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Communicate with Parents Digitally
March 1, 2019
Teachers are always on the lookout for innovative ways to contact parents. Now, with access to a wealth of online tools, teachers can efficiently and effectively communicate. Consider utilizing one of these three powerful resources.
Text Message Reminders. Ensure that all parents know of tonight’s homework, tomorrow’s test, the permission slip deadline, or whatever important reminder you have. Remind 101 is an efficient way for teachers to digitally communicate with parents (and students) for free. It’s a one-way text that students/parents cannot reply to. This text message is private–no phone numbers or email addresses can be seen by anyone on the list. Click to view a tutorial on how to set it up for your classroom.
Virtual Scheduling. Using a simple online group sign-up, post your parent-teacher conference schedule. Avoid playing phone tag. Omit the handwritten notes to and from parents. Even disband the back and forth emails. Virtual scheduling allows parents to see your available time slots and sign up for what works best for them. Free sites you might want to check out include:
Embrace Social Media. With the number of Facebook users reaching 2.38 billion and Twitter active accounts at 330 million, it’s likely your students’ parents are already regular users. For that reason, start a classroom Facebook page or classroom Twitter feed. This is a great avenue for sharing your parent newsletter, featuring creative lessons, explaining class projects, even posting snapshots of assignment notebooks.
Administrators could utilize HootSuite to expand their reach to parents/guardians across the district. Not only can pertinent information be relayed to parents in a timely manner, but administrators can schedule posts to go out at certain times.
Sending out announcements on multiple platforms will cause parents to be overloaded with information, thus not feeling the urgency to read the announcements.
Schedule & contact using ClassTag. Rebecca May, third grade teacher at General Shanks Elementary (Portland, IN) shared ways she uses the ClassTag app. The app has been a great tool for her and for her students’ families.
- Each week, the app allows her to upload the weekly newsletter on Sunday to give parents an idea of what the class would be working on that week.
- The app lets Rebecca see how many parents viewed the document and which parents viewed it.
- For classroom parties, ClassTag helps to get everything organized. Rebecca shares the dates, times, and requested items, and parents select which items they will bring.
- The app allows everyone to view who signed up for each item.
- Then, the app automatically sends out an email to those parents to remind them what they said they would bring.
- When it’s time for parent conferencing, Rebecca sets up the schedule, and parents choose which time and day works best for them.
- Other parents are able to see which time slots are available and can select from the remaining times.
- No more paper shuffling and resending notes! This was Rebecca’s favorite tool in the app.
- To communicate with parents, ClassTag allows individual and group messaging.
Dr. Flora Reichanadter, superintendent of Franklin Township Schools and HootSuite user, provides a valuable tip–“Be conscious of achieving a balance in the frequency of posts to parents. Post too much and they won’t follow you any longer. Don’t post often enough, and parents don’t see the need to follow you.”
Article originally posted October 24, 2013. Updated in spring 2019 to keep abreast with current online trends and availability.