Parents are often the most overlooked resource within a school community. But, why is that the case?
With busy work schedules, multiple family commitments, and various other activities, parents may be a hard bunch to get a hold of. Innovative schools, across the Nation, are finding ways to connect and collaborate with parents around important school decisions.
The benefit of tapping into your school’s parent pool can be a win-win for everyone involved! Parents feel included in the school community, school administrators can incorporate the needs and expectations of parents within school changes, and students benefit from having a tight knit school community. In fact, studies have shown that when parents are included in decision making and engaged in the larger school community, students tend to have higher academic achievement, absenteeism is reduced, and teacher-parent communication is markedly improved.
Research shows that the level of communication within schools and parental engagement has increased steadily over the past 25 years. Schools have been able to achieve this higher parent participation by leveraging surveys, polling, focus groups, and online feedback forums to gather information before making core school decisions. At Crescerance, we understand the value that parents can bring to any school community. To make it easier for teachers and school administrators to collect suggestions, ideas, and concerns from parents, schools are tapping into the collaborative features of the embrAPP for schools and districts.
Here are a few of the most effective ways schools can engage and listen to parents.
Polling & Surveys with embrPULSE. These are a quick way to ask parents their thoughts or feelings regarding possible school changes. Whether it is a change in the school’s uniform, a proposed later (or earlier) school start time, or just to check in to see how parents feel about their child’s educational progress, a survey can be the best route. The key with surveys is that they have no more than 10 questions and can be completed in 15 minutes or less. With embrPULSE, we are making it easier for schools to send out feedback straight to parents’ mobile devices, and store the collected information in one central location.
Social Media with embrNEWS. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t only good for leisure use. In fact, they make great online repositories of ideas and feedback. These sites work best when schools engage parents in active dialogue and keep social media pages up to date with the latest information. Consider hosting a Facebook Friday session, where parents can login and post questions or comments and have school administrators answer them online, in real-time. With embrNEWS you can keep your audience informed and connected with what’s happening throughout your entire school community in one easily accessible place, making sharing information with parent and key stakeholders very easy and efficient.
Focus Groups with embrCONNECT parent groups like the PTA are an ideal resource for school communities. Gathering parents across all student populations to discuss and brainstorm possible solutions is a great (and cost effective) way for schools and school districts to include parents in the decision making process. Focus groups, however, are only effective if parents know about them and are given the opportunity to participate. With embrCONNECT, administrators can seamlessly share focus group meeting details with the entire parent community and get important information to parents – straight to their mobile device.
Leading schools are working to make parents an active participant both inside and outside of the classroom. Parents are a necessary part of any school community and their expectations, concerns, and ideas should be heard! The new challenge for leading schools is finding creative and simple ways to engage parents in the school decision making process.
If you’re looking to take your parent engagement to the next level, then sign up for a free demo of our embrAPP for schools and districts. You’ll get to see just how easy polling, surveying, and sharing information with parents can be!