So, I made a Parent Newsletter

My boss suggested that I collect parent emails and use them to communicate more directly with parents.  This was a good suggestion.  I have all of my student’s emails, but I don’t tend to communicate with their parents (I almost never need to call home on my particular collection of learners).  

Suggestion in hand, I decided that I would go him one better, and create a parent newsletter that I could email to parents on a monthly basis.  My sensibilities are such that the notion of a newsletter is not one that intuitively makes a lot of sense to me.  At the same time, things have gotten to the point that publishing a newsletter is simple sauce with the tools that are available. 

Here’s my process:

  1. Using Google Docs, pick a newsletter template that you don’t hate.  Remember that just like buying a house, you’re only interested in the bones of the thing, as you are going to tweak the aesthetics until you are content.
  2. Tweak said aesthetics.
  3. Put the information that you think is interesting and noteworthy in the letter.  Keep it short.  Parents are busy.
  4. Publish the newsletter online.
  5. Use a url shortener to shorten the crazy url.
  6. Email the link to parents.  Also, while you’re at it, download the thing as a pdf and include that as an attachement in the email as well.
  7. Repeat on a monthly basis

That’s it.  It seems to be working well, two issues in.  Of course, given how google docs works, you can just put all letters in a common collection and make that collection publicly viewable.  Then put a link to the collection at the end of the letter, and you have created a publicly accessible archive.  

Simple, simple, simple.

Update:  In my haste, I totally forgot to acknowledge Frank Noschese for a few of the more pertinent crystallizing suggestions that he made when I originally put out a twitter call for suggestions.