My boss suggested that I collect parent emails and use them to communicate more directly with parents. This was a good suggestion. I have all of my student’s emails, but I don’t tend to communicate with their parents (I almost never need to call home on my particular collection of learners).
Suggestion in hand, I decided that I would go him one better, and create a parent newsletter that I could email to parents on a monthly basis. My sensibilities are such that the notion of a newsletter is not one that intuitively makes a lot of sense to me. At the same time, things have gotten to the point that publishing a newsletter is simple sauce with the tools that are available.
Here’s my process:
- Using Google Docs, pick a newsletter template that you don’t hate. Remember that just like buying a house, you’re only interested in the bones of the thing, as you are going to tweak the aesthetics until you are content.
- Tweak said aesthetics.
- Put the information that you think is interesting and noteworthy in the letter. Keep it short. Parents are busy.
- Publish the newsletter online.
- Use a url shortener to shorten the crazy url.
- Email the link to parents. Also, while you’re at it, download the thing as a pdf and include that as an attachement in the email as well.
- Repeat on a monthly basis
That’s it. It seems to be working well, two issues in. Of course, given how google docs works, you can just put all letters in a common collection and make that collection publicly viewable. Then put a link to the collection at the end of the letter, and you have created a publicly accessible archive.
Simple, simple, simple.
Update: In my haste, I totally forgot to acknowledge Frank Noschese for a few of the more pertinent crystallizing suggestions that he made when I originally put out a twitter call for suggestions.