Gail Godwin said, "Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater". While this might be true, many teachers know that that one-fourth preparation can stretch into the wee hours of the morning, especially if you're a first time teacher and wear many hats! Trying to keep students, teachers and parents informed about what's going with the school, club or team you're coaching can be a challenge. Newsletters, with a little bit of prep, can be a fun and efficient way to get the word out without having to send a zillion emails and make dozens of phone calls.
Printed (or emailed -- if you want to be more environmentally-friendly) newsletters are a wonderful way to keep students, teachers and parents up to date with what's going on with your school. Upcoming important dates and events like projects, science fairs, field trips, the school play, fundraisers, student workshops, after school activities and games all provide perfect fodder for this section.
A news section can be used to highlight special achievements by students both in and outside of school. Humorous incidents, new employees and staff, birthdays and anniversaries can all be used to build community and engage people. Staff interviews, particularly when they've been on board for a while can be quite entertaining. Mrs. Katz celebrating 40 years as the leading lady in the cafeteria? Recognize her! Interview her. Ask her what the school was like 40 years ago and what they used to serve for lunch back then.
Highlighted call outs can also be used to recognize students and their work like special art projects, poems and stories. Whenever possible, try to scan the actual written work - there's something very charming about seeing a poem that's written in a second grader's own handwriting!
One of the most important aspects of good newsletters - pictures! Even if they aren't taken with a fancy shmancy digital SLR camera and they are quick shots you got on your camera phone, insert them in! A picture, as they say, is a thousand words and a not so great picture is better than no picture at all.
Finally, to pull all your news and events together, create a template using whatever software you have on your computer or find some free templates online. Jazz them up by adding your school mascot, crest and using your school colors to make them your own. Save this so you can reuse it each time and just change up elements to match the months, seasons or special holidays like Valentines Day or Thanksgiving. Soon, you'll be a newsletter pro!