Donovan Group Insights

Training School Staff for Crisis Situations: Communication Strategies

School staff typically don’t think about crises until they’re faced with one. Nobody likes to imagine a crisis befalling their school, and talking about the possibility can feel uncomfortable. However, crisis training can turn discomfort into confidence, equipping staff members with the communication tools necessary to navigate whatever situation might come their way.

Help staff communicate a unified message

News of a crisis quickly reaches the public. Once it does, school staff might find themselves in situations where parents, reporters or community members are asking them about what happened. Following a crisis, it’s important for school staff to present a unified message to the public. Training sessions can teach staff how to preserve confidentiality, maintain professionalism and uphold the school’s values.

Define each person’s role during a crisis

In the heat of a crisis, people might feel confused, panicked, angry or afraid. Having a solid plan in place allows school staff to respond appropriately. Before a crisis occurs, make sure every staff member understands their role during and after a crisis situation. They should also receive written instructions that are easy to follow, even while experiencing heightened emotions.

Review a few scenarios (and what to do)

It’s impossible to read the future. You can never know for sure what will happen or when. However, you can identify a few possible scenarios and create plans for each of them. Build this into your school’s crisis training program so that staff members feel more confident about handling different situations.

Provide scripts for responding to the media

Following a crisis, reporters might reach out to teachers, administrators, coaches or support staff. For this reason, staff members should receive verbal and written scripts that make it easier to speak with the media. At training sessions, provide helpful phrases they can say in person or over the phone, as well as email and letter templates. This will allow your school to present a positive, professional image to news outlets, regardless of which staff member is speaking.

A school crisis is an upsetting time for everyone involved. Even if you’re not currently facing a crisis, school staff might feel uneasy about what the future could bring. Crisis training can help put these fears to rest and empower staff to communicate with confidence. The important thing to remember is that your team will make it through, and they will make it through together.

Leave a Comment