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Parent engagement
in schools:
How tech-savvy
education leaders
play a role

Author: Megan Williams

If you pay attention to certain headlines, shifts in remote learning are causing parents to reach a "breaking point"—but is this what's actually going on with parent engagement?

Ideally, distance learning and digital access options should give parents more options to engage with their children's learning and improve collaboration with teachers. However, it's critical to understand the potential of collaboration, data management and automation tools to avoid counterproductive engagement. With the right choices, educational leaders are closer to building an optimal learning experience for students, parents and teachers alike. Here's what you need to know about these tools today.

How new digital tools connect parents and teachers

Today's educational leaders have a wealth of tech options to support parent engagement in schools. These tools can do anything from alerting parents about school closures to translating report cards into preferred languages. They can even support deeper insight into a child's performance through detailed metrics.

These tools have helped chip away at long-standing obstacles, such as scheduling challenges and socioeconomic and language barriers, that have hampered parent engagement. For example, they've helped build bridges with young or lower-income parents who might be uncomfortable with the formality of traditional conferences, or who might not be able to get time off work. According to a 2021 Pew Research Center report, lower-income Americans and those with a high school education or less are more reliant on smartphones for online access.

At the same time, these tools give teachers more options and flexibility. Your teachers can continue conducting parent-teacher meetings through platforms like BlueJeans by Verizon and can use apps to send reminders about assignments or school events, such as fundraisers and science fairs.

Tools to help parents supervise the learning experience

In terms of specific tools, you have a wealth of options to encourage parent engagement in schools. Examples include ParentSquare, which is a unified platform that helps schools streamline communication between families and school staff; and Remind, which is a communication platform that helps educators, from teachers to superintendents, build relationships with families on any device and in any language.

Other tools, including apps and websites, help alleviate endless phone tag, stressful meetings and lack of insight into student progress to support and encourage parent engagement.

What productive parent engagement in schools looks like

Many educational leaders waiver on how to evaluate parental engagement, as they want to help ensure the optimal balance of parental engagement to support a child’s growth.

To help you evaluate your progress, some indications of positive parent engagement include:

  • Feedback moves quickly between parent and teacher.
  • Parents understand which assignments and activities are mandatory and which allow for flexibility.
  • Parents receive clear, measurable expectations for learning goals.
  • Parents and teachers agree on clear, measurable expectations for learning goals.
  • Children receive support based on their individual learning needs.

To gauge the results of parental involvement, you can set engagement metrics and evaluate trends in multiple ways, including surveys and questionnaires, attendance at events and meetings and communication habits. Additionally, keep an eye on grade trends, whether children are on track in skills and competency development.

Ultimately, you have a wealth of options to support parent engagement in schools, and with the right tools and technologies, you can help close the digital divide and connect with parents better than ever.

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