School newsletters are a powerful, strategic resource to engage school communities.

School newsletters are a powerful, strategic resource to engage school communities. There are many schools that send monthly or fortnightly newsletters, yet there are schools that issue weekly newsletters in the areas where I work.

Delta Primary School is one of the schools that sends weekly newsletters to parents. The new principal, Hilton Palanyandi, explained the purpose of their weekly newsletters.

"I have learned from other schools. I have looked at the various models used by other schools and felt that the weekly newsletter serves our needs. There is so much happening at the school and the newsletter helps to bridge the communication gap between the school and the parents.

Parents and learners receive the news briefs about important school business and learner achievements in and outside the classroom. We are also using the newsletter to tackle the problem of late coming at our school and we have had success.

Addressing latecoming

Late coming was a huge problem at our school at the beginning of the year. We had about 75 learners coming late to school. Now the total has dropped to about 20. The late coming data have become a talking point. Even the security personnel have picked up the trends. We are still going to investigate why Wednesday is a "high-risk" attendance day.  Even parents comment on the downward trend in the late coming. We are slowly winning the battle."

While Hilton was sharing this information, he was scrolling through the tons of newsletters on his computer and printed a sample for me to see. In each newsletter was a table that reflected the learner late coming statistics and you can see the reduction in the numbers in the later issues. Consistency matters, for sure!

Promoting reading.

Reading is another newsletter focus, explained Hilton Palanyandi.

"After  we had published the top readers at the school, more children started taking books out at the library. We have discovered though, that a few children are returning thick books, say two days, after borrowing them.  We suspect they are not reading the books. Now the librarian and the intern, who runs a weekly book club, have to quiz the children to ensure they are not cheating! They want that reading certificate at the end of the year, you see."

See,  the humble newsletter can be used strategically to raise conversations about school issues such as those time-wasters that erode teaching time.

How often do you send newsletters to your parents and what are the foci in your school newsletters? Do share and make the circle bigger!


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