School superintendents have the critical job of representing the interests of their community and their schools. While teachers and school board members are aware of what superintendents do, the average parent may not realize just how helpful a superintendent can meet their child’s needs. Here are some tips that can help improve communication between superintendents and the parents in their community.
Be Willing to Work at Unconventional Hours
For many parents, the most significant thing barring them from communicating is finding the time. When parents have to work multiple jobs, they may not be available to chat with a superintendent during regular business hours. Therefore, superintendents are encouraged to operate during unconventional office hours. Having office hours in the evening or on weekends allows superintendents to hear from those who are otherwise unavailable.
Listen to Parents Instead of Making Speeches
Many superintendents mostly see parents as an audience they address in occasional speeches. This is great for getting the superintendent’s viewpoint to the parents, but superintendents need to remember that communication is a two-way avenue. They need to encourage parents to speak up and listen when parents talk. Some ways of hearing from parents can include hosting Q&A sessions, walking around at school pickup and drop off, or creating a social media page to engage with the community.
Work with Multiple Avenues of Communication
Superintendents need to be flexible enough to communicate in multiple ways. Many superintendents are finding it helpful to use social media to share school accomplishments, highlight teachers, and talk with parents. However, they need to keep in mind that some parents are not comfortable using social media. Therefore, it is still necessary to send out email updates, letters with school district news, and even make personal phone calls.
Provide Personalized Solutions
Parents want to feel like they are truly being heard and understood, so superintendents must know that there is no “one size fits all” solution to addressing parent concerns or complaints. Instead, it is necessary to recognize that parents often have a lot of insight into their children’s needs. Working with parents and finding individualized ways to address a class or student’s needs ensures that parents feel truly supported by their superintendent.