More so now than ever, school districts across the nation are putting school safety at the forefront of discussions. The key to school safety preparedness and planning is effective, reliable communication.
For example, take the case of Poway Unified School District in San Diego. To spread the word to parents about their safety forum, they utilized their digital communication channels, which included sending a flyer through Peachjar. They had expected around 200 RSVPs and instead had to stop registration and switch locations when they reached 700 RSVPs! Poway attributes the success of this event to their digital outreach.
Here are some ways to implement digital communication methods in your district's discussion on school safety:
Send important information via text
According to a study conducted by Speak Up, 94% of parents today are smartphone users - this means that the majority of parents have access to texts. Texting is a quick, convenient way for parents to receive information about safety planning and information. This form of communication is effective because parents are already utilizing texting in their personal and professional lives, the ability to incorporate information pertaining to their child's school fits into their regular communication tools seamlessly. Because text messages are concise, they're a great tool for providing updates or quick bits of information - two elements that can be helpful in communicating crisis preparation and safety protocols.
Use email messaging
Using email messaging to plan for school safety is key when your district needs to send out more detailed information, such as forms or waivers. Like text messaging, email also provides an immediate, efficient way to get in touch with parents. According to a study conducted by The Inbox Report, 89% of Americans check email at least once a day - this means that email is a reliable way to contact parents and offers an avenue for them to view and share the information.
Send digital flyers
By sending digital flyers to parents' emails, districts have the ability to distribute information about safety events and programs quickly and easily with visually-engaging graphics. Peachjar's digital flyers have the benefit of using call-to-action buttons, such as "Register" or "Learn More," which is a great way to get parents to take action on your event. Poway USD utilized the "Register" button on their Peachjar flyers in conjunction with online registration for their safety forum. This enabled them to appropriately plan for the high turnout rate of parents.
Post on social media
Social media is another great tool to spread the word about school safety because messaging can be shared with parents and family members at the touch of a button. This provides a strong network for others to share your information as well, resulting in your message reaching a larger audience. Though not as effective as the above methods on its own, social media is most effective as a supplemental communication tool. Having a strong social media presence, especially as it pertains to discussions around school safety, will additionally help build credibility for your district.
Implementing these communication tools in your district's communication plan is an effective way to position your district as a thought-leader in the mission for school safety. By prioritizing convenience, ease, and immediacy in your messaging about safety planning, parents will feel confident that their child's district is a taking a proactive approach to making their schools a safe place for all students.