The importance of communicating is keenly felt in school settings. Principals are expected to be on top of all school communications. Effective communication with everyone involved—from the teachers to the parents—ensures proper guidance is provided.
The school principal's role as a communicator
Any leadership role comes with the responsibility to manage communications effectively. It supports all the skills, values, dispositions, knowledge, and expertise that principals put to work as they positively influence teachers, students, and families.
A principal’s role as a communicator can be seen as an extension of the role of a teacher in classroom communication. Like teachers, principals often initiate conversations and facilitate them as others add their ideas, suggestions, and questions. This means they can take the lead in developing and maintaining good relationships at every level, including between teachers, students, and families.
Using the Remind platform’s simple SMS text feature can make a world of difference in supporting principals’ communication responsibilities. They can use Remind to facilitate instant two-way communication and a direct line between the stakeholders who matter most to students’ education and success in school.
Effective principal communication in the digital age
With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to engage families and students. Whether it's SMS messaging, email blasts, or social media updates, there are various ways for principals, teachers, and families to connect.
This is what makes Remind a great tool for educators. In addition to the platform’s specialized teacher messaging features, Remind can support all levels of school and district communications, from mass announcements to personal check-ins. The platform was built to help educators, students, and families stay connected, and continues to improve to meet their needs. Remind is used by many school principals and teachers to boost the effectiveness of their communications.
Key principal communication tips
School principals must ensure teachers, students, families, and school staff are on the same page. Here are a few communication techniques and tips to help improve school principals’ communication.
1. Leverage available technology
It is important to use technology to our advantage. There are many texting apps for educators and apps for schools that can make communications faster, easier, and more secure for all parties involved.
One such tool for SMS messages is Remind, which provides principals and teachers a simple yet effective way to relay important messages with each other and with students and their families.
Texting parents is particularly useful when teaching in a remote class or virtual learning setting. It not only keeps parents updated on their student’s daily studies but also helps get them more involved in their children’s learning journey.
Video conferencing and messages
Video conferencing applications and cloud-sharing services have also proven invaluable for educators and students, especially with remote learning due to the pandemic. Video recording and editing software can also be useful for principals.
Instead of calling for a virtual meeting or sending a written email newsletter, a simple video newsletter can be just as or even more effective. Video messages allow principals to quickly and succinctly relay reminders, calendar items, and more while also allowing teachers to multitask.
Social media platforms
It is also important to use other forms of technology, including emails, the school website, blogs, and even social media. Social media can be a great way to release information and updates to the general public.
Moreover, it gives principals another way to reach out to students, since most of them are active on social media. Cross-posting on social media sites can save time and boost viewership. However, different social media platforms have their own best uses.
For instance, Twitter is best used for sharing news, tips, and emergency information that not only teachers and students but also the public should know about. Instagram is best used to build up the reputation of the school while Facebook is an ideal way to reach out to parents, publicize the school event calendar, and invite guests.
2. Ensure safety and privacy
As many as 30,000 new websites get hacked each day. In the age of online frauds, leaks, and other cyber-criminal activity, ensuring the safety and privacy of principal communications is non-negotiable.
Prioritizing the digital safety of your lines of communication makes the people you communicate with more comfortable speaking with you. Conversely, neglecting safety and security can discourage further communications.
Make sure the school’s IT department employs strong cybersecurity. Principals should also familiarize themselves with the basics of the school’s online security to better understand the limits of their communication safety.
A platform like Remind can support your school’s communication oversight, as well.
3. Send brief and clear messages
Using a teacher app to text parents should not be equivalent to writing essays. Everyone, everywhere, every day are bombarded with messages—from spam emails and promotional texts to actual useful messages.
It’s best to keep communications brief, clear, and at a low-reading level. This will help ensure everyone who receives the message can understand and read it well. Provide only the basic and most important information, then encourage teachers and parents to contact the school or the principal personally for any clarifications.
4. Create a communications plan each year
A strategic communications plan is an essential tool for any dedicated school principal. Each tactic used and the messages developed should help connect the principal with their staff, teachers, students, and more.
We strongly discourage using the same communications plan year in and year out. With how fast technology is changing and the current global situation, any communications plan should be revisited or evaluated each year for optimal results.
Measuring and evaluating how each form of communication did over the past year can serve as a guide for how to set up the new communication plan for the next school year. Evaluation is essential to find out which channels of communication are most beneficial, which could use more work, and which ones ensure the recipients see and read the messages.
5. Take a collaborative approach
As the saying goes, communication is a two-way street. Taking a collaborative approach will produce greater results than one person taking on the responsibility for a school-wide communications plan.
Working closely and communicating well with representatives from the teachers, non-teaching staff, families, and students ensure that multiple levels or groups can voice out concerns or opinions.
A collaborative publications calendar, which outlines when and what type of external online content would be published, how it would be published, and who would be responsible for publishing it, would also ease the burden on the principal. This may allow them to concentrate more on internal or in-school communications.
The importance of communication planning
There are different methods of communication that principals may employ. Today, many schools and colleges use communication platforms like Remind to reach parents, teachers, and students faster.
As effective and quick as digital communications channels may be, that does not mean traditional or old-fashioned ways of communicating should be forgotten. Merging these two and employing an integrated approach is one of the best ways to ensure successful communication.
This is what makes Remind a great tool for educators. Remind’s platform includes a teacher messaging app utilized by many school principals and teachers to boost the effectiveness of their communications. The application offers safe and secure two-way messaging via text messages, the app, and online through desktop or laptop computers.
Here are a few of our recommendations on how principals can effectively use Remind to communicate with school teachers, staff, and students.
Principal to teachers
There is no denying the importance of communicating with parents. However, before we focus on improving external communication with parents and guardians, it is paramount to ensure proper internal communications first.
Remind allows principals to send the following:
- Important memos
- Weekly reminders
- Constructive criticism
- Ask for honest feedback
- Check up on teachers’ plans and classes
Aside from texts or written communication, the Remind plan offers features such as voice calling as well. Principals can also take advantage of organization-wide messaging and urgent messaging in case of emergencies.
Principal to school staff
An administration messaging app like Remind can be invaluable in coordinating logistics, especially for events and emergencies. Examples include field trips, school dances, class suspensions.
Remind can also be used to send and receive important documents and resources necessary for planning and coordinating events. These include response plans, guidelines, itineraries, and maps.
Principal to students
Principals may use the Remind app similar to how class teachers use it. Remind can be used to monitor class curriculum and attendance. Teachers can add principals as co-educators for the class so they can keep track of class and individual students' progress.
It’s also a great way to welcome students who speak languages other than English. Remind has a preferred language translation that allows principals and educators to communicate with students in their preferred language, even if they can’t do so when talking to one another.
Improving internal school communications
As modern communication tools and channels grow and evolve, it’s essential for any school communications plan to adapt quickly. Keeping up with the changing technological and communications landscape allows principals to better reach their partners in providing quality student education.
Learning is only truly accomplished when clear, timely, and effective communication occurs at all levels. Here are some best practices to ensure effective communications between principals and teachers, school staff, and students when using a teacher messaging app like Remind.
- Communicate with empathy: This is an important tip to remember, especially when imparting bad news.
- Match words to actions: This refers to maintaining integrity as a school leader. As the principal, it is important to stay true to what you say to teachers and students in person and writing.
- Become a role model for proper communication: The best way to encourage clear and consistent communication between all parties in any educational institution is for the head to take the lead and show how teachers, staff, and students should act.
- Take advantage of open, secure, two-way communication: effective communication should always be two-way. Use Remind to respond to messages promptly and directly. Neglecting to do so may dissuade teachers, staff, and students from further communications with the principal.
- Find time for face-to-face communication: Many students and young adults may prefer communicating through an SMS text app or chat rather than talking in person. However, it is important to still have face-to-face conversations — especially in schools that are still holding classes virtually. Face-to-face communication can help strengthen bonds and convey emotions or intent better.
Managing effective communications as a school principal
Maintaining an open and clear line of communication with teachers and school staff helps principals do their job better. Moreover, serving as a model example of a communicator can help strengthen the role of teachers in classroom communication.
Effective communication is one of the cornerstones of being a school principal. For this, you need the best tools possible to develop and maintain open yet safe communication lines with teachers, staff, and students.
That is exactly what Remind offers. The Remind platform, and it’s SMS texting features, is specifically built for education. Since its launch, the app has been one of the most used communication tools for K-12 schools and educators.
For more information on how you can use Remind in your school, get in touch with our team.