platforms.
Whether your website is easy to navigate, up to date with the right information, and appears professional.
What’s more, you can easily disaggregate the data to see if the answers to these questions differ among staff, parents, and the general non-parent/non-staff community.
People are deeply attached to their schools. They want to know what’s going on. They care about the education kids are receiving.
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be (which may not be the way it’s always been done…).
The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Rob DeMeuse, Research Director.