Communicate End-of-Year Changes Effectively

Vol. 16 No. 7

head eletter vol16 no7 communication

It’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer and, yes, we are quickly approaching the end of the school year. No doubt spring brings excitement to your hallways, but there’s still much to do before the school year draws to a close.

As School Head, you must navigate the changes that will take place at year's end. Teachers will leave and new ones will enter over the summer. Current families may choose different schooling options for their children, and new students will join your ranks next year.

It’s important to effectively communicate these changes and control the narrative. While there may be sadness about a favorite teacher or family leaving, there is much for the Board, faculty, staff, parents, and students to anticipate for next year.

Board

In your spring Board meetings Make the Board aware of all upcoming changes. Share the names of the teachers and staff members who are leaving and, if possible, where they are going and what they will be doing. Then present your new hires, listing their names, positions, and the strengths they bring to your school.

Also provide the Board with overall expected enrollment figures for next year. Share the number of students leaving your school and where they will be going, if possible. Communicate that your Leadership Team will conduct exit interviews with families who choose not to return and that data will be collected and analyzed against past years’ information.

Then ask a member of your Advancement Team to present on the new students who are joining your school. Include the number of students who inquired, applied, and were accepted to provide a full picture of your school’s enrollment activity. Additionally, highlight key students who bring specific interests or accomplishments to your school and will better round-out your community.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff turnover is perfectly normal at the end of the year. But if handled in the wrong way and team members are treated with hostility or neglect, there could be dissension among your remaining employees.

Treat your departing faculty and staff with respect, even if they aren’t leaving under the best of circumstances. Be honest about their transition during an all-hands meeting and, while respecting their contributions, also highlight your new teachers. Emphasize the responsibility of veteran teachers to help the newcomers acclimate to the school and your culture.

Your remaining employees should receive the same statistical data provided to the Board, and for the same reason. When they know the facts, they can help counteract rumors and share accurate information with students and parents.

Parents

Parents are inevitably going to hear about departing staff and faculty members, as well as families who choose to leave. But, at the same time, their primary focus is the quality of their children’s education. Use your school newsletter (print and online) to communicate the enhancements you're planning for next year’s academic programs. Cover new courses and innovations you will offer. Explain how they enrich the curriculum.

Also introduce new faculty and staff members through your newsletters. Focus on each individual’s position in the school, educational background, and experience, as well as some personal information, such as hobbies, interests, and family. Illustrate how each person further enhances your school community.

Students

Your students appreciate knowing about major changes in curriculum that affect them and any new teachers joining the ranks. They are also interested in any clubs, social activities, after-school programs, and sports offered next year. Announce the changes during an assembly this spring so students and parents can prepare accordingly.

Change is often a difficult but necessary part of life. Plan how to manage your school’s transition from this year to the next during these important spring months. Keep the community focused on the positive changes ahead.

Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Advancement Vol. 16 No. 1 Five Ways to Spice Up Your School Newsletter
The Source for Advancement Vol. 13 No. 8 Newsletters: Important for Prospective, Current, and Past Parents

Additional Resources for ISM Members:
I&P Vol. 42 No. 1 For Parents to Trust You With the Big Things, First Take Care of the Little Things

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