Parent Communications

Using Technology to Increase Parent Engagement
Getting parents involved with your school and helping them stay in the loop has great benefits. Join us as we share some strategies and tips to use technology to help connect with parents.

Benefits of Parent Involvement
Parent involvement is an integral component of student achievement and school reform. Research studies on the effect of meaningful parent involvement in schools have found that:
  • when parents are involved, students achieve more, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents' education level;
  • when parents are involved, students exhibit more positive attitudes and behavior;
  • schools that work well with families have better teacher morale and higher ratings of teachers by parents;
  • school programs that involve parents outperform identical programs without parent and family involvement;
  • when they are treated as partners and given relevant information by people with whom they are comfortable, parents put into practice the involvement strategies they already know are effective but have been hesitant to contribute.
  • Research findings courtesy of the National PTA. Go to the National PTA's Web site for more information about parent involvement.


School/District Practices to Encourage Involvement
  1. Stream competitions and special events
  2. Develop 21st century policies that encourage responsible use of social media by teachers and administration
  3. Have Google Hangouts/Skype events about parent-related topics, 
  4. Develop parent portal to access grades/attendance, etc.
  5. Host family nights or open house events
  6. Encourage volunteer opportunities



Teacher Practices to Encourage Involvement
  1. Create a blog and/or an online calendar so parents can see what's happening in your classroom
  2. Offer virtual parent conference for parents who can't make it to the campus
  3. Create a survey that asks parents how they would prefer to learn about school activities (Facebook, Twitter, school/teacher webpage/blog, text messages, etc.), 
  4. Periscope specific activities throughout the year, etc.
  5. Encourage learning and education
  6. Set high – but not unrealistic – educational standards and goals
  7. Become involved in school and community activities
  8. Online advice videos - How parents can help student with homework
  9. Use social media to connect with parents


Technology Resources
Below is a list of technology resources that teachers, parents, and students can use to more easily interact with each other.

Twitter
  • Whether it is class homework updates, project deadlines, school news or dinnertime conversation starters, teachers are taking advantage of Twitter’s free tool and keeping parents up to date and involved in classroom happenings. 
  • In a day-in-age where most parents have cell phones, Fast Follow by Twitter becomes a simple and reliable alert system. To use it, all you need to do is setup a Twitter account and ask parents (and older students) to text Twitter’s shortcode of 40404 with the message “follow [your Twitter username].” From there, parents will start receiving all of your updates via text message in real-time.
  • Site: http://twitter.com 
  • iTunes Store: https://goo.gl/N3GWlt (free)

VolunteerSpot
  • Get more parents involved in the classroom by streamlining how you ask for help and making it easier for parents to sign up to help.  
  • VolunteerSpot replaces paper signup sheets, reply-all email chains and backpack Pony Express.  
  • Site: http://goo.gl/Cfwrof
  • iTunes Store: https://goo.gl/DKw5FZ (free)

Smore

  • Smore is a web tool used to create flyers or newletters. Sign up and start creating using the user-friendly interface to custom build your newletters. Once they are created, you can email them to parents or post them on your teacher page. 
  • Site: http://www.smore.com/ (educator pricing available)

Running Start

  • This digital tool is great for physical education teachers to collaborate with both students and parents. 
  • Teach students efficient ways to get moving and running. Get parents involved in their child's physical education.
  • Encourage students to start a running club based on Running Start's instruction and guidance.
  • Parent can pull it up on their computer or mobile device and learn how to run properly and how to help their children hone their running techniques outside of school
  • Site: http://goo.gl/qfgMyx (free)

Digital Parenting Course

  • Eanes ISD put together an online course for parents about what it means to be a student in the 21st century.
  • Topics such as screen time, posting images online, etc. are discussed
  • Site: https://goo.gl/I3LxyH (free for anyone to take)
Whooo’s Reading
  • Whoo's Reading is an online reading log that encourages students to read at home, solo or with their family. Once your class is setup, emails are sent to parents with instructions on how to get their child's account set up. Parents receive weekly emails telling them how many minutes their child has read and samples of what they've written throught the week.
  • Site: https://goo.gl/3LJHkG (free | more features with paid subscription)
Technology Resources Continued
Below is a list of technology resources that teachers, parents, and students can use to more easily interact with each other.

Remind
  • Remind lets teachers create an account that parents can "join" by sending a single text message. Because they can message their entire classes and/or parents quickly from their mobile phones, teachers are able to stay in contact on the fly and collaborate with parents without having to pick up the phone or send out an email.
  • Site: https://www.remind.com/
  • iTunes Store: https://goo.gl/cY2tl 

Pinterest
  • A virtual vision board for classroom inspiration, Pinterest offers a great way for teachers and parents to build community and share ideas. 
  • Invite class parents to create and share pinboards with links to age-appropriate themes and ideas including educational boards like fun math apps, favorite books, vocabulary games, and science fair ideas – student-centric boards like recess games, scholarships and prom fashions – and boards geared towards parents such as healthy snack and lunch ideas, afterschool sports resources, and class party ideas.
  • Site: https://www.pinterest.com/ 
  • iTunes Store: https://goo.gl/RL3HM (free)

Edublogs
  • A free, safe blogging platform for teachers, students and school communities, Edublogs lets you easily create and manage student and classroom blogs that keep parents up-to-date on class happenings and give students a safe portfolio for sharing their work with parents and extended family (via password-protected blogs). 
  • Parents will enjoy your current content and feel more informed and connected to the classroom. 
  • Site: http://edublogs.org/
  • iTunes Store: https://goo.gl/fHWFQR (free)

Skype
  • Skype lets parents join in classroom events like story time and special presentations without having to be physically present. 
  • Even military parents overseas and grandparents who live far away are taking advantage of the Skype platform to read to students and participate in celebrations. 
  • It can also be helpful as a way for working parents to attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Site: http://www.skype.com/en/ 
  • iTunes Store - iPhone:  https://goo.gl/sF9lN (free)
  • iTunes Store - iPad: https://goo.gl/Ek36F (free)

Google Hangouts
  • Google Hangouts works very much like Skype.
  • You can have parent conferences or have parents join in your classroom without them having to be physically present
  • Site:http://google.com/hangouts (free)
  • iTunes Store: https://goo.gl/FDOfq (free)

BuzzMob
  • BuzzMob lets parents and teacher connect on a private network. Similar to Twitter or Facebook, BuzzMob makes quick updates on the fly so collaboration can be made easy. It turns you classroom into a connected community.
  • Site: https://www.buzzmob.com/ (Free Trial | Starts at $95 Classroom)

Collaborize Classroom
  • Collaborize Classroom allows teachers to set up a closed network where topics, lessons, and student progress can be discusses with both parents and teachers. It is a platform that will allow teachers to extend classroom discussion outside of normal school hours.It works like a streamlined conversation.
  • Site: http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/
  • Bella Vista High School: http://goo.gl/MYrOU 

12 Apps for Smarter Parent Teacher Communication - 



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