The email newsletter we’ve all subscribed to sits most of the time either skimmed or unread in our inboxes. Here are 16 ideas on how to engage families more with your school outreach. Before we list the ways, remember that before families can engage with the material, they need to be able to read it. Check before publishing your school newsletter that it has these features to maximize visibility and engagement.
Is it mobile responsive?
Does it translate? (not a pdf)
Can you print it? (for families who don’t have internet access)
Can families search for it on the website?(on website for families who have not subscribed)
Does it include an easy “subscribe” to your school newsletter button or form on your homepage?
Can you link from the newsletter stories back to your school website?
16 ideas for more engaging school newsletters:
1. Link or integrate your school calendar
By connecting your school calendar to your newsletter, families can easily add events to their personal calendar with one click on the newsletter. They will also see news and events in one place.
2. Link or integrate your school news website stories into the newsletter
From an administrative perspective, this will save time on rewriting or copying and pasting. If your school newsletter software allows you to make this integration, you can pull news stories directly from your website and auto-populate them into your newsletter. Tip: link the stories back to your website—go SEO!
3. Showcase a student of the week/month/term
People like to read about themselves and their peers. This might even get the students reading the newsletter and engaging with it. If your newsletter has a public link to share, students can showcase it on their social media.
4. Showcase a faculty member of the week/month/term
Did someone just complete their Masters or Doctorate in education? Has a teacher been with the school for a milestone amount of time? It doesn’t have to be a teacher to make it engaging; you could also showcase everyone’s favorite security guard or bus driver.
5. Share an alumni success story
High schools can share the best colleges their seniors got into. Even if you’re an elementary school, share what happens after. Maybe someone from your 5th grade graduating class won a state science competition—share their success.
6. Tell the story behind the fundraiser—and then share a link to raise money!
Santa Rosa Academy in Menifee, CA has each club raise money for a scholarship for a graduating senior. Families love hearing the story behind the spirit wear or candy bar they are buying. Always share the link where families can donate.
7. A previous week/month’s success story from an event
Similar to #6 above, was the fundraiser successful? How much money was raised? How many volunteer hours were contributed? Share the success. Maybe you’re very close to hitting the fundraising goal, and families need one more reminder.
Share an interview of a student who did a “shadow the principal day,” or “shadow a teacher day.” If your superintendent was interviewed by the news, share that in your newsletter.
9. Link to an election or city event
Anything that’s affecting the school such as voting for funding for the new gym is newsletter worthy. Create a little discourse with information about where families can share their thoughts with the city as well! Maybe it will help divert irate parents to the city for a day or two!
10. Disclose security notes, or have a security block
Everyone loves security information as well as security gossip—think NextDoor for your school and share things like suspicious packages delivered (ended up being science department supplies), fire alarm set off in the teacher’s lounge from an overheated burrito, etc.
11. Include a school technology tip section
Create a space for families on basic technology how-to’s such as where to find their child’s teachers and how to “subscribe” to their pages. Share the benefits of subscribing to the teacher pages to stay informed on classroom updates.
12. Have an “Important Now!” section with form links back to your website
Low on enrollment? Want to highlight more A.P. classes? Want to highlight graduation requirements or lottery requirements? Are there families calling the school asking for the same forms or information over and over? Highlight this information and links to forms in your newsletter! Hopefully this creates a lull in phone calls from families!
13. Create a “Get Involved” section to recruit family volunteers
The more places you showcase this to your families, the better odds you will have of them signing up. List the top volunteer goals of the year so families have more information than “we need volunteers.” Some sample goals for the year:
Paint all lockers
Plant community garden
14. Have a reminder section for upcoming tryouts and auditions
How many times as a parent have you wanted your child to get involved and you notice the deadline for a tryout or audition was missed? Have a calendar dedicated to this and integrate it into your newsletter.
15. Introduce new faculty members
Are there going to be new faces in the fall or new term? Share their credentials and backgrounds and link to their staff pages if they have them available.
16. Include a mental health section from the school counselor
Mental health was a concern before COVID, and post COVID it’s even greater. Have your school counselor discuss warming signs of depression in children & teens and link to resources—and always have a hotline number available for quick reference.
Try one of these tips or all until you find something that starts engaging your unique school community. If you have questions specifically about Edlio’s newsletters (included in the CMS package) Reach out here: LEARN MORE