A school is a microcosm of life. Each hall and classroom is filled with its own bustling world of activity. Students learn and grow; teachers creatively find new ways to engage with their students as times (and people) change. There's an incredible amount of activity from dusk till dawn on every school campus, so much so, that it can be easy for administrators to forget that the communities beyond their schools' walls also need to be aware of all this buzzing brilliance.
As a school leader, communication and community outreach should go together in your success-planning strategies. Of course, this is often easier to say than do. If you're stuck trying to figure out what kind of information your surrounding community should hear about your school, here are some great contributions for you future communications:
Provide Updates About School Events
There are a lot of reasons it's important to keep your community apprised about school events. For starters, parents and area businesses are your biggest supporters. They want to be excited about the things your school is doing just as much as your faculty and staff are.
Bear in mind that community members are often happy to contribute money to a good cause. If you get your neighbors rallied up about this year's softball season, you might find yourself with the gift of new uniforms. If your school's struggling to find prom decorations that fit within the budget, a positive community outreach strategy could be just what you need.
Proper communication about school events can also facilitate safer surroundings, as law enforcement officials and community leaders are able to have extra hands on deck when there will be an increase in traffic (whether that traffic comes by way of car, bike, or feet!)
By nature, school events lend themselves to lots of people in one place. It's important to have all eyes available to ensure students stay safe. Proper communication is the starting point toward successful school-sponsored occasions.
Promote Community Wellness
Community wellness is an important element in academia that's becoming more and more fundamental. Community wellness initiatives integrate the input of people outside of the school in order to ensure successful implementation, review, and evaluation of health and wellness policies.
“Wellness” typically involves measures schools are taking to ensure both the physical and mental well-being of their students. As part of your outreach efforts, invite community members to join your wellness committee as volunteers. For people who aren't interested in being regular members, be sure to extend a warm welcome when you have activities and special wellness events so your neighbors can witness the comprehensive health strategies you've put into place.
Some schools are starting to hire professional community outreach coordinators and specialists who are specifically dedicated to planning initiatives around mental and physical fitness. This is still a newer role in many districts, especially those in Title 1 or low-income counties. If your school doesn't staff a specialized wellness coordinator, consider working with your local recreation centers, health-minded small businesses, and after-school programs for assistance.
Sustain School Pride
School pride isn't just a big deal for your students; it's an exhilarating thing for everyone. After all, your school's roots are rooted right there in the neighborhood. Successful small business owners once studied in your classrooms; your students' parents are leaders throughout your town or city; people make sure to tune into the news when something special happened that involves your student body.
School spirit is a big deal. The more connected your community feels to your building, mascot, and motto, the more likely it is to endorse you when you need to ask for help.
Show Your Support of Sports
In many parts of the country, school sports are one of the most unifying factors besides school itself. For some, it's all about the adrenaline that comes from playing the game. For others, the excitement is in the stands, surrounded by a few hours of solid socialization.
If you want your athletes to really get excited about the sports they do so well; you have to bring the crowd in! Get people to stand up and cheer. Show your students you're excited about them! A roar the distance can motivate them over the finish line or encourage them to fight just a little harder to put up some extra points.
Appreciate Students' Efforts
Are you looking for another way to bring your athletes and the community at large together? Students love being featured in the news. It's a pretty big deal for kids to see their name in lights or to be able to tell their friends they'll be on TV. If your students are doing amazing things in any way—be it in sports, academics, or within the greater community—make efforts to touch base with people who can help you shine a spotlight.
It's not just about promoting individual efforts, however. If your school is being highlighted for an excellent ranking or status, embrace the excitement that comes with the cause. Use these times of camaraderie to showcase the power of positivity. Invite parents and supporters to come along for the ride.
Of course, participation medals are a great way to go if you're looking for a way to bolster business's brands while boosting student morale. To create a successful community outreach strategy, you should always be on the lookout for ways to enhance current and future sponsors' opportunities. Participation medals can easily be donated by companies that want the world to know they appreciate what you do.
Keep Your Eyes on the Future Prize
Community outreach isn't all fun and games. Many of these efforts are put into place so your school can be seen positively by decision-makers who could ultimately impact the way your school operates.
School exposure is a great way to increase student enrollment, which—by default—lends itself to better funding. Increased funding, of course, will offset the costs of your positive PR efforts, allowing you to make investments that will facilitate your messaging, such as outdoor digital signage. District exposure helps when communities are voting to pass bonds and levies. Proactive outreach and community relations efforts could provide for smooth approval of new construction and remodel projects down the road.
School Signs Can Help You Reach Your Community
Community outreach can be done in many ways, but digital signage is one of the most effective and proven strategies for connecting with students, parents, faculty, and others in your area. Stewart Signs has proudly been helping school leaders connect their campuses with their communities for over fifty years. With an innovative team of sign specialists, we'll happily help your academic institution increase your communication efforts while creating a greater sense of community on campus and off.
We invite you to learn more about Stewart Signs' school signs today!