Streamlined communication channels are central to successful operations at Withrow University HS in the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) district. Withrow is one the most diverse schools in the CPS district. Withrow parents completing the Possip Pulse Check have filled it out in 13 different languages– ranging from Chinese to Urdu to Punjabi.
We recently spoke to Withrow’s FamiliesFORWARD Resource Coordinator, Nichelle Bolden, about their communication strategy, use of Possip, and how the blending of the two strengthens their school and community.
Withrow’s Communication Channels
It’s very important to the Withrow administrative team that they have the ability to reach their families in their native languages. They communicate through SMORE newsletters assigned to each grade level and available in 100+ languages. They also use email blasts, and a Facebook page to create multiple channels for parents to receive updates and connect with each other.
The glue that supports every communication effort, according to Nichelle, is “Streamlined communication and consistent follow up. Consistency builds expectations. When folks know they can depend on you to get the information [they need], that’s a good thing.”
Withrow and Possip
Nichelle and the Withrow administrative team see Possip as another medium to strengthen communication between Withrow and their parent community. Possip, which sends Pulse Checks in 100+ languages, enables the administration to hear from a diverse set of parents.
Like many other Possip partners, Withrow’s report reading team reviews Pulse Check Reports and delegates follow up in order to meet parent needs.
They also intentionally share parent praise with their team. “Sharing out praise in staff meetings, and pasting praises into staff emails encourages them and boosts morale,” said Nichelle.
Withrow also uses Possip Bonus Questions (BQs) to ask their parent body specific questions and to share important updates. For example, they’ve sent two “BQ Only” Pulse Checks letting parents know about academic nights and virtual parent teacher conferences. BQ Only Pulse Checks enable Withrow to spread the word and strengthen communication to families through yet another convenient channel. Withrow has experienced success informing parents on important events through BQ Only Pulse Checks, and we encourage other Possip partners to give BQ only Pulse Checks a try too!
Withrow is strengthening its communication efforts, testing out additional Possip BQs, and growing its parent Facebook community.
“If you don’t have streamlined, consistent, and correct communication, things can go awry. When you’re dealing with children’s lives and families [especially during this time] it’s necessary to have this kind of communication,” said Nichelle.
No matter what, Withrow wants to ensure that parents and families have the correct information. They also want them to feel empowered to share their praises and needs with them.
“Parents have different outlets to hear what’s going on and different means to reach Withrow. Whatever is the most effective and efficient way to get the message or share the message with our community, we’re going to take that route,” said Nichelle.
Special thanks to Nichelle for the interview!