It is incumbent upon today’s school leader to both celebrate successes and also to see when and why things haven’t worked. While schools have made countless advancements in recent decades that perhaps should be better recognised, there has also been some problems – namely a generic erosion in the relationship between home and school.
I’d contend that this actually isn’t the fault of either parents or schools. This is clearly a media driven issue of mine. You see, there’s just no media miles, newspaper inches or clickbait under headlines like “School and parents working together harmoniously”. And so, they only create headlines based in conflict. And with the airing of each negative story just a little more trust leaks out of the home-school partnership. It’s really quite insidious and unfair when you think about it.
It isn’t as though schools haven’t been communicating though. We still send home newsletters and we still run our assemblies. But there are two key problems with these as our major communications channels:
- We’re not communicating the important or interesting things about school life in our newsletters (meaning that one study found that only 7.8% of parents are reading them … yes, even when we send them by email!)
- That we’re not yet adequately speaking in the online spaces they are. With parents of school-aged children among the demographics where technology, apps and social media have most effectively penetrated, it just doesn’t make any sense not to be there.
The lesson here is that we need to communicate more effectively if we want the positivity, the purpose and the passion of our work to drown out the peripheral noise of the current affairs programs.
It’s true that we’re unlikely to encounter a new wave of support from the media. But, one school at a time, we can take that communications challenge as we speak to our parents with more regularity and with such authority that the message simply can’t by missed.
All of this is why I’ll be running a free webinar for teachers and school leaders titled “21st Century Approaches to Home-School Communication” on Thursday 14th September 2017 at 3.30pm AEST.
UPDATE: A recording of the webinar can be accessed here.