A school newsletter is an effective means of communication between teachers, staff, the PTA and parents. The volunteer who writes a school newsletter must keep up with school events, student performances, teacher information, as well as any other items of interest to the school.
Choose a template for the newsletter. MS Word has simple newsletter templates. For longer or more complex newsletters, MS Publisher has a large variety. See Resources below for more template options.
Know your budget. The PTA usually has a budget specifically for the school newsletter. If your budget is very small, find out if the school will allow copies to be made on their copier (and who is expected to provide the paper).
Decide how often to print the newsletter. Some schools need only a quarterly newsletter reporting information regarding report card release and after school activities. Others find a bi-monthly or monthly newsletter to be useful.
Personalize the template you choose for the school. Include a catchy name, the issue and volume number and the date. The volume number will change with each school year, but the issue number will change with each new issue of the newsletter (for example, the newsletter’s first issue in its second school year will be Volume 2, Issue 1).
Use clip art and color. People’s eyes are drawn to pictures and colors. Try to find clip art for at least one article per page. Microsoft’s website provides downloadable clip art for users (see Resources below).
Send out emails or fliers to staff, teachers and parents to let them know when the newsletters will be distributed and when they need to submit articles for the newsletter. You need a deadline that gives you enough time to do the newsletter’s layout, have the newsletter edited, and have the newsletter copied and distributed. Unless the newsletter is complicated, a week should be sufficient time.
Ask for help. You should not expect to write every article yourself, but instead should consider yourself the newsletter designer and editor. You are in charge of collecting articles, putting them in the newsletter template in a readable design, and making the newsletter interesting. Ask volunteers for help with editing for grammatical mistakes and with distribution.
- Keep your newsletter up-to-date and send it out on time. If parents feel that the newsletter only contains “old news” with out-of-date information, they will not read it.
- Keep your newsletters entertaining. Make a section for the students with word games or activities. Include pictures from school functions or a teacher interview. The more interactive the newsletter, the more likely parents will read it.
- If printing in color is too expensive for the budget you are given, consider uploading the newsletter to a school website in color, then printing in black and white.
- If you choose to upload the newsletter to a school website, remember that the information may be searchable by the public. Many parents do not want student information available online.