The secret to any happy and healthy long-term relationship is communication. While this may sound like marital advice, it’s also true for your parent-teacher group. PTAs, PTOs, and Booster Clubs succeed by organizing and applying the efforts of parents to better the educational experience for the students. Regular communication with your group’s parents is vital to ensuring your parents know what’s going on and how they can help out. A parent-teacher newsletter is one of the best ways to share information quickly and easily with your group.
Newsletters are a great way of communicating with your parents. They help keep parents informed throughout the year without sending individual emails or making separate calls to everyone on your member list. A parent-teacher newsletter is a great way of sharing valuable information with parents – from reminders about upcoming school events and calls for volunteers to sharing little life hacks and parent tips.
In this article, we’ll help you with the fundamentals of creating a parent-teacher newsletter for your group. From the essential elements that go into it to tips for making your newsletter engaging and something parents are sure to read!
Parent-teacher Newsletter Elements
The first step to creating a parent-teacher newsletter parents want to read is understanding the elements that comprise a newsletter email.
1. Subject Line
Your newsletter’s subject line is the first point of contact readers have with your email. You may be tempted to try and be cute or clever with your subject line, but a short and clear subject line often gets more people to open your newsletter and check out the contents. A simple subject line like “Moordale Dance Boosters: Important Semester-End Update” should do the trick.
Clear subject lines are important because if they don’t communicate precisely the content of your newsletter and why it requires the reader’s attention, many parents may not open it. And that’s a problem because no matter how great your parent-teacher newsletter content and design is, it will be for naught if your group members don’t open the email.
Announcements about upcoming events and important dates need to be featured in a way that makes it easy for your parents to find and read the information. You may want to put your announcements at the beginning of your parent-teacher newsletter or in a sidebar that’s easy to find while skimming through the newsletter.
Consistency is your best friend. Try to keep your important announcements in the same location in every newsletter, wherever you decide to put them. That way, your parents can always find your group’s announcements with ease.
One key tip to creating a great parent-teacher newsletter for your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club is to make sure it’s actionable. That means providing direction for your parents so they know what they should do after reading the newsletter, how to do it, and the deadline for doing it.
Consider including a section about upcoming To-Dos for your members that answers the 6Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why, hoW).
Did you mention something during a previous parent-teacher newsletter or meeting that your parents need to be aware of? Include reminders for information that’s not new (announcement) and maybe isn’t actionable (to-do). An example would be including a reminder about an upcoming early dismissal day or the increased chance of rain on the next game day.
5. Congratulations/Thank Yous
It’s essential to make sure the faculty, administrators, and parents you work with receive acknowledgment for their hard work. A little effort to highlight the people in and around your parent-teacher group helps boost everyone’s spirits and feel appreciated. Consider adding a small section in your parent-teacher newsletter to highlight those that go above and beyond. A don’t worry, you don’t need to include one in every newsletter!
6. Message from the President
If your parent-teacher group is large, many members may not get much face-to-face communication with your president or other board members. Including a section where the members can add their two cents is an excellent way to make all your members feel like they know and understand the group members in your elected positions.
This section can also be put together with your congratulations and thank yous, so people get a nice shout-out from the people who run the show!
7. Contact Info
Whether it’s something in your parent-teacher newsletter that is a little confusing or your members just need to get in contact with your group, including contact information in your newsletter is always a good idea. It’s good practice to assign one of the members of your group as the point of contact for your parent-teacher newsletter so questions can be answered easily.
Tips for Making Your Parent-teacher Newsletter a Success
Now that we have the basic elements covered, let’s go over some quick and actionable tips to help make your parent-teacher newsletter something your parents want to open! Key to that idea is creating a newsletter that genuinely engages your parents and isn’t just recycled content from your last PTA, PTO, or Booster Club meeting.
Tip #1: Plan Parent-teacher Newsletter Content Before You Make It
Ask yourself what information your readers need to know. Better yet: what do you want them to do after they have read the newsletter?
Only include information that would be useful to your readers. One big reason a parent-teacher newsletter might go unread is that it is deemed too wordy. Parents don’t have time to sit around and sift through long paragraphs of text that provide them with very little real value.
None of your group members will be upset with a short parent-teacher newsletter. Instead of including topics for future months, stick to what your parents need to know right now. That way, you can focus on making the limited things you do include worth reading!
#2: Don’t Bury the Lede
It is vital to put the most crucial or pressing issue for your parent-teacher group right at the top of your newsletter. It could be important dates or a reminder to sign up for the remaining volunteer slots for next weekend. Your readers expect the most critical items of your newsletter to be towards the top. If you place crucial info at the end of your newsletter, you increase the chance readers will miss it.
#3: Be Concise
Keeping in line with what we said earlier, be clear, concise, and to the point. In the middle of juggling full-time jobs with the 24/7 responsibility of being a parent, nobody has the time to read blocks and blocks of text and then try and figure out the significant bits. Say everything you need to say, and then stop. Don’t try to make the parent-teacher newsletter witty or longer by adding in filler content. The number one job of your parent-teacher newsletter is to provide your readers information, news! So make that as easy as possible for them. Chances are people will be more upset about overly long newsletters than short ones.
Incorporating sidebars, lists, and bullet points are good ways of sticking to the point and making your newsletter easy to read. Lists are easy to skim without sacrificing the quality of the info you are trying to communicate. Remember, the goal is to get the information across in a fast, easy, and convenient way for the reader.
#4: Direct Readers to Act
It is important to tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. Take the example of an upcoming field trip, for instance. You need signed consent forms, chaperones, and details for child drop off and pick up for parents. Let parents know where they can get the form and submit it, where and when they need to drop off their child, and if they need money for snacks, entrance fees, or maybe a souvenir.
Make sure your 6W (Who, What, When, Where, Why, hoW) information is clear, and you have a contact person parents can reach out to with more questions.
#5: Make Your Parent-teacher Newsletter Visually Appealing
If you were given the choice between sifting through a boring document with a few big paragraphs and reading a magazine spread where text and images work in harmony to communicate something, which one would you choose? Chances are, the latter. The second option entices and engages the reader, while a wall of text might require more concentration to get through.
By incorporating images, laying out your newsletter properly, and using fonts that are easy to read, you can make your parent-teacher newsletter more readable. Try and use your school’s colors throughout the newsletter to instill a sense of camaraderie and togetherness.
The easiest way to make your newsletter visually appealing is by searching through one of the many free newsletter templates available on the internet for your email service. Having a few go-to templates for your newsletter will ensure it’s appealing to look at while still being instantly recognizable as one of your parent-teacher newsletters.
#6: Make it Easy to Read
Besides being concise, which we discussed a few points above, making sure your newsletter is easy to read is also essential. Use easy-to-understand fonts, for instance. Don’t make reading your newsletter a task.
If you’re in doubt, always go for a simple, minimal, and spaced-out design over a bold, crowded one. Break your newsletter down into different sections to make it easy for your readers to find the information they’re seeking.
It’s also important to use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation along with easy-to-understand language. Try and avoid filling your writing with overcomplicated words and acronyms other parents may not be familiar with. We want parent-teacher newsletters to be clear and concise, not difficult or frustrating to read.
#7: Don’t Overdo It
One sure-shot way of making sure your parents stop reading your newsletters is to send out too many of them.
Parent-teacher newsletters sent out once or twice a month work the best. Timing is also very important. Send out your newsletters around the same day and time (such as every first Monday of the month at noon), so parents know when to expect your newsletter.
#8 Cover Your Parent-teacher Newsletter with AIM
Parent-teacher newsletters are a great way of keeping your parents up-to-date. But, sometimes communication isn’t always clear or received in the way you intend. That’s why AIM offers directors & officers liability coverage for your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club. This coverage helps protect your parent-teacher newsletter and group against “wrongful acts” lawsuits.
Wrongful acts include mismanagement, misrepresentation, dissemination of false or misleading information, discrimination, or inappropriate acts. An accident in your parent-teacher newsletter, typo, or incorrect information could, unfortunately, lead to a lawsuit. AIM offers affordable director and office coverage up to $1,000,000 with a $0 deductible.
Use these helpful tips and tricks to start a new parent-teacher newsletter for your group or upgrade your existing newsletter to make it a valuable and efficient way to keep all your parent members in sync and up to date!