While certainly a tall order in the face of the challenging times we’re all facing, it’s the time of year to count our blessings. In fact, maybe because of these challenges, it’s more important than ever to take stock of what we can be thankful for.
You may have fabulous facilities and a stellar staff, but in today’s tenuous educational climate, those are taking a back seat to equipping staff and parents with help in staying connected online. One overarching lesson everyone is learning during the scourge of the pandemic is that online connectivity and online resources are critical to maintaining any semblance of continuity.
When combined with parent engagement strategies baked into your school communication planning, the curated list of resources below will help your school district improve communication with your families.
Parent engagement resources
This site gives students a voice and connects families with teachers. Teachers also can easily share special moments from the classroom to keep families connected.
Powered by Word Press, Edublogs are great for classroom teachers, while Campus Press suits an entire district. Communicate easily and effectively with this free digital portfolio that gets all your constituents on the same page.
Founded in 1991 by George Lucas, Edutopia assists teachers and parents alike in doing what is best for their children and assuring that each child gets a great education that will help him/her achieve career dreams. This list of articles about family engagement gives tangible ideas to assist in communication, conferences and keeping all families engaged.
The most respected newspaper for cutting edge educational news, Edweek was born from concerns about America’s educational foothold in the Sputnik era and continues to deliver timely, relevant news to educators and families. This Edweek list of articles about parental involvement will offer solutions big and small for your district.
Google sites are a great collaborative tool, and they are used in districts throughout the nation. Students can create their own websites, and parents and educators can have easy access to students’ learning. While you’re at it, check out this Campus Suite article on Google tools every school communicator should use.
Since 2001, the Reading Rocket program has offered research, PBS programming, and professional development to try to improve the relationship between schools and families, especially in regards to reading in the elementary grades. Refer to this portal of Reading Rockets and parent engagement articles to learn more.
Remind is a great all-around communication app between school and home. They send reminders of assignments, field trips, and sign-ups, as well as offer two-way communication. Parents can get all the information they need at their fingertips.
This multilingual communication app helps to build relationships by having parents communicate in their native language and giving all families access to schools.
Seesaw is a great tool to show creativity in all subject areas and to use modern tools to prove thinking and to strategize. Students get ownership and choice, and parents get easy access to their child’s work.
Parent engagement articles
Activities to Promote Parental Involvement is a clear article from Education World about building a bridge between school and home and how educators can be more welcoming. Effectives tips as well as additional resources are included.
Experts weigh in on “nudging interventions” in this short, life-changing article, Make one Change to Parent Outreach and Study Finds Fewer Students Fail Classes, which is sure to change the way you communicate with parents. A simple flipping of the script will give parents the information they need to parent more effectively.
The National Education Association Offers this easy-to-understand article, The 8 P’s of Parent Engagement, about keeping parents close. With a handy chart for easy reference, your team will find it easy to be persistent and offer praise to families, and this article will show you exactly how to do so.
Teaching Tolerance is a program that calls people together to reflect on many issues related to learning and teaching, as well as how to co-exist peacefully in the world. Family Engagement is a great article that showcases ways to help all students, and gives some special tips for those in high school.
The School Community Journal showcased the article Beyond Involvement and Engagement: The Role of the Family in School–Community Partnerships, which is a more academic look at what happens when families and schools work together in tandem. Citing many studies and resources, this article goes beyond easy answers to help your district create a solid communication framework.
5 Ways to Boost Parental Involvement at Low-Income Schools is an article from the website, Fast Forward Scientific Learning. In order to get everyone on the same playing field, especially where science is concerned, take a look at these helpful tips.
From the Getting Smart website, 10 Strategies for Schools to Improve Parent Engagement is a great article that will give you ten workable strategies, in addition to lead you to other articles that will help you in your quest for parent engagement.
Organizations helping schools engage parents
The APA has developed many resources to help parents help their children, and they range from school connectedness, to bullying, to LGBT resources and beyond. Making sure that parents and families understand the importance of mental health, the APA puts tools and information at your fingertips.
American’s Promise Alliance is an exhaustive list of organizations that aim to help families and schools to connect. From the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America, to the US Department of Education, and everything in between, this list of groups is sure to help you find what you access tools and tips to communicate with your families.
This 28-page document from the Center for Disease Control is a wealth of information for parents and schools alike. This article shows how to instruct, connect, engage, and sustain these partnerships between home and school.
Understanding the importance of STEM programs, this organization aims to connect with families. For many low-income or struggling families, STEM is a long reach, but this program attempts to connect all families with a partnership to help students learn science and engineering skills.
The Learning First coalition is a group of 11 influential organizations in public education, including the American Federation of Teachers and the American School Counselors Association. They seek to improve student learning throughout the country by strengthening public schools.
This organization aims to connect parents and educators within states to make the most of resources and communication standards. Refer to this state-by-state guide to find a plethora of parenting groups that are currently making strides in education.
Although you don’t have to be a member to appreciate all the NSPRA has to offer, this website has links to many conferences, resources, and other tools that keep America’s families engaged in their children’s’ learning.
With a great list of resources available at your fingertips, this organization seeks to unite diverse families and help each child receive the education he/she needs and deserves. They offer a learning center as well as ongoing workshops to keep the conversation going.
The National Parent’s Union includes families across the nation and is especially inclusive to people and families with particular situations such as low income, incarcerations, or children with special needs. These parents unite to form a positive change in the education of our children, and they offer many resources at this site.
With over 3 million members, the NEA works to help real change come about in the field of education, while maintaining professional excellence. Their website offers resources, timely news, and other tips to make learning more accessible for all.
As the oldest child advocacy group in America, the national PTA offers a plethora of resources in support of education throughout the nation. From family resources to advocacy groups, program opportunities and grants, this organization strives to help each child reach their full potential.
The United States Department of Education ensures ongoing quality public education for all. Their website highlights laws, grants, loans and legal advice all in one place to give families and districts a broad look at the scope of education.
What are you thankful for?
No matter how fancy your school building, how educated your teachers are, and how much funding and equipment your district has on hand, if you do not communicate well with your constituents – especially the parents in your community – there will always be a disconnect.
Bookmark this article. With these resources at your fingertips, your school community will be better equipped to connect the dots between home and school and ultimately create a much stronger, more fruitful education for each child.
What online resources do you use to stay connected with your school community?
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at email@example.com.