I am not sure how it happened, exactly, that I became the best newsletter writer and editor on the face of the earth. Maybe it just comes naturally to me, just as the delicate colors and perspectives came so naturally to Peter Paul Rubens.
Regardless of how or when it happened, the fact remains that I have been writing informative, challenging, relevant and inspiring newsletters for a good +decade by now. I have received rave reviews on my own writing in the newsletters (“it is so funny and fantastic to read! I love reading your articles!” I am paraphrasing, of course), as well as the open communication of information I include within the pages.
Newsletters have been a crucial and integral part of bonding and binding communities for centuries.
According to CybrarianOutpost:
“Research shows that the first newsletter appeared in 1538, long before newspapers became the standard medium for news stories. One of the first known newsletters was distributed in England in 1631 featuring happenings of locals overseas. In 1704, the Boston News-letter made its appearance in the US and eventually became a newspaper. Many other newsletters flourished in the 1700’s and also followed suit by becoming newspapers.”
When we first joined the homeschool education partnership we have grown to love beyond words, I noticed large holes in communication between parents and teachers. While there was oodles of information being handed out to parents at the beginning of the year, what was missing was the personal element. What were the teachers’ goals for the month? What were the students’ projects? What were the upcoming events to which to look forward? What are the short biographies of our incredible teachers? What field trips were we planning? Is it National Book Reading Month? What more can we do with our kids to facilitate the joy of reading in our homes?
And on and on…useful, relevant, important communication.
So, as of October 1st, we have had a monthly newsletter to speak for our community.
Today, I printed our penultimate newsletter for the year.
It was beautiful. Spring colors. Vibrant images to catch the eye. Personal feedback from every teacher and every classroom. And a recipe for Asian Noodle Salad….listen, I love the recipe section of my newsletter, and it will always be there.
So, this morning after I dropped one child off to finish their state testing, and two other kids off to their morning reading class, and two more into our private library on campus to work with spelling games together, I scurried off to the office to print the magnificence that is my newsletter.
It is 10 pages, front to back, and I have been writing, editing, scrapping, rewriting and final editing it until I had to force myself, this morning, to accept the final version. Within its pages I had information on our new superintendent, the process we went through to present the homeschool education partnership as a vibrant voice in our educational community, along with other information about next year’s curriculum on which our teachers and Principal have been working tirelessly.
As I was standing in front of the printer in the front office, as I have done every month all year, a person of the school came in to inspect my printing project.
It was the same reaction a shepherd would have to a foreign shepherd using their well to water their flock. A look of concern and protective indignation crossed her face, as she stood fidgeting in front of this community printer.
“Is this going to take long?” she asked.
“I am about halfway done, so it shouldn’t be much longer.”
“This is too much printing. Maybe next year you could do it online, because the parents don’t read it anyway, so this is a waste of paper.”
…she said quickly and with great chutzpah.
A waste of paper.
Let me explain something, sweetcheeks.
If the administration communicated with the parents, at all, regarding dramatic changes that are scaring families and dividing the community, I wouldn’t have to type it out for them.
If the teachers (who we love) updated their school pages to let parents know what their children were learning in class, even once this year, I wouldn’t have to hit the pavement and go to each classroom to get the information from them.
If certain school employees thinks so little of parents’ interest in their children’s education, then no wonder you have notoriously ignored dozens of emails from parents and prospective parents, which I have fielded all school year, in your stead.
What I know is that the parents in our community are interested, involved, engaged in their childrens’ education, and concerned when they don’t hear anything. I know the parents in our community read my newsletter because I not only watch them read it on their way to their cars after they pick up their kids from school, but I get regular feedback from them on what has been included. I get heartfelt “Thank You’s” from parents every month, and am told many times how much they look forward to finding it in their box.
What I know is that every student is important, and every student comes from a family who wants the best for their child.
So, dear school employee who shall not be named, what I know is that this newsletter is more than just a big printing project.
It is the voice for families. And you can’t put a price on that.