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In a world where 3.5 billion emails are sent every second (!), and 500 million tweets and 100 billion WhatsApp messages are sent every day(!!), it’s safe to say we are collectively elbow-deep in information overload. Of course, this has obvious implications for the school newsletter and schools, as ever, are already leading the way when it comes to evolving with the tech and the times. This week on School Stream, we’re looking at how the school newsletter is evolving in the age of information overload and a potential communication solution that works for both schools and parents. 

Get eyes on your school communication with School Stream. Watch this short video to see how we can help your school or keep reading to see how the school newsletter is evolving to stay relevant.

We need to direct parents to the information they want

We all know how much work goes into producing and distributing a school newsletter, so it can feel beyond frustrating and somewhat demoralising when parents ring the office to ask for the details of a particular event, even though it was in the newsletter! But once we understand that we’re all presented with an unprecedented volume of data that’s physically (and mentally) impossible to process, it’s no surprise parents are missing important details when it comes to school life. Evidence-based research confirms this:

“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

Schools can win in the attention economy

The internet is a daily battle for our attention, but schools have a distinct advantage when it comes to competing in the attention economy because parents genuinely want to hear from them. It just turns out they don’t want to know every single detail if it doesn’t apply to their child. Like most of us, a lot of parents say they don’t have the mental bandwidth to process additional information outside of what they need to know to support their children’s life at school:

“It sounds awful, but I don’t really care about the whole school. I only want to know what Elena’s year levels are doing, and the year levels above her too, because then I know what’s to comeI think the newsletter is defunct. We get two newsletters a term, but we know already everything that’s coming up or already happened because I’ve seen it on their social media.” 

Or as another parent told us in more direct terms:

“I’ll tell you the kind of communication that I’m looking for from school: Things that are relevant to me.”

Change is already happening

As we’ve said before, schools are experts when it comes to sharing news and keeping parents in the loop but, as technology evolves, schools tell us they are already adapting the way they communicate with their parent community. 

This, from a Business Manager at a school in Queensland who uses School Stream to keep the communication targeted, relevant and fresh: 

“Now we can give news as it happens – on the fly –it’s much more up to date. It would take a whole day to write the newsletter – and it was already old news, reporting what had happened. It’s become so much easier to get all of our new information out.” 

School Stream can help your school with Custom Categories

So, what does all this mean when it comes to the school newsletter and what does the way forward look like for schools and parents? It might feel like a big leap, but some schools are finding that using an app like School Stream to send targeted information in small packets is proving successful – and is even superseding the newsletter. Administrators are telling us that they have more parents engaging with their comms than ever before, and it saves them loads of time too:

“We used to do newsletters, but it was all old news rather than what was up and coming. There’s no point reporting old news – we want parents to know what is coming up. We can send out notices as soon as we have the information to hand. It’s super quick and easy, as opposed to writing a newsletter and waiting to have that approved.”

 (A QLD-based Business Manager)

School Stream has a ‘Customs Categories’ feature that allows schools to tailor to whom they send information. You can create groups for year levels, sports teams, the school band, and more, and you can even schedule what time the information is to be sent out to parents.  

“We have a community group for the ladies who do the Breakfast Club – they only get information related to them. If we have a nit problem at school, they don’t need to hear about it. I also have a group for the 2022 prep parents – we sign them up on the spot as part of enrollment.” 

 Tom Elliott, Deputy Principal at Avoca Primary School

 It’s easy to set up Custom Categories. If you can send an email or manage your social media, you can do this too. If you do need a hand though, our much-loved Customer Success Team is just a phone call or live chat away.

 Are you ready to learn more? Let’s get started.