We are on the cusp of the new school year, and that means keeping parents updated on all the upcoming events, progress reports, deadlines and other school news about which they need to be aware. Question is: how will you communicate that information? These days, so many tools abound that you can use to quickly spread information! Will you use the tried-and-true methods, will you venture out and try new tools or will you stick with the ones you prefer?
Whatever your choice, you really should consider surveying your community first to make sure you use the tools through which they want to receive information. For example, you may love Facebook, but if your parents don't use it, you'll be wasting valuable time populating a site nobody is reading.
So what are some other great tools you could be using to creatively reach your parents and guardians?
- Google Hangouts: Who isn't on Google these days? Parents are so busy, and many just don't have the time to make it up to the school for meetings. So why not schedule virtual meetings with Google Hangouts? More personal than a phone call or a text, plus you can connect using any device, and you can start a call from right in Gmail!
- Google Tour Creator: Another way for parents/guardians who aren't able to be physically present is for students and their teacher to create a virtual reality tour of their classroom or school using this super cool tool! Keep your parents updated throughout the year of what is going on in your classroom and what projects the students are creating by showcasing them using virtual reality.
- School Messenger: This resource combines school notification, mobile apps, and web content management all under one, easy-to-use platform. Designed to work together from the start, this school communication systems save time and provide more immediate, thorough engagement with your community. There are other messenger systems as well, so let us know, and we can help you find one that fits your needs.
- ParentSquare: This app aims to improve communication, organization and engagement between parents and schools. Parents can access posts, events, photos, files and a directory on the site. School administrators and teachers can post polls and use two-way messaging via the Web, email and text messages. For a fee, users can send voice messages via text to parents. In the posts, administrators can see how many parents viewed the post, ask for items, request volunteers, get RSVPs or even fundraise. Events are integrated right into the school calendar.
- ClassTag: This parent communication app is completely free to use. It offers newsletters, translation capabilities, engagement tracking and easy photo sharing. But it also provides calendar support, supply lists and lots of ways to reach families: SMS (texts), email, in app, on your website—parents choose what works best for them. The best part? You can earn free classroom rewards simply by doing the things you already do, like post about your awesome diorama project or let parents know about upcoming conferences. You’ll earn ClassTag coins as you engage parents, which you can then redeem for things like gift cards, school supplies, board games and more.
But don't forget: even with modern, convenient technology, often, face-to-face visits are worth more than all these tools combined. Always make sure your families know you have an open-door policy and feel comfortable coming to talk to you about important matters.