COVID-19 School Communications Toolkit

This toolkit outlines insights from Brooklyn LAB's school community, from inspiring educators from across the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA), and from around the country to create a resource that establishes norms for the communication school communities deserve. 

Educators, students, and families have made tremendous sacrifices and done an incredible job during this extraordinary year. However, schools throughout the country, including Brooklyn LAB, have still fallen short on promises to communicate effectively about and with our communities on issues from the COVID-19 pandemic to the ongoing fight against racism.

 

To address this challenge, Brooklyn LAB partnered with McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy, to seek guidance from communications experts, child development experts, learning science specialists, school leaders, teachers, and school community members from the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA) to find out what matters, what works, and what doesn’t work in school communications. 

 

We received input from over 50 individuals from over 25 organizations in the form of video interviews, phone calls, and written responses. Together, we created a toolkit organized around five core principles that represent the communications our school communities deserve. We have also outlined dozens for ways school leaders and educators can put these principles into practice to transform how they communicate with their communities. This guide includes practical recommendations you can apply now to communicate better during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ways to use communications to address ongoing, deeply ingrained systemic challenges like racism and able-ism. Together, these principles and practices will help you establish new norms and a school culture centered around equity so that every student at your school can learn and thrive.

 

As we move toward 2021, we will continue to adapt our communication with school communities to the demands of COVID-19, while clarifying and responding to the needs of individual students and their families. Our school community, and our country, deserve the chance to turn over a new leaf and begin a new approach to communication during the pandemic. We invite you to join us and we hope you’ll find the toolkit useful in this effort. 

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An Iterative Design Project of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools