Growing up, I loved getting ready for the first day of school - the new shoes, clothes and backpack. Not to mention all the crisp new folders, fresh pencil cases and perfect notebooks with unbent pages. I just could not get enough of it from the planning to the packing to the walking up the front steps. Ah, there’s nothing like the first day of school!
As school leaders and communicators, I can’t help but feel like we are lucky - we get to have extra first days of school! It’s important that the novelty of the moment doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of the to-do lists and meeting requests.
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you’re capturing the magic of the day and making sure each student, parent, teacher, alumni, board and community member can join in the fun!
- Show Up! This is number one (and spoiler alert: also the last item on the checklist) because it is the single most important thing you can do! Be part of the magic, be present, smile, wave, shake hands, meet students, take pictures and spend as much time as you possibly can in the buildings.
- Create a First Day of School Hashtag! Hashtags are an important way to gather content together on social media. Share it with your families and staff members before the first day and encourage them to use it on their posts. You can also encourage alumni to share their first day of school memories with the hashtag or in the comment section of a post on your page. (Pro Tip: Read “(Hash)tag, You’re It” by Sara Smith, Director of Social Media Strategy)
- Set the Tone! You have an opportunity to set the tone for your school year each year on the first day of school. Consider sharing a welcome message from you, the Superintendent, to your staff and students. You can include your board president or other key community partners, too. Set goals and share your vision for the year with a celebratory, upbeat tone.
- Show Up! Again - this is the most important thing you can do. Be there to participate in and capture the moment. Remember: Each year it is the very first first day of school for a new bunch of Kindergarteners, the last first day for your incoming class of seniors and a day that many have carefully laid out their clothes and meticulously packed their bags to enjoy.
These steps may seem simple but it goes a long way to building relationships that you will rely upon for the rest of the year. We have all learned that we cannot predict what will happen each year but the truth is, these keys will prepare you for school communication success no matter what is coming.
When in doubt, lean on these pillars: Be visible; share positive news and invite your community to interact with your school district; set a positive, district-wide tone; and show up as the leader you are!
Interested in learning more about how the Allerton Hill Communications team can help you with this transition? Contact us today.