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Do you know how many emails are sent every day? Globally, 293.6 billion emails are sent and received every day. The average office worker receives 121 emails every day. If you’re wondering what these stats have to do with your school newsletter, the answer is, almost everything. We are in a constant state of information overload and people are streamlining what information they choose to engage with. This week, School Stream is taking a look at how the way we communicate is changing, and how schools can harness this for greater engagement in school life. 

We are here to support schools. We want to keep your community connectedWatch a quick demonstration of School Stream in action or keep reading for an overview of how to transform your newsletter.

Schools, by their very nature, are content rich environments. There are great news stories to share, events to promote and wins to celebrate. And yet, if you were to ask a school how many parents were actually reading the schools newsletter, many won’t be sure. We know from decades of research that improved parent-school communication leads to improved academic results and better welfare for students, so we all want to get it right. 

Communication Has Changed but Newsletters Have Stayed the Same

Newsletters have been a core component of schools’ communication strategies for years. And while the way we communicate has been completely transformed by technology, school newsletters have remained the same. We know many schools are beginning to rethink their school newsletter. Here is Greg Cross of South Bathurst Public School speaking at a recent ed-tech webinar:

We try and make the newsletter applicable to everyone within our school… I try to put some information in there that’s relevant to all parents to make that communication engaging. But I’m questioning whether by doing that, am I actually doing a disservice to parents, because then parents have to trawl through pages every week just to find something that might be applicable to their child. With the School Stream app, we can tailor what we want to send out and to which specific year groups or stage groups within our school; so that they’re not being inundated with ‘stuff’ that’s not relevant to their child.

People are Scanners Online, Not Readers

Greg Cross’s observations are backed up by evidence-based research, and you probably know this is true from your own experiences too. How many times have parents called the office asking about a particular event, even though it was ‘in the newsletter’? Results of a recent study that took place over 13 years using eye-tracking technology showed that people don’t read digital content completely — they’re much more likely to lightly scan your words than read it in order. 

“People don’t want to waste time or effort online. As long as we’re designing content that acknowledges that reality and helps to direct people to only the information they want, we’ll be on the right track.”

Nielson Norman Group April 2020

If we understand the way people consume information, then schools can use that to create relevant, insightful content that is relevant to parents.

How School Stream Can Help

So what does all this mean for the school newsletter and what does the solution to parent-school communication look like in action? One approach that could hold the answer might seem like a significant departure from what we’re all used to, but with everything we know, it could well be the way forward. Rather than relying on a fixed newsletter schedule, an app like School Stream lets schools send targeted information to families in small packets as and when it is relevant to them. 

“People can sign up to specific streams, so if I’m a Year 6 or Senior School parent, or need updates for the under 10s soccer, I can choose to get information that’s relevant for me. The school can then target more specific information to those groups and can choose the amount of information families are getting.”

Dave Edwards, School Principal & Former President of the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association (2013-2016)

School Stream has a custom categories feature, so schools can easily tailor who they send their notifications to by selecting the relevant year level, group or whole school so everyone stays in the loop. The good news? It’s easy to set-up. If you can sign in to your email and manage your own social media, you can do this too and if you need help, the Customer Success team is a phone call or Live Chat away.

Get in touch to talk about School Stream can support your school communication.