As school communicators, we work hard to ensure our parents and guardians receive accurate and timely information. This was never made more apparent than during the challenging period presented by the pandemic. Parents – and everyone – in our school community became more acutely in need of district and school messages, urgent and general school info. At Hudsonville Public Schools, which serves approximately 6,800 students, we recently took a big step to determine how parents want to receive their school information.
Essentially, our parent engagement success revolves entirely around constantly improving school communications, so we want to ensure that what gets sent and published gets delivered, read, and responded to, when required.
Working with school communications provider Campus Suite, we put together a short survey to assess the preferred delivery method to get a better snapshot of how best to communicate.
With just a few simple questions, we learned a great deal about our digital communications and how parents prefer to receive school communications.
- We discovered that the preferred method to receive urgent or emergency information was by text message, which would then get followed up by an email with more detailed information.
- For general non-urgent information, the survey revealed that an email was best, but many parents still like email backup.
- Lastly, we wanted to learn if parents would value receiving district and school messages across multiple channels, and 75 percent said yes.
You can view the questions and full results here. As we move forward with our communications, we will follow the preferences indicated by our parents and guardians.
It’s probably a good time to conduct a parent communications preferences survey of your own. It needs to be brief, easy to fill out and create. While I’d expect that your results will closely mirror what we found out, you can get a precise picture of how parents in your district prefer to communicate. The results will help guide how you deliver messages now and going forward.
Looking ahead, we realize that engagement options will evolve, and we will continue to explore ways to engage our parents and the community. How our school district responds to shifting how we communicate is the challenge facing us all.
From the 2022 Parent Communication Preference Survey
Hudsonville Public Schools
*HPS = Hudsonville Public Schools, Parent Communication Preferences Survey 2022
Rebecca Fabiano is a veteran communications specialist for Hudsonville Public Schools, a 7,000-student district in Michigan. She is always looking for new and effective ways to engage district families and community members. She loves to share school communication ideas.