The academic year may be over, but classrooms and practice fields are far from empty. Summer school, sports conditioning, band practice, clubs, and camps keep campuses open and vibrant throughout the break.
Keeping families, kids, and staff in communication is always important. But staying connected poses a specific challenge in the summer, when new staff, hours, and routines are put into place to support different kinds of programming. It’s also a time when families come and go from vacations, when unexpected weather hits with heat waves and thunderstorms, and when celebrations occur community-wide to make the most of long, sunny days.
Don’t miss the opportunity to keep your districts’ and schools’ summer programs on top of their communications. Here are some tips on how:
Create group, club, and team-specific communication channels.
Last-minute cancellations happen with soccer practices and field trips given summer’s unexpected changes in weather and other outdoor conditions. When classes are in session and most students are on campus, updating everyone last-minute is straightforward.
But for the summer, make sure your participants and their support systems can quickly and easily be updated about alternative plans or delays. This way, staff members aren’t left scrambling to get in touch with students who are staying with friends or family, or parents who already dropped off their kids.
TIP: Encourage teachers and coaches to create Remind groups for summer programs like classes and sports teams. This way, one message can reach everyone—students and guardians—quickly and conveniently. Recipients will receive a text on their phone, regardless of where they are.
Create one place for families to access digital documents and updates.
During the school year, students and parents tend to know where they can find the information they need, whether online or on site: lunch menus are posted on the district website, days off are marked on the wall calendar in the office, and updates about extracurriculars are shared during afternoon announcements.
During the summer, when there are often different program procedures and different staff, it can be hard for families to know where to turn. Create one digital home, ideally on existing channels like district and school websites, for each district- and school-wide community to avoid any confusion.
TIP: Use Remind’s Google Classroom integration to post and share summer assignments, schedules, special events, and permission slips.
Maintain school-wide connections by sharing resources and just-because messages.
Even students who aren’t actively participating in school activities during the summer can benefit from community resources or just knowing they’re missed.
School leaders can let families know events happening in the community, such as summer farmer’s markets or free museum days. Administrators and principals can send updates about their summers or just to say hello to maintain the kind of connection that keeps students and families engaged when classes are in session. Just because they’re out of town doesn’t mean that school has to be out of mind.
TIP: The Remind features you use during the year are just as useful during the summer. Don’t forget you have a quick, convenient way to check in with families and students and tell them that they can always check in with you. With true, two-way texting, contacting even the most remote students—physically or otherwise—is a breeze for teachers and counselors.
Ease into back-to-school with early reminders.
Sports physicals, vaccines, re-registration, school supplies, new schedules—back to school means a whole new routine and to-do list for students and families. It takes time to make appointments, take time off work, and enjoy the last days of summer, so nudge parents as soon as possible to prepare for the school year.
Encourage teachers to check in with their new students as soon as they’re assigned. This way, their point person for the school year is just a message away as students and families orient themselves to the new year.
TIP: Organizations with the Remind plan can automatically create classes for their teachers so classes and rosters don’t need to be set up manually.
Summer is a great time to rest and recharge. As you and your team take well-deserved vacations, clear communication channels are the best way to ensure families are informed and engaged, no matter who’s on campus.
We’d love to hear what your district is busy with this summer, so share with us at @remindhq on Twitter. And, to learn more about how your district can use a Remind plan to make returning to school a little easier and stay connected year-round, click here.