“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