Family engagement can be the key to unlocking the potential of your students. Students whose families are involved in their school experiences are more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). Having a comprehensive communication strategy builds trust, which is essential for leaders and school-based teams to survive and thrive in their roles. Below are five strategies for school and district leaders to use in crafting and executing a highly effective communication plan that harnesses the capabilities of your technology tools to optimize family engagement and support student achievement.
- Employ multiple modes of communication to meet families where they are, including text, email, and social media, while internally planning strategically for connected technology to track engagement.
- Create forums for building/department/grade topics that parents can opt-in to for updates. Use this to encourage two-way communication and as a place for parents or caregivers to ask questions and get accurate answers. This can also discourage reliance on unofficial channels such as “Families of XX” Facebook groups – which can be a significant headache for leaders and a source of problematic and even dangerous misinformation. Invite and engage in individual or group dialogue
- Use technology tools, such as a survey linked to your SIS, to get timely and meaningful feedback from families to help inform decisions. Times have changed from when schools relied on a small group of parents able to attend in-person meetings to provide feedback. Ensuring equitable input so important voices will not be left out eliminates blind spots. Better responses reduce the likelihood that the feedback you receive would not represent your whole student population.
- Automate key building-level communications with planning and consistency, set up in advance to free up staff capacity, and ensure important dates, holidays, and milestones are not missed.
- Automate targeted alerts to ensure that students who need interventions receive them in as timely a manner as possible. Automated communications that are triggered based on a student meeting specific at-risk criteria can ensure that all members of the student’s team are notified in a timely and consistent manner if there are concerning indicators such as attendance, grading and/or behavioral concerns.
To learn more about strategic planning through technology innovations in your school that ultimately increase family engagement, download our free Ebook!