Tips & Templates
We’re in the midst of massive uncertainty. We’re reinventing the way we do everything. Communities are energized and paying attention like never before. Take a deep breath — let’s do this together.
Good communication takes effort. It’s important to take time to do it well because how you communicate builds or breaks trust.
People don’t expect you to be perfect. They expect you to care. That message should come across every time you communicate, no matter what tool you use.
Always lead with a message of empathy and what connects us as humans. Begin with a statement of values, purpose, priorities, or intent.
Keep the message short & simple. It’s more challenging than it sounds, but aim for a reading level of Grade 8. We know your audience is smart, but they’re busy. Don’t make them work too hard to understand what you’re saying.
In a high-stress environment, you’ll want to include the following information, basically in this order. Tell your audience:
- What you know now.
- What you don’t know yet.
- How you will find out more.
- When to expect an update.
Then stick to your commitment.
Take the time to plan (see the communications planning templates on this page). Planning helps you know where you’re going, why, how, and whether or not you got there — or have more work to do.
Be inclusive. If you’re creating materials for families, translate them and make them ADA-accessible. Your educational service district can help with that.
- Building Signs
- Communications Plan Template
- Communications Tactics Tracker
- Communications Timeline
- King County Schools COVID-19 Response Toolkit: Guidance for K-12 public and private school and district staff
- Decision Tree for In-Person Learning
- Reopening letters: Family | Staff
- Surveys: Family | Staff
- Website language
Capital Region ESD 113 hosted a free six-part “Reopening Schools” webinar series in June. (Recordings are available.) Topics included:
- General planning and considerations
- Communications and needs assessment
- Educational technology and distance learning
- Trauma-informed practices
- Health and wellness
- Business and operations