For the past two school years, I have put together a collection of updates, photos, highlights, and announcements that I email to parents in a weekly newsletter.
As positive as this outreach has been, this year I decided to reach out to one of our computer teachers and his Desktop Publishing students to see if they would be able to manage a weekly student publication.
Last week we released their first edition. If you want to see a copy from these Desktop Publishing students, go here to check it out.
You may already have strong communication happening through student publications, but this new endeavor for us has made communication with parents even more effective. Making this work for your school may look completely different from my own, but if you’re not currently publishing a student newsletter, here are some steps you can follow to pull off this effective communication goal.
10 steps to follow for creating a weekly newsletter:
1. Throughout the week, collect ideas, stories, photos, web addresses, and emails about students, teachers, events–anything positive that has been happening at school. Have everyone email these directly to your lead teacher with updates from their classes, teams, or groups.
2. Have your publishing class keep a running list of items they plan to edit, draft, and post for publishing by the end of each week.
3. The teacher assigns student roles as reporters, photographers, editors, image editors (photoshop); and each researches different topics, including athletics, academics, activities, school calendar, student life, scholarships/counseling office, lunch menus, heads ups on big events, announcements of student achievements, students of the month, teachers of the month, etc…
4. Students then collect, create and share content through use of Edmodo so their documents can be accessed at any time by one another and their teacher. A specific set of students are assigned to transfer the content to Desktop Publisher with headings, photos, etc.
5. Students also maintain a template that can be used each week with a bold heading and good images from your school website.
6. Once the doc is complete, have a trusted adult look it over for final proofs and saves it as a final PDF version for linking to the school website.
7. Schedule a rotation of tasks for each week. For instance, on Mondays and Tuesdays, students are writing, creating, and building content into their template. By Wednesday, they are doing final edits. By Thursday they have submitted for conversion to pdf and publish to the website at end of the day.
8. Even as one newsletter is being published, your student team begins immediately on content for the next week’s publication.
9. Compose an email to parents via whatever system you use for bulk mailing (I use Mailchimp), and link to the student newsletter that is also posted on your school website.
10. If you use a free service like Mailchimp, add a subscription option to your website so parents can sign-up to received automatic updates and newsletters. Want to see how parents sign up for emails? See a sample subscription page I link to here!
Involving students in our weekly newsletter publications has expanded the way we communicate with parents. When you utilize the best resources for communication–your students–you are enhancing your ability to promote positive messages from your school as well as training students to be a part of promoting their own school’s message and mission.
Now It’s Your Turn
What are some other suggestions you have for utilizing students to publish content or produce newsletter or social media alerts? Share with the rest of us!