According to studies of successful schools, a high level of parental participation is a critical indicator of their performance and can even help close the achievement gap across groups of kids. Despite the fact that 85% of parents believe they can make a “major” or “fair” difference in their child’s learning and academic success, 46% wish they could do more.
For productive and meaningful parent engagement, a healthy flow of information between school and parents is required, and this communication should include all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, managers, professionals, club leaders and trainers, and the parent-teacher association. The strategies mentioned below can help you boost parent involvement at your school.
Understanding the Most Common Obstacles
Maintaining an excellent connection between home and school has grown more challenging in recent years due to a combination of key factors impacting parent participation. For starters, educators cannot presume that students live at home with both parents because family living arrangements are becoming more diverse. Second, families move around a lot; in fact, the United States has one of the most mobile populations in the world. Third, many school communities include immigrants from a variety of countries who speak a variety of languages. Finally, as academic support teams have grown in popularity, each child now has numerous educators working with them. Despite good intentions, school communications efforts usually encounter roadblocks as a result of these and other factors.
Here are some of the most prevalent obstacles to outreach:
Gaps in accessibility levels: School interactions that are only available on a computer (but not on a mobile device) or in a single language may be neglected by a large number of parents.
Too many tools: The average youngster has eight teachers, each of which may use a different communication medium, leaving parents feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
Too much jargon: Because parents may not grasp “edu-speak,” messages laden with jargon will fall flat.
Excessive (or shattered) communication: As a result of communications coming from many sources and across multiple platforms, parents may miss important information, making it difficult for any of them to sort through and prioritise.
Efforts to Enhance School-Home Communication
Schools have made considerable headway in strengthening ties with families, utilising digital tools to provide parents with more information about their children’s days. As the concerns listed above show, the proliferation of technologies has strewn interactions to the point where parents are overwhelmed and unsure what to deal with the information they get. Parents appreciate the school’s communication efforts, but no one gets the desired results if they can’t process the information and the school isn’t sure whether it was even received.
With all of this in thought, the next level of performance is required: rather than focusing solely on parental responsiveness, we must devise ways to improve communication across the entire school, streamlining the process for all relevant parties and promoting uniformity in information exchange between teachers and parents. Giving educators fewer tools to manage, limiting the number of places parents must look for information, and making information more quickly actionable are all examples of this. It will assist school administrators to achieve buy-in for plans and objectives, teachers nurture the parent engagement wanted in the classroom, and kids get the assistance they need from their family by enabling mom and dad to have an easier time obtaining information from the school.
Here are some tactics for leaders to use from the beginning of the school year to build healthy and productive communication:
- Choose one tool: Finding a single platform that all teachers can use and articulating why it is necessary will increase buy-in from all participants, and your employees and faculty will be better able to engage parents collectively.
- Send out shorter, more frequent messages: To keep parents informed on a regular basis, school interactions should be brief and frequent.
- Individualize: Individualization is especially crucial because not all parents are able to attend school at set times.
- Set the tone: At the beginning of the year, encourage teachers to tell a bit about themselves.
- Establish trust and nurture connections: Teachers should focus on establishing trust and nurturing relationships with parents throughout the year.
- Assign responsibility: Make it perfectly clear that all teachers are expected to contribute to the school’s communication initiatives.
- Enable parents to opt-in: Create options for parents to opt-in (or out) of receiving relevant details or updates that are pertinent to their child.
- Provide useful insight: It’s a good idea to provide information to keep parents informed, but schools should also make sure they’re releasing details that parents can use.
- Share the good news: Because parents may fear the occasional phone call home, it’s critical to find ways to express good news as well.
A healthy school environment, where any teacher, parent, or student may connect and engage actively, is the foundation of a thriving school community, and that culture starts with communication. To ensure that all parents and children have access to opportunities, it is essential for the school to place a strong emphasis on communication. A whole-school communications strategy makes sure that all instructors are conveying important information in a straightforward and accessible way and that all parents are aware of school-based initiatives. If you keep these strategies in mind, you may change school communications and experience a higher level of parent involvement.
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