• John Franco

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Managing communications effectively is a key aspect of leadership. Effective attendance communication planning is not something I hear talked about in school administration circles. When I do hear about a focus on communication, it seems like a bit of a throw away—"We put all of our parent information on our website” or "We have a (insert frequency) auto-caller that we update with a new message to parents.” While these practices may be necessary, they are not what I would classify as effective.

Tiered strategies of communication are essential to students’ success in the year ahead. We can all think of a time when bad communication or a lack of communication led to misunderstanding. Considerations for effective attendance communications planning include:

  • Identify your key messages and audience—Who and what are your focus? The reasons for communicating with your audience.

  • Scope—Do your tactics including both universal and targeted messages?

  • Effective frequency—How do you ensure your key messages are clear and consistent? The number of times a person needs to hear the message in order to respond.

  • Tone—How does the way you are communicating help you to build trusting and respectful relationships with your audiences? Are communications offered in native languages and in appropriate literacy levels.

  • Outcomes—What demonstrable impact did you have?

These are a few considerations for attendance communication plans that effect change. While I don’t know how the coming school year will unfold, I do know that districts would be well served to anticipate need and budget for additional attendance communication supports.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” —Benjamin Franklin