Schoolbus Heaven (Photo credit: Kevin Labianco)
Here’s a great article that covers some of the highlights from the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher that came out earlier in the year.
Here’s my take:
- The article says that parental engagement has been steadily increasing since 1988. Though this is good news, it would be nice if we were given more specific statistics about the change in parental engagement in schools. How much of a role have the changing roles of technology played in this transition?
- It would be nice to see more data about which kinds of parental engagement have been increasing. The article mentions “parents visiting schools” and students talking with parents about schools, but what about PTA meetings, Parent-teacher conferences, and fundraiser volunteering?
- It’s important to remember that parental engagement in schools helps both students and teachers achieve success. One point the article made: teachers are more likely to enjoy their place of work if the parents there make sure to stay engaged in school events.
Do you think parents are more engaged now than they were 20 years ago? How can we improve engagement in schools? Let us know in the comments!
Communication is often key for schools looking to increase student success and build better relationships with parents. Though most schools feel that they can address all their communications needs only by creating and updating a website, many have found that solely relying on websites leaves much to be desired. Here’s why:
- Websites are static. Across the nation, extreme budget cuts are forcing school administrators, teachers, and officials to make tough decisions about issues such as cutting programs, reducing salaries, and expanding class sizes. Not only can most schools not afford to create a professionally-designed website, but the whole issue of parent-school communication often gets pushed to the back burner. Websites’ static content and hard-to-navigate pages make it both difficult and burdensome for parents and students to find the information they need, on time.
- Parents are busy. This generation of parents is said to be the busiest one yet, and schools need to make sure that they can stay in contact with these parents who are constantly on the go. When schools need a quick way to send information to parents, they don’t usually rely on their websites to get the word out- and for good reason. Now that everyone is busy, schools need to make sure that all parents-whether they’re working two jobs or one, traveling or commuting-have easy access to the information they need.
- Smartphones usage is increasing. More and more people are using their smartphones and smartphone apps to accomplish daily tasks. According to Business Insider, web use conducted on mobile devices as opposed to on computers has been climbing steadily since 2009, and shows no sign of stopping any time soon. It’s evident that schools trying to modernize and consolidate their communications systems shouldn’t ignore the prospect of mobile solutions.
What do you think? Is it smarter for schools to focus on communicating with smartphone-based parents? Are school websites destined to be a thing of the past?Let us know in the comments!
Image via CrunchBase
Earlier, we talked about why schools shouldn’t use Facebook to communicate with parents. Today, we’re focusing on the benefits for schools that come with using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents.
- Since so many parents already use Facebook and Twitter- for keeping up with old friends, staying informed about the latest news, or stalking their favorite celebrities-schools already have a digital audience that they can rely on. Most parents are already familiar with the website, and check their pages often. Facebook makes it easy for schools to stay in touch with parents, and vice versa.
- It’s tempting to ignore the costs that schools incur through paper communications such as flyers, but they still matter, especially to struggling small and mid-sized schools. Replacing paper communication with free social media websites would allow schools to save money, which they could use towards other purposes.
- Facebook updates are quick to send out and easy to post; they allow administrators to post updates in many different formats (videos, pictures, links) and make it easy for parents to respond. They can be engaging in a way that papers cannot, and they help administrators save valuable time.
- Facebook pages can create a “digital community” around your school by providing a positive space for parents and administrators to interact with one another. Parents can post questions directly to a school’s page and take advantage of the social nature of the website by collaborating and getting in touch with other parents.
Given our posts about both the pros and cons of using Facebook (and other social media sites) for parent-school communication, what do you think? Can social media truly replace paper communication? Could a real school rely on a “digital community”?