Communication Standards at HWDSB
Communication builds positive relationships with parents, guardians, and caregivers. We are committed to keeping you well informed and knowing what to expect. We want staff to know how, what and when to communicate.
This is our communications commitment to you.
Access HWDSB’s Communication Standards Infographic.
HWDSB is committed to fostering a culture of human rights, equity and inclusion. We offer learning and working environments that are welcoming, respectful, and free from discrimination and harassment.
What are Communication Standards?
Communications Standards act as a reference to determine when communication is required and when effective practices of communication can contribute to a positive school environment. They create a consistent experience for families from school to school and remove duplication of messages between the school and the school board.
HWDSB’s Communication Standards Apply to all Schools
Direct Communication for Expected Topics
You will receive communication on expected topics.
Expected communication topics always meet the criteria for direct communication with parents, guardians, and caregivers because the topics uphold a mutual value shared between families and staff.
Emergency communications may occur after hours.
How will you receive an expected communication? Telephone, email, or mail.
Examples of Expected Topics
|Injury or harm
|Safe Schools reporting
|Secure School response
|New educator or principal
You may receive communication on additional topics. Additional Communications can range from information that is available to a parent, guardian, or caregiver but not always shared directly with you.
How will you receive additional communication? Websites, Parent Portal, MS Teams, and social media, to list a few examples.
Please see the summary of digital platform/tools for families at HWDSB.
Examples of additional topics
|Routine fire alarm
|Phone and internet down
|Cold and heat alerts
|And so much more!
How you can support Communication Standards
As partners in education, parents, guardians, and caregivers can support Communication Standards. You can:
- Ensure your phone number, email and home address is current at your school
- Secure passwords for HWDSB Platforms
- Frequently visit platforms to learn what is new
- Provide feedback at the class, school, or district levels
- Navigate general and Human Rights concerns using Addressing Concerns @HWDSB resources.
HWDSB’s Response to Inquiries
- Responses will occur within two business days during working hours.
- Staff follow the Right to Disconnect Procedure to maintain healthy work life boundaries
- HWDSB is committed to listening and establishing clear, fair, effective processes which fulfil our duty to foster an environment where Human Rights are protected.
Questions? Email [email protected]
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms
Essential Channels: A parent, guardian, or caregiver is required to provide contact information to HWDSB, which includes telephone number, email address, and mailing address.
Supportive Channels: At HWDSB, we value the importance of timely and ongoing communication with families. All platforms approved by HWDSB are supportive channels of communication, including Parent Portal, MS Teams, and websites. Supportive channels are encouraged in their use by staff and families. Other examples include student agenda, newsletter, social media, school announcements, or school signage.
Digital Platforms: Digital platform is any HWDSB-approved electronic tool for communication such as the Parent Portal, the school website, and the HWDSB App as examples. All Digital Platforms for parents, guardians, and caregivers need are available on the Parent tab on the Board website.
Direct Communication: Parents, guardians, and caregivers will receive direct communication in the form of an in-person conversation, telephone, email, or mail when events or situations occur that meet the criteria for an expected topic.
Expected Topics: Expected communication topics always meet the criteria for direct communication with parents, guardians, and caregivers because the topics uphold a mutual value shared between families and staff.
Additional Communication: Additional Communications can range from information that is available to a parent, guardian, or caregiver but not always shared directly with them. Such examples include a notification on a website, information on a platform, a courtesy message, or campaigns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is HWDSB introducing Communication Standards?
Communication Standards help staff communicate effectively and keep parents, guardians, and caregivers informed. With these guidelines, staff will know how, what, and when to communicate.
Standards create a consistent experience for families from school to school and remove duplication of messaging between the school and the school board. Clear communication also provides space for feedback, which is a priority in HWDSB communications as we honour all voices.
Who are Communications Standards for?
Communications Standards are for parents, guardians, and caregivers who entrust HWDSB staff with their child/ren. In addition, Communication Standards is a supportive resource for staff members who are in positions where they communicate with parents, guardians, and caregivers.
When do parents, guardians, and caregivers refer to Communications Standards?
Communications Standards act as a reference to determine when communication is required and when effective practices of communication can contribute to a positive school environment.
What happens if I do not receive communications and I think I should?
Contact your school to inquire. A parent, guardian, or caregiver’s information may require an update to their contact information or a discussion is required on the topic to determine if communication was shared.
What considerations are made when there is communication with families?
- Privacy – HWDSB upholds the highest standards of privacy. Communication must be respectful of individual privacy when sending a message to others.
- Partnerships – HWDSB works collaboratively with community partners such as Hamilton Police Service, Hamilton Public Health Services, for example. When there is communication that involves a community partner, HWDSB staff work with those groups to validate and verify content.
When were the Communication Standards developed?
Led by the Communications and Community Engagement team, the Communication Standards were developed in the 2021-22 school year and approved in June 2022. The implementation of the HWDSB Communication Standards is happening in the 2022-23 school year.
Who contributed towards the development of the Communications Standards?
The Hamilton-Wentworth Parent Involvement Committee, the Hamilton-Wentworth Home & School Association, as well as individual parents, guardians, and caregivers contributed to the development of the Communication Standards. As well, principals and vice-principals formed a communications and engagement advisory.