☕️ Busy? Here's the TL;DR

  1. Principal Czyz sends a Friday Focus newsletter to faculty
  2. It includes schedule info, reminders & something inspiring.
  3. The goal for his weekly family update is to shine a light on school.
  4. PD resources are sent to faculty from 3 schools via a monthly update. 
  5. His strategy? Chunking content for easy duplication - it's a time saver! 

We caught up with 2nd-3rd grade principal Rich Czyz to learn about how he infuses PD into his weekly school newsletter.

Rich is in the midst of getting the work out about his 3rd book: Rogue Leader: Make the Rules, Inspire Others, and Take Control of Your Own Professional Development Destiny. He’s also the co-founder of The 4 O’Clock Faculty blog, and a leader of his district's professional learning.

Rich took a few minutes to share some of his secret sauce with us.

Q: What are 1 or 2 of your goals in your weekly staff communications?

Each week, I share a Friday Focus with our school staff. The newsletter includes important information and upcoming schedule reminders, as well as lesson and subject ideas, inspiration and motivation. I also try to share something that I’ve been learning about!

My goal is always to inspire my colleagues to improve learning for our students!

Friday Focus Faculty Newsletter on Smore

Q: What are 1 or 2 of your goals in your weekly family communications?

I also share a YES This Week! Newsletter with our families. (Yardville Elementary School!) I want to communicate what’s happening at school each week. I include important schedule reminders, pictures of events and happenings in the building, and any specific information that helps our families. My goal is to shine a light on all of the positive things happening in our school.

Example of Family School Newsletter on Smore

Smore served as a lifeline during the pandemic, helping families to have a constant pulse of what was happening and how to help their children!

Q: Your new book is about taking control of PD. Have you ever used Smore to deliver PD to your team?

Smore has been an excellent resource to share professional development with staff. In addition to including professional development resources, links, and articles in the Friday Focus each week, I’ve also used Smore to organize PD resources and links for PD LIFT (Learning & Innovation From Teachers). PD LIFT is a shared monthly PD focus between three schools in my district. Teachers and Tech facilitators collaborate each month to learn and share with each other.

Faculty PD delivered on a Smore Newsletter

An easily-created Smore has been a great way to organize links, resources, and ideas!

Q: Would you share a Smore pro tip with us?

My Smore Pro Tip is to chunk content and information. Because I share weekly reminders and information, I generally include important calendar dates for the next three months. While it may take a few minutes to include all of this information in the first newsletter that I create, it’s easy to duplicate the newsletter each week and eliminate any calendar dates that have already passed. Chunking content and information early on makes it very efficient when I’m trying to get a newsletter out quickly to staff in the following weeks!

Thanks for the great tips, Rich! Get started with your own PD-focused template here.

Screen shot of Parent Communication School Newsletter Template

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