Blog Post— 5 Min Runtime

Best Practices for Using Abre Announcements

Announcements are a core feature of Abre. As Abre acts as the town square to all things education, announcements provide key updates and context to what is happening in school life. They’re a great way to control the narrative.

The point of this post isn’t to detail how to create announcements (but if you’re curious, check out our Knowledge Base!). We want to share some best practices for using them.

The Great Power

An excellent way to think about the power of announcements is to think about eyes. For school districts that deploy Abre to their students, staff, and parents, that’s a lot of eyes. Hamilton City School District, a district of about 9,100 students, sees around 50,000 users on any given school week.

That’s a big opportunity.

Communications with Abre

Contrast Abre with a district website and you’ll quickly see substantial differences. District websites have two pages that are visited regularly: Employment and School Calendar. Neither necessarily reflect a vibrant community of stakeholder interactions.

Users visit Abre because it’s where school happens.

Moreover, many stakeholders come to Abre to do something they think is essential. Perhaps it’s to complete a field trip form, or view their student’s IEP, or to dig into ACT scores. They want to be there because they can find what they need quickly and cleanly.

Announcement Dos

We see best practices emerge among schools that use announcements effectively.

Do: Assign an Owner

Someone needs to own announcements. For most schools, this is the person who runs PR and communications. The owner doesn’t have to write content, but they need to make sure content appears regularly.

Do: Define a Schedule

Routines are good. Pick a day or a few days out of the week where you spend 10 minutes updating announcements. You want to keep things fresh.

Do: Recycle from Sources

Has someone on your team written Facebook posts? Twitter Content? Website Content? Feel free to grab content from those sources and add them to the announcements.

Do: Leverage Your Community

Rely on your community for announcements! Create a simple Abre form or a Google form and regularly share it with your teachers, administrators, and maybe even your students. Have them submit short announcements that you (include an upload field where they can add pictures) and, after a quick edit, add to the Abre announcements.

Do: Consider Gamification

Built into Abre’s Learn App are points. You can assign points to teachers who 1) Read the announcement and 2) Comment on announcements. This is a great way to encourage your professional learning community in dialoguing their learning.

Do: Use Rich Media (images, videos, etc)

Using images and videos make announcements eye-catching and fun. Announcements are a way to extend and strengthen your school’s values and brand.

Announcement Don’ts

We also see key practices to avoid.

Don’t: Have an Empty Screen

You want the landing page of Abre to have content. This means at least 6 (if not 9) announcements right out of the gate. An empty page is a waste of valuable eye time.

Don’t: Have Stale Content

Folks will comment on the fact that they’re seeing the same announcement two months into the school year. You want to actively churn the content to keep things fresh.

This is especially true with announcements geared towards students. Kids love seeing pictures of themselves and their peers (shoutouts are easy).

Don’t: Forget to Occasionally Monitor

Staff can comment on announcements (students can’t). If you see a particular announcement taking off with comments, it’s good to check in every once and a while. Nine times out of ten, the comments are very professional. But prudence is worth it.

Enjoy the Opportunity

One of the great features of Abre is that everyone starts at the same point. The landing page with announcement greets users multiple times a day. Schools and districts have an excellent opportunity to shape and create narratives with announcements. Following these best practices will help everyone in the community grow.