Improved and effective communication with parents leads a PTA/PTO in the direction of more involved parents and an organized PTA/PTO. Communication increases productivity and keeps the Parent Teacher Group functional and effective.
A PTO Member must grab each and every opportunity to communicate with parents and inform them about the plans for the welfare of school and students, ask them to get involved to make a difference, and appreciate them for the smallest of their efforts.
Sometimes you might not know how to improve your communication skills and how to inform them about the PTA/PTO, but don't be overwhelmed. Parent Communication can be broken into two major categories- Message and Medium. Understand these two important pieces and improve parent communication:
- Positive: The messages sent out by the PTA/PTO depicts the working environment and friendliness of the group. Keep the messages welcoming, encouraging and comforting, so that parents wish to join the group. If your messages sound negative, scolding and demeaning, try to change the tone and see the results.
- Loud and Clear: A message motivating parent involvement will have a lesser impact than a clear call for volunteers for a particular event. This is because parents can understand the requirements and fit themselves wherever their skills match. This can help you in improving involvement.
Keeping a message loud means that mention it everywhere- on all platforms- lobby of the school, social media, website, and all other platforms.
- Consistent: For a relation to be built, Consistency in communication is the key. Try to come up with a weekly plan of sending out emails or messages to all the parents. Sometimes just images showing the fun PTA/PTO Members had in the previous events. Engage with them and understand the possibilities of their involvement. Even if personal communication isn't possible, update your website and social media pages regularly and be actively engaging.
- Reminders and Follow Ups: Reminders are a must. Suppose you want parents to join the Parent Teacher Group, you can display a message in the lobby which reminds them everyday, that they need to join the Parent Teacher Group. And once they have joined, follow-up regarding their attendance in the meetings, presence in the events, etc. This can help you organize the group better and make school a better place not just for students, but also for parents.
- Variety of Messages: Do you send out just text messages?
Keep a variety in your messages and attract parents with the content. Weekly emails, monthly newsletters, blogs, images, videos, infographics, and any other form of message can be included in your plan and sent out to parents for their views and opinions. Make them see the life of a PTA/PTO Member from outside through your attractive messages and emails.
- Be reachable: PTA/PTO Leaders must be reachable for the parents and students for any discussions. Questions from how to be involved in the PTA/PTO to what can I do if my child does not feel safe at school, must be answered by the PTA/PTO Members.
It should never be difficult to reach out to the leaders, their contact numbers and email addresses must be well spread in every flyer and message, making communication easier and better.
- Social Media: Most of the PTAs/PTOs have started using their social media pages for communicating with parents and sharing details of meetings and other events. This helps parents to stay updated and keep up with the activities of their groups. If you are a PTA/PTO and have not began using social media, try it- it is fun.
- Website: Keeping a website all updated and fresh might need some extra efforts but it is a must. Not just in the beginning of the academic year, but throughout the year. Make it a habit of updating your PTA/PTO Website after every event or a fundraiser.
- Emails: Plan your emails. Will you be sending a weekly email or a monthly, and what would be the content. Make sure you mind your tone and use images/texts carefully keeping privacy at a priority. Send emails with a goal to communicate, and not just for the sake of sending an email.
- Person-to-Person: Technology has given hundreds of communication options but person to person communication cannot be replaced. Plan some coffee mornings with parents and discuss the problems and their solutions. You can select days of the months to make it convenient for everyone to attend such informal meetings and share their views.
- Flyers: Send out flyers in the backpacks for any events to which parents are invited. Some parents are not as active on social media and would be left out if flyers are not sent. For fundraisers, or any events that need parent attention, send out multiple flyers with reminders.
- Indirect Communication: When the intention of a message is stated clearly, it is called indirect communication. Suppose you send out a picture of PTA/PTO members having fun at the Fun-Run, you actually imply to attract parents to get involved in the PTA/PTO so that even they can have fun.
You can use such indirect messages in many creative ways.
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