Part of running a school is keeping everyone in the community up to date on activities, school-related news, and announcements. One way to do this is to write a School Newsletter.
What is a School Newsletter?
A School Newsletter is a document that can be used to inform parents, students, faculty, and the community of school events, news, and issues. It can be as complex or simple as you want it to be, as long as the information is informative.
Things to Consider When Creating a School Newsletter
How you choose to format a school newsletter is up to you. However, there are some standard things that should be included in the newsletter.
The first step in creating a school newsletter is to set some goals. Here are some questions to think about:
- What do you want to achieve with your newsletter?
- Will it focus on school policies and events?
- How many people will be involved in creating the newsletter?
- How simple or complex do you want the newsletter to be?
- Do you want the newsletter to just reach an audience within the school or in the wider community?
- What will you name the newsletter?
You should also think about how often you want to publish a newsletter. Building a schedule for publication is important if you want to get your newsletters out on time. The frequency and size of the newsletter will depend on how large and active the school is. You may publish a smaller weekly newsletter or a larger one each month.
It’s important to know your target audience when creating a newsletter. It helps you to write articles and give information that has been tailored for them. If you have more than one target audience, you can create sections tailored for each. Your main audiences are generally the students in the community, parents of the students, and other adults within the community, school staff, and the local community.
You next need to consider how you will get the newsletter out to everyone. You have the option of printing it and physically distributing it (through students, staff, and by post), or digitally using email and social media. It can be beneficial to use both methods in order to reach as many people as possible, especially if not everyone is able to receive your newsletter digitally.
Creating Your Newsletter
Now that you’ve outlined the basics, you can get started on creating the school newsletter. Your first step is to have some type of publishing software. You can find a lot of free to use publishing software online or use a pre-installed program from your computer, such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice. If you have more than one person collaborating on the newsletter, be sure the software you use supports this. Google Docs is a good option when you have several people working on a document and can be accessed by everyone involved.
Once you have the software in place, you will need to find a newsletter template to work with. A template allows you to create your newsletter faster and keeps future newsletters looking consistent. Your template should have sections, spaces for images and articles, and spaces that are predefined for titles and headings.
You can download one of our free templates or samples to get an idea of what a School Newsletter should look like.
Once you have the template you want, you can start to customize it. Here are some elements that you may want to add to your school newsletter:
- The name of your school, which should be on the first page at the top
- Footers that have the date, edition, or page numbers
- A school logo for the front page
- Some appealing images or clip-art
- Dedicated pages for specific content
- A basic layout. Most school newsletters have a two-column layout
You have the newsletter looking the way you want it, so it’s time to add some content. Some informative content that you can add to your newsletter is:
- A school calendar that shows upcoming events
- Current school news
- Programs or activities that are upcoming
- School policy changes
- Community-related news
- Scores for school sports teams
- Recognition of students and staff who have achieved something
- Introduction of new staff members
When writing your content, make sure you keep it informative. You can also add some fun things to the newsletter, such as games or puzzles.
Get Others Involved
Taking on the job of creating a school newsletter on your own can feel a bit overwhelming. Getting others on board to contribute, however, can lighten the load, make it more fun, and gives you a pool of people with creative ideas and differing views. You could ask the staff, students, and parents to help pitch in. It can be beneficial for students, giving them a way to express themselves.
Distributing Your Newsletter
We touched on ways to distribute your newsletter earlier. If you are using printed copies of your newsletter, you can have volunteers hand them out. Another idea is to leave the newsletters in an easily accessible place, such as the front door of the school. Newsletters can be sent home with students in order to reach parents. You can also ask your local library or local businesses if they would let you leave some newsletters with them. Mailing newsletters is another way to get them circulated, but this can cost a bit more. It may help to create a subscription list of those who wish to receive the newsletter via post.
Sending your newsletters digitally can be more cost-effective and gives you access to a larger database of readers. Digital newsletters can be sent via email, on your school’s website, via social media, or have a dedicated blog for your newsletters.
Keeping tabs on some details can help you gauge how many people are receiving and reading your newsletter, as well as what information your audience likes. It will help you fine-tune future newsletters. Things to keep track of are:
- The number of paper copies that have been taken. This will help you determine if you need to print more or less in the future.
- Copies of the newsletter that have been taken from various locations. This helps you to determine the best places for distribution.
- The number of views or downloads of digital copies and from where. This helps determine whether people are easily finding your newsletter on the websites you have placed them on.
Lastly, it can be helpful to do some reader surveys to get feedback on your school newsletter. This can help you add content that people would like to see.
How can I track who opens my newsletter?
You can do this using an email or content management service. These can tell you how many people have opened the email/newsletter, how many people have clicked on the newsletter link on a website, and how many people have downloaded a copy.
What is “Social Sharing”
Social sharing means making your newsletter more accessible by having a share link or button that people can use to pass the newsletter on to others. This way, you reach a larger audience.
How many columns should you use in a newsletter?
Most school newsletters will use a basic two-column layout. You can add as many columns as you like, but don’t make the newsletter look too cluttered or unorganized.