Did you know emails with the word ‘welcome’ have a significantly higher open rate than all other emails? True story!

This means the back-to-school Welcome Letters to families and to the team are some of the most important communications that principals (and superintendents) send all year. So, now that we know we’ve got a more captive audience for this annual rite, how can we make the most of it? 

Here are three suggestions: information, inspiration, and illumination.

1. Information, Always at the Top

85% of people read their email via mobile phones

Another useful email stat is about reading habits. Now that 85% of people (and rising) read their email via their mobile phones, it’s fair to say that most people would fail an email reading comprehension test. Not because it’s hard, but because we’ve become so accustomed to skimming. When your team and your families receive that Welcome Back email, what’s the most important piece of information for them to receive? Likely, when they need to be there and what they need to bring. Lead with that!

And while you’re at it, give it a clear header to attract the notice of skimming eyes.

2. Keep Folks Inspired

Back-to-school is a bittersweet time of year. On the one hand, there’s a great deal of excitement and anticipation. Students are looking forward to seeing friends and returning to their activities, teachers are excited to see colleagues and meet their students, and families are thrilled to have their kids out of the house and off TikTok. On the other hand, nearly 60% of moms report back-to-school as their most stressful time of year. More even than the holidays! Students also have a great deal of anxiety about returning, particularly those who have historically struggled with attendance. And teachers, well, no need to spell it out!

One way to combat the creeping anxiety is with inspiration. How you choose to inspire could take many forms. Could be a series of inspiring quotes, could be stories, could be a motivational Spotify playlist. You could offer up a challenge with a fun reward (ice cream party?) or launch a new fun feature for your regular communications that folks look forward to.

Whatever you choose should match your style and school mission–and get folks psyched!

3. Lastly, Illumination

(aka an alliterative way of saying “resources”)

Everyone appreciates a helpful resource. Whether it’s a blog post on getting kids back into a school-appropriate sleep routine, or a link to an article on building strong school-home relationships. Educators and families manage a lot of responsibility, and sharing a helpful resource says you see them and stand ready to help.

SchoolStatus Connect Essential Tier has a big variety of school newsletter templates principals can duplicate, personalize, and share in a snap. Because the newsletters are digital, there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll reach readers. Plus, translation features means reaching all families and caregivers in any of 120+ home languages.

Happy back-to-school! 

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Dr. Kara Stern

Director, Education and Engagement

Dr. Kara Stern began her career as an ELA teacher, then shifted into administration as a middle school principal. Dr. Stern is a fervent advocate for equitable communication and family engagement. She spent five years as Executive Director at Math for America, where she designed the professional learning community that exists to this day. An unexpected move to Tel Aviv launched her into the world of EdTech where she became the Director of Education Content for Smore and then the Head of Content at SchoolStatus. Outside of work, she indulges her love for reading, devouring two novels weekly, with a particular fondness for heists and spy stories.
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