Ah, summertime! It’s finally almost upon us – that long-awaited time of year when parents, kids, and teachers alike can kick back and relax a bit.
But wait a minute: Out of sight can be out of mind, and you don’t want to be totally out of touch with the families at your school for the entire summer break. For one thing, it makes re-entry that much harder in the fall. And for another thing, summer is a prime time to build engagement and connectedness within your school community precisely because schedules are looser.
Here are 8 low-key, low-stress ways to stay in touch with the parents at your school over the summer break – without sucking up too much of their time, or yours.
1. Schedule an event or two. The key here is fun and low-stress. A beach BBQ, perhaps, or maybe a BYO picnic on one of your school’s sports fields. Fun family events like this are a great way to reinforce a sense of school community even when classes are out.
2. Send out an e-newsletter. This doesn’t have to be anything time-consuming or professionally formatted. Even a folksy email delivered once a month over the summer – maybe with some fun news and announcements parents and kids need to know about – will keep the lines of communication open.
3. Post fun photos. Nothing says summer like a silly photo of the school principal wearing goofy sunglasses, or of some classmates building a sand castle on the beach together. Secure sites like MemberHub make it easy to share these moments with the rest of the school community.
4. Start a summertime book club. These can be for kids, parents, or both – all you need is a short book list and a few folks willing to host the group once or twice during the summer.
5. Provide opportunities for collaboration. If your school, like many, assigns reading or other projects over the summer, set up online discussion forums for kids and teachers to exchange ideas. Something as simple as a once-a-week check-in can keep kids on track and excited to return to full-time learning in the fall. Again, MemberHub provides easy-to-use Discussion forums to help you manage this.
6. Set up a fun fundraiser. Summer is not the ideal time for a big gala event, or time- and labor-intensive projects of any kind. However, summer-themed activities (like a car wash held at a local business) can be a lot of fun for kids and not too difficult to set up – and any money you raise is just that much less you need to worry about once the school year gets back in full swing.
7. Update your blog. If your school maintains a blog on its website, don’t let it gather tumbleweeds over the summer. You don’t need to post every day, by any stretch, but try to keep up a normal publication schedule, even if your posts are shorter and less formal than they are during the school year. Summer is a prime time for families new to your school to be checking out your website and other materials, so you want to keep them engaged and excited with fresh info.
8. Think snail mail. In an era where more and more of our communications are moving online, hard-copy mail gets noticed and remembered. A single mailing to your school community over the summer – even if it’s just a “can’t wait to see you all back here in the fall!” postcard – can be a worthwhile investment in your school’s community-building efforts.