October 24, 2017
Whether your 21st CCLC program is new or well-established, new students, families and teachers arrive every year. Refresh your messaging often to catch attention. Every spring, summer and fall, reach out with a message that pops and bring in new students, families, volunteers and partners.
Tip 1. Target messages to each audience. Each group has a different perspective, and wants you to address its concerns. Once you have identified the students who meet your admission criteria, create invitations and messages that will appeal to them and other stakeholders
- Students want to have fun while they learn outside of school. They want activities that respond to their interests and look different from the school day.
- Families want their children to continue learning, do their homework and enjoy social interactions.
- Teachers want their students to get targeted support and make connections between academics and everyday life.
- Community members want young people to engage with local activities and issues in productive ways. And, they want to know how they can support better educational outcomes.
Tip 2. Deliver your messages through multiple and appropriate channels. Do quick surveys of stakeholder groups to find out which method each prefers.
- Print media, such as newspaper stories and flyers, can help you reach families and the community. Use languages other than English, so you touch everyone.
- Broadcast media, such as television and radio, also reach community and family members. Be sure to invite foreign language outlets to learn about your program.
- Be active online. Keep your website up to date, and be smart about using Facebook, Twitter and other social media to promote program enrollment deadlines and special events. Remember to protect student privacy, and check with the school or district about getting release forms before posting photos or videos that show students.
- Get into the community. Set up information tables or displays at street fairs, and outside grocery stores or at farmers markets. Visit families in their homes or at gathering places such as churches and cultural festivals.
Tip 3. Live the messages every day. The positive environment you create will keep students coming and encourage family engagement!
- Offer professional learning events for staff and partners to help them support positive youth development adult-child relationship building, student voice and choice, and 21st century skill development.
- Welcome family and community members to your advisory board and program planning team, and hold special events that bring everyone to the program to celebrate student learning and accomplishments.
- Hold special celebrations that bring everyone to the program to witness student learning and accomplishments.
Remember, although everything here comes from the Summer Learning course, it also applies to school-year programs.
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