As the last two weeks have unfolded, lives have been upended as the Covid19 has arrived and rapidly spread across the country. In response and for the safety of all, schools closed quickly and found themselves faced with setting new schedules and critical communications updates to parents and guardians.
Digital Leadership Shifts
Just two weeks ago, I was getting ready to meet with a group of school leaders and development personnel for a morning workshop. Our professional development focus was on the topic of ‘Digital Leadership and Creative Uses of Social Media’. In the 24 hours leading up to the workshop, news reports broke about the first cases in the US. It had hit close to home. In fact, a school in our local area was one of the first in Pennsylvania to stop in person classes and move learning online. As I drove to the planned workshop on Thursday, March 12th and listened to the Washington Post podcast as is my routine, I was struck by the fact that schools would be gripped by changes imposed because of this invasive, global pandemic. Digital Leadership quickly became an essential skill.
In these challenging times, school leaders will be delving into ways to better leverage apps and tools to more quickly and easily share school news via social media channels and web/online communications. Digital Leadership will require schools to speak to unique needs and elevate its overall school communications and community engagement while at the same time recognizing that families are dealing with a myriad of shifts including remote learning, parent job changes and health challenges. This list and downloadable infographic provides steps for schools for digital communications.
Six Steps for Digital Leadership and School Communications
- School Website – Equip your school website with a clearly accessible Covid19 page link from the home page, easily accessible teacher sites and links to necessary student and parent information.
- Social Media – Post frequent updates to social media. Set a regular schedule and keep to it. Be sure to check for messages on social media from students and parents. Expand use of school specific tools such as private groups if applicable.
- Parent Updates – Inform parents of updates and changes on a regular schedule to parents, students and guardians. Check email lists to make sure they are accurate. Provide helpful resources for academic support as well as information about student wellbeing and federal and local health and services resources.
- Staff Communications – Plan virtual staff meetings and provide frequent updates to staff. Gather ongoing feedback from teachers and staff as to what is working and what updates may be needed.
- School Learning Management Systems – Update information on school family and student portals. Include necessary information for learning. Include tech support links and how to information for staff and families to facilitate access.
- School Summary Flyer – Create a one-page summary of important school information. Include the website, school calendar and school and teacher contact information. This can be saved digitally or printed out for easy access.
As we navigate these very challenging times, digital leadership and timely updates will be essential. It is one way we can show support, compassion and understanding to our students and families.