Checking for Equity: Making Sure Classroom Communications Reach Home

💻 Busy? Here's the TL;DR

To ensure maximum readability, run your newsletter through an equity checklist:

  1. Check for clarity: headers, bullets, alt text, clear subject lines
  2. Check for translatability: show how to & add translatable copy for flyers
  3. Check for mobility: test its readability on mobile & post it everywhere.
  4. Check for connectivity: create a sense of the personal & add contact info

The purpose of a classroom newsletter is to keep all home adults informed, right?

We always check for understanding with students. Applying our know-how to classroom newsletters means taking steps to ensure all parents and caregivers can to access the information they need to help their learners succeed. 

That's why a simple check for equity is so valuable. 

Equity vs. equality

The difference between equity and equality is like the difference between an accessible building entrance and an entrance with steps only. Without a ramp, everyone has the same door to enter. But, for some, reaching that door poses real challenges. Adding a ramp means folks with mobility challenges can enter the building as easily, independently, and confidently as folks without. The ramp says: you're wanted. Your presence is valued here.

Here's a different visual:

Image Credit: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire


Checking for clarity.

As you scan your update for clarity, here's what you should look for:

  1. Headers ✅
  2. Bullets & numbered lists ✅
  3. Alt text with every image ✅
  4. Subject line guideposts ✅
By guideposts, I mean calling out key items as a head’s up. For example, "Need to Know Info for Monday's Field Trip" vs. "4th Grade News." If you want to learn more about how to write clear subject lines, check out this blog post on writing effective headlines.


Checking for translatability.

Did you know one in five K-12 students speaks a different language at home?

By 2025, it will be 1 in 4. So, it stands to reason schools should be sending translatable communications. Operating from the assumption that your school newsletter is translatable, here are two other important steps you need to take:

  1. Include directions for how to access the translation tool
  2. Include explanatory text along with flyers, since those aren't translatable

screen grab of how to translate a newsletter

If there are segments of your class newsletter that don't translate, only some of the information is making it home.

Checking for mobility.

Is your update:

  1. Posted everywhere your readers are?
  2. Easy to read on mobile? 

If you’re reading this and nodding yes to #2, how do you know? Did you send yourself a test email and read it on your phone? If not, go ahead and try it - it’s pretty illuminating. If you see long blocks of text, I guarantee you will switch into skim mode. it's not easy to read blocks of text on mobile... Just look at this example 👇🏽

side by side screen shots of a block of text vs text broken up by bullet points and headers

These days, 85% of folks access email on their cell phones. The fact is, if you're not explicitly writing for a palm-sized medium, you're putting blockers in your readers' way.

Checking for connectivity.

This last one is a little more subjective. 

Checking for connectivity means questioning how you're creating a sense of the personal in your classroom newsletter. Asking yourself: "What in my update shows families I know & care for my students?" Or: "In what ways do I bring families into my classroom?" And more concretely, do you offer your readers multiple options for how to connect with you?

If you checked all the boxes on the equity checklist, way to go! If you need a template, you can get started here 👇🏽

February weekly class newsletter template



What You Should Do Now

  1. Request a Demo and see how SchoolStatus can help your district meet its specific goals.
  2. Read more free material about education technology topics in our blog.
  3. If you know someone who’d enjoy this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

Thanks for reading! Here are more resources to support students and educators

  1. Request a Demo and see how SchoolStatus can help your school and district
  2. Check out more information on education technology on our blog
  3. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for more great insights

Interested in more articles like these?

Sign up to get our latest articles sent directly to your inbox.

Your privacy is our policy. We will not share your email with any third party.