The Center for Family Engagement and Global Family Research Project recently released 5 Ways Families, Teachers, Schools and Communities Can Work Together to Support Children’s Learning and School Success. We’ve added onto this resource to help you discover how you can implement these “SUPER” 5 ways with ParentSquare:
1. Share Information about Student Progress
“Use multiple ways to communicate how children are doing—conferences, report cards, standardized tests, and more. Some schools are trying to improve how they communicate with families so that families don’t get mixed messages and more easily know whether their child is on grade-level.”
ParentSquare offers a wide array of ways to share student progress with parents. Teachers can:
Post to their classrooms and share class-wide progress with all parents.
Direct message parents to discuss child-specific progress.
Easily and efficiently arrange parent-teacher conferences online, saving teachers’ time, as well as paper.
ParentSquare also offers a grade portal as a very direct way of tracking student progress.
2. Use Digital Media in Positive and Safe Ways
“Apps and other online communication tools can be a way to build relationships with teachers too! Schools can also educate students and their families on the use of social media, how to prevent or report bullying, and how to develop media literacy skills that will help them throughout life.”
Our communication platform provides a secure and private place to communicate at your school. We provide parents with an app which allows schools to easily share resources to parents. Our intuitive platform is easy to use, engaging parents who may have no prior use for technology or have felt intimidated.
With the ability to push information to parents, along with features like RSVPing, ParentSquare often increases attendance at school events. For example, the principal and PTO leader can invite the school community, including those in the alumni database, to attend the upcoming band performance or sign up to read to a class on Read Across America day. ParentSquare makes the traditional principal, PTO, and teacher newsletter and volunteer scheduling simple and much lighter on paper and time required to get the job done.
Two-way and group dialogue ensures efficient communication among all stakeholders and parents feel their voices are heard - which develops trust - effectively strengthening relationships and building community at your school or district!
3. Provide Support During Transitions to New Schools and Classrooms
“Whether children are beginning kindergarten, entering ninth grade, moving to a new neighborhood, or starting a new after school program, transitions can be a time of stress and uncertainty.”
With district-wide adoption, ParentSquare establishes consistency across schools, reducing stress and anxiety during times of transition. Students (and their parents) moving into a new grade or changing schools will already know how and where they receive information. Their own personal information is already loaded into the system and will roll over, so they don’t have to worry about filling out forms again or having a problem with receiving class communication.
Direct messaging with families can help ensure that their child transitions smoothly by providing timely and hassle-free messaging that transcends language barriers and socioeconomic status. Parents can quickly and easily voice any concerns or questions and teachers can communicate with parents on what their student may need to catch up on, or what they should expect.
With classroom and school-wide posts, families are kept in the loop and develop a sense of belonging to the school’s community.
4. Ensure Children Attend School Regularly
“Children can’t make academic progress if they aren’t in school—especially if they miss several days over the course of the school year.”
Efficiently communicating with parents about absences helps to improve absence rates. With automated attendance notifications, ParentSquare sends parents notices when their child is marked absent, and parents can respond directly to excuse their absence (or discover their child has been truant).
Parents often don’t know about their child’s absences or they don’t realize how important it is for their child to be at school. If a child is absent, but their parent doesn’t get a note, parents either don’t know or don’t think it really matters.
Pushing a notification to the parent via email, phone, or app asking for an excuse note either gives parents the opportunity to excuse their child or makes parents realize that their child’s attendance is important. Whatever the case, notifying parents of absences often makes parents allies in reducing absenteeism.
This also lightens your office staff’s workload and brings convenience to parents - as it makes it easier than ever for them to excuse an absence - less phone calls for both parties to make during their already busy schedules!
5. Reinforce Shared Learning
“Families play a key role in supporting learning in and out of school. For example, showing children how science, math, engineering, and technology are part of our daily lives and talking about careers in these areas can also motivate children to prepare for the future.”
ParentSquare helps to engage parents as super-sidekicks to help promote student learning and growth. Teachers can share topics covered in class with parents - so that parents can enhance learning about these topics at home - even if they have no prior knowledge on these topics themselves. We discuss this parent engagement tactic in further detail, and provide sample posts, in our recent blog post 5 Minute Friday.
By fostering relationships with parents, you often gain connections to your greater community, which leads to partnering with local businesses, organizations and institutions to bring project-based learning and other learning opportunities for students.
We hope you found these five tips helpful. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other ways you engage your school community to enhance student learning and school success!