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Outreach Committee News: June 2012

The Honey Creek Internal Communications Survey is now complete. The Outreach Committee has begun using the data to make further improvements to the school website and to develop more effective ways of welcoming families of newly admitted students. We received 100 completed online surveys and one hardcopy response. Thank you again to everyone who took time to respond to the survey. The data will be useful for a variety of projects going forward.

It was nice to receive positive feedback about so many things that the school is doing. Respondents commented about improvements to the website and the existing new family welcome efforts. Not surprisingly, there were many glowing comments about the teachers and staff at Honey Creek. In addition to the compliments there were significant constructive criticisms. The suggestions for improvements are already generating discussion about improvements to the way we communicate.

 

Welcoming Newcomers

More than half of the responses were from people who joined the Honey Creek community since 2009 – so their memories of being a newcomer are still fresh. We will continue to experiment with improvements to how we welcome new families to the school. Several newly admitted families attended the STEM Fair and the Curriculum Celebration this spring. An invitation to summer play dates has already gone out to newly admitted families and the PTO leadership is already thinking about ways to improve the newcomers’ experience at the school’s kick-off picnic in late August. One obvious lesson is that any effort current Honey Creek families can make to welcome newcomers makes a big difference.

 

Email Rules!

The survey data confirmed that the vast majority of our internal communication occurs via email. Since 83 percent of survey respondents frequently check their email during the day, this seems to be a good way of staying in touch for most Honey Creek families. However, the survey responses also show that many people feel overwhelmed by the volume of email they receive – and there are still a few families in the Honey Creek community who are not regularly online.

We did a rough count of the number of Honey Creek “all” email messages a family with two students at the school received over the 2011-2012 school year. The average was about 50 messages per month (with another 20 messages that are classroom or grade level related). Some months were much higher. For example, in the month of April, 2012 we exceeded 70 “hccs-all” messages. The Outreach Committee is working together with the administration and the PTO to explore ways for diminishing the volume of general email. Part of the solution may involve helping families to organize and pre-sort the email they receive. Another idea is to provide room parents with orientation to online tools such as “sign-up genius” and “doodle” for use when communicating with parents about volunteer opportunities. In the past, Bill Van Loo has provided some guidelines for use of various school email lists. We will be looking at existing email protocols and exploring what other improvements might help to redirect non-general interest email.

 

Conflict Resolution

Survey respondents provided feedback on communication about the various conflict resolution methods taught at Honey Creek. There is strong interest among families in learning more about conflict resolution techniques as well as a hope to extend the practice of constructive, respectful conflict management into the home as well as the school.

It wouldn’t be possible to summarize here all of the data or the many great suggestions that respondents shared through the survey. The “zoomerang” link below gives access to the data (minus the one hardcopy response) so that anyone can explore the data on their own. Please contact Will Hathaway (hathwill@gmail.com) or any member of the Outreach Committee if you have questions or suggestions for improvements to the school’s communications.

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