Keeping communication channels open is a must if a school wants to build a community whose members are participative and in touch with the daily realities facing students, parents, and educators. This is true for when the school needs to send important letters that parents have to sign or acknowledge, and it is also true for when they just want the parents to keep pace with the latest happenings in the school community. The idea is to engage with them better and to encourage them to become more involved with the students’ education.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most important contemporary mediums of communication, which can serve as modern alternatives to the traditional written letters and PTA notices.
School communication app
The ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, and other similar devices has encouraged many app developers to create communication apps that school administrators can use to reach out to their communities. A school and parent communication app can prove to be a great alternative to paper letters, notices, and permission slips because the school staff can already send all of these—and more—electronically to parents and guardians.
Before signing up for one, however, you should first check out just how useful and feature-rich your prospect app really is. Ideally, you want a school communication app that also has a calendar feature, a comprehensive contacts list, and newsletter-sending capability. It should also be able to send push notifications for urgent concerns and emergency notices, and it should likewise have an absentee messaging functionality so that parents can easily report their child’s absence if they are not attending school for the day
Creating podcasts is another great way to help parents keep abreast of school happenings. Whether they’re in audio or video format, podcasts offer a chance for school administrators to discuss important matters in a medium that is engaging, intimate, and very convenient.
The school can even involve the students themselves in the production of these podcasts. This affords the additional benefit of helping children develop their writing, collaboration, and public speaking skills, as well as allowing them to gain practical experience in using a variety of media production and editing tools.
Skype is today’s quintessential tool for video conferences, and you would be remiss not to consider it is as an important part of your communication arsenal. The beauty of conducting meetings over Skype and other similar applications is that the parents or guardians don’t even have to come to school physically for meetings. This presents a more convenient alternative even for the educators, who may prefer a more suitable time to meet with the parents.
Social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat
Naturally, you can’t discount the power of social media, considering the immense popularity of sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Snapchat.
Customary photo and video updates over Facebook and Instagram leverages the appeal of visual media in keeping your community engaged. As such, these are something you should be posting regularly alongside important text announcements that parents need to know about. Facebook Live can also be a great tool to broadcast school events in real time, while Twitter—being a platform that encourages the exchange of succinct messages among users—is a great channel where you canhold Q&A sessions with parents. Snapchat is the most informal of these social media platforms, but you should really see this as an opportunity to experiment with creating messages that have a more lighthearted and more “human” appeal.
Take note, however, that social media sites are often restricted to users of a certain age, so while parents and older students may be able to read your posts and messages, younger students may not be able to.
What’s not to like about Google Calendar? It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it can be accessed by parents and any member of the school community provided that they are given access to it. If you’re not yet using a school communication app with a dedicated calendar, then Google Calendar is an awesome alternative to it.Setting up a calendar for your school will make it easier for parents to see the dates of important school events, from student excursions and school fairs to recitals and prom nights.
Just because email is one of the oldest electronic communication technologies, don’t discount it just yet! After all, creating email newsletters is still one of the easiest ways to send communication to parents. It’s a medium that is very private, and it is more likely to be read by parents or guardians who are more used to this form of technology, or have no time flipping through Facebook, podcasts, and other more current forms of communication.
Official blog and website
Finally, you also have the option of maintaining a school blog, within which you can publish news and feature articles relating your school and your students’ activities. Having a blog within your school’s official website does not only help you reach out to parents and guardians, it also helps improve yourschool’s web presence, shoring up your website’s authority as your institution’s official portal on the internet.
These days, there are many technologies that you can take advantage of if you need to reach out to your students’ parents and encourage them to maintain an activerole in their children’s education. Make sure to consider how your school stands to benefit when you choose to use these tools.