The school council is required to keep members of the school community informed about its activities. Effective communication is an essential component of a successful school council. This is an ongoing process that requires a school council to develop a communication plan. See section F pages 12-18 in the School Council Handbook for more details.
At the beginning of each new council term, serious consideration should be given to developing or revising your school council Communication Plan. Having a position on council called Media Relations Representative will help ensure your Communication Plan is sustainable.
Your council may have several messages you want to get across in your various types of communications with the parent community and these should reflect the central values of your mission/purpose.
A Variety of Ways to Communicate
- One-to-one, face-to-face
- Small group discussions, meetings
- Speaking before a large group
- Phone conversations
- Handwritten personal notes, word processed personal letters
- Mass produced, non-personal, information letters
- Brochure or pamphlet about the role of the council
- Regular article in your school newsletters, School Council link on your school website – agendas, minutes, calendar of council events etc.
- Brochure about various types of volunteer opportunities in your school both within and outside of school hours
Steps in Developing a Communication Plan
To determine this... Content
Ask this... WHAT needs to be communicated?
To determine this... Reason for communicating the content
Ask this... WHY is it being communicated?
To determine this.. Communication Vehicle
Ask this... HOW will it be communicated?
To determine this... Communication Process: design, development, assessment
Ask this... WHO will create, edit, deliver and assess the effectiveness of each item?
To determine this... Audience Selection
Ask this... WHO will receive each item?
To determine this... Timelines
Ask this... WHEN will the communication be delivered?
To determine this... Value/effectiveness of communication
Ask this..... WHAT was the effectiveness of the communication?
Did it reach the intended audience in the required item?
Was it clear and concise?
WHAT feedback has been received from the audience (may use a survey, telephone or written, to sample audience response or use tear off and return part at bottom information)?
Hints for Getting Your Notices Read
- Keep message brief and straightforward
- Develop a distinctive, consistent format for recognition
- Keep articles/items short
- Use bullets and boldfaced type
- Headlines help
- Leave lots of white space for ease of reading and to draw reader attention
- Publish often
- Highlight using a box format
Audience Communication Vehicles
- E-mail distribution list
- Bulletin Board/ Council Corner
- Council Binder with minutes and news items
- Telephone network
- Workshops for parents on identified topics of interest
- School Council Newsletter
- Advertising council meetings on outdoor sign/banner
- Establish a section on school website for Council News and events
- SchoolMessenger, where appropriate