eNotes and zipNotes Guidelines for MSPA Submissions

OVERVIEW

zipNotes and eNotes are weekly newsletters to Middle and Upper School parents, respectively, created collaboratively by the MSPA and the School. The purpose is to inform parents in an efficient and concise way of important events, news, and information. To that end, content is kept brief, and precise guidelines exist to help submitters and editors.

eNotes is sent by broadcast email to Upper School parents and faculty early Monday mornings, and zipNotes are sent to Middle School parents and faculty on Monday afternoons.

THE SECTIONS

There are three sections in zipNotes/eNotes: Events, News/Announcements, and Grade-Level News. Save the Date also appears when necessary. Event section items should truly be events; with date/time/location and content about the event. Within this section, there is a Save the Date area reserved for high-level, all-school events. The News/Announcements entries should be of interest to a large portion of the Menlo Upper School parent community (i.e., fundraising opportunities, parking alerts, etc.). MSPA-related items that apply only to the volunteer board should not be included; those should be sent by the MSPA to a smaller group email list. 

SUBMISSIONS 

Please format your submissions using the Menlo School Style Guide.

When submitting, please include

  • event name
  • date
  • start and end time
  • location (on campus) - if offsite, just the URL or link of the venue (not the full address)
  • RSVP by date - if you need to have the headcount in advance
  • brief description (with short catchy title if you can!)
  • contact information (preferably email)
  • If you have any flyer, form or the like to include, attach it as well, preferably in both Word and PDF format, though either is acceptable.
  • If you want to link to a website, please include the URL (check to make sure it works!)
    NOTE: URL of an invitation customized for each individual recipient (e.g. PaperlessPost) should not be used in the blurb. Just mention to “look for it in your Inbox.” 

Entries should be concise. Please include no more than three sentences, or roughly 30-50 words (not including date and location). Save the Date items should be one line, including name of event, date and contact information. (Example: Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010: Parent & Faculty Education Conference.) Please be aware that editors will edit the entry for clarity and concision.

If you have a large amount of information, please see if the information exists already somewhere on a web page to which we can link. Alternatively, we can create a web page with the information and link to that from zipNotes or eNotes.

Example: 
Annual Valpo 5k Fun Run: Sunday, Sept. 29, 9:00-10:30 am, Menlo Loop. All families invited to this tradition to  benefit Peninsula Bridge. Come walk or run and build community with other Menlo and SHP families. Register here or join the fun by volunteering to help the race or bring food/water here. Questions? Contact Pat Menlo.

Timing & Duration

Items are allowed to appear for three consecutive weeks or issues; therefore new items should fall within a three-week/issue window of the issue date. For example, a Monday, Dec. 1 issue will include events that take place from Monday, Dec. 1 through Sunday, Dec. 21. Watch out for the events that come close after the holiday breaks. For example, a Monday, Dec. 15 issue could include events that take place from Monday, Dec. 15 through Sunday, Jan. 11. 

Save the Date items can appear starting 10 issues before the event, and will run for three issues. For example, an event on Dec. 1 could have a Save the Date entry Sept. 28, Oct. 5 and Oct. 12.

Each week, new items will be marked with a gold circle. There is no need to resubmit the same blurb that is to repeat in the subsequent two issues. If you would like the content to change week to week, do not submit all of the items at one time; please re-submit the updated content each week.

TYPES OF ENTRIES

Menlo-Sponsored Events
Only events that are Menlo events are included in the weekly newsletter. Events put on by other organizations that may be of interest to the Menlo community are not permitted. For instance, an item on a speaker who is sponsored by our speaker series or our Common Ground Series consortium is perfect for zipNotes and eNotes. An item on a speaker coming to a local library or other locales, which is not a Menlo-sponsored event, does not belong, nor does an event at Menlo that is sponsored by an outside person or group. Events co-sponsored by Menlo with a parnter organization, like Common Ground, are fine to include.

 Whole-Community Events
Items in zipNotes/eNotes should also pertain to nearly all of the MS or US community or nearly all of a particular grade. MSPA-related items that apply only to a core group of volunteers should not be in them; instead, they can be communicated in an email to a group list created by that committee’s chair.

Sports Events and Meeting Notices
We include three categories of sports events:

  1. Those that include a community service/fundraising component (e.g., Valpo Bowl)
  2. Those that are a major event like a CCS/NorCal/State final, and
  3. Menlo-sponsored tournaments on the Menlo campus (e.g., Powderpuff vs. SHP, Scott Roche Boys’ Water Polo, Tim Kuehnert Memorial Baseball, etc).

All special sporting events and any pre-season meeting announcements should be submitted by Buffie Ward Williams. Please do not submit to zipNotes/eNotes in-season items or meetings, as coaches or team parents would communicate team business directly to the players and families.

Creative Arts Events
Plays and other major arts events are included.

Save the Date
The Save the Date section is reserved for high-level, all-school events. Examples might include the Parent Ed Conference, the State of the School, etc.

OTHER Things to keep in Mind

Only Parent-Focused Entries for Upper School eNotes
eNotes is primarily for parents; therefore, entries directed to US students only (i.e. Student Life or student-run events) should not be included. Those items can be sent to Tony Lapolla or to the Student Life Office (studentlife@menloschool.org) for inclusion in his twice-a-week student e-newsletter to the US students. Most of the Middle School student events are included in the zipNotes by the MS Office. 

No Acknowledgments in eNotes
While it is tempting to put “thank-yous” in eNotes acknowledging parent volunteers, eNotes has a policy of not doing this to keep eNotes as short and crisp as possible and to keep it focused on “news” only. For submission of acknowledgment in zipNotes, consult Laurie Burmeister.

No Individual Student Names
Generally, the policy is not to include individual student names in eNotes, except when the event or listing would lose all meaning (or be misleading) without the name of the student(s). In these cases, the names of all students involved should be listed. Never should one or a few students be singled out among a group. In any case, if an event or announcement can be made clear without the mentioning of student names, then names should be omitted. 

No Late or “Unacceptable” Entries
Please understand that the editor may reject a late or unacceptable entry. Our goal is to preserve the integrity of the weekly newsletter so that it remains a document widely read by our parent body, and the editors will use their best judgment to implement these criteria and guidelines.

HOW TO SUBMIT

For Middle School Grade-Level Entries
Middle School only events are published in zipNotes only; entries can be sent to zipnotes@menloschool.org by Friday noon.

For Upper School Grade-Level Entries

  1. Send entries to your grade-level team leader or committee chair by Tuesday noon of each week.
  2. Grade-level team communications liaisons or committee chairs will collect entries, polish them and send to enotes@menloschool.org by noon on Wednesday of each week.

For All-School Entries
Send an email to enotes@menloschool.org and zipnotes@menloschool.org by noon on Wednesday of each week.