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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Too many district emails muddle the efficiency of communication

Isabelle Wang
The immense piles of emails we get from the district each week.

At the start of summer 2022, when superintendent Bill Sanderson took over the job, he talked to groups of local residents who requested the district needed to improve its communication and transparency with local communities. His solution: to add an experienced public information officer who would highlight important developments at both LGHS and SHS. He also created the role with the intention of handling crisis management and crucial communication.

The move to hire Tanya De La Cruz was seen by some teachers as excessive spending in a smaller district, but others saw the move as long overdue for a high-profile district. Regardless of how one feels about the role itself, De La Cruz vastly increased the professionalism of the communication between the district and community members.

Upon joining the district, De La Cruz was tasked with improving communication, including an increase of district emails announcing accomplishments of students and staff at both Saratoga and Los Gatos High School. 

With principal Greg Louie’s Friday letter, parents and students already had a content form of communication, which would often highlight the achievements of the school’s students like the district emails do. The concept of district emails soon became an annoyance for me, and something quickly overlooked by the average student. According to a Falcon Instagram poll of 75 students, only 33% claimed to read the district press releases. 

The solution is not to eradicate the communication lines between the district and the community, but rather to consolidate the information into a singular and convenient place. Louie’s Friday newsletter should be a place for all information necessary for Saratoga students, staff and parents, and it can acknowledge  student accomplishments. The Saratoga Falcon is also a great source for community engagement, as it provides direct information and opinions from the students themselves. 

Within the 30-day period between Jan. 17 and Feb. 16, the district sent out eight emails. This was an average of an email approximately every four days. 

While this might not seem like a lot, this results in around two emails each week, in addition to the regular Friday Newsletter from Louie, overwhelming both students and community members with information. This buries important information underneath relatively unimportant news, obscuring student achievements or important action items. The regular Friday newsletter is sufficient information and allows for the information to be in one place instead of across a number of emails.

The better solution would be a monthly district newsletter in which the district comprises all the most important monthly announcements. This would decrease the number of emails and also condense all the information into one convenient place. This also allows for more time to review information for accuracy.

Is it important to recognize that key district information still should be released in a timely manner — such as board updates or information on school shutdowns during electrical outages— but those circumstances are few and far between. Good communication between the district and the community is vital. But simplifying and streamlining the process and product would make the information more accessible and easier for students to digest.

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