Regular family-teacher communication can improve student outcomes and boost engagement with parents and guardians. Read on to learn why and how!
It’s well-established that the more families are involved in a student’s education, the better the success for that child. This principle isn’t limited only to academic results — improved family-teacher communication and family engagement also leads to improved student behavior. When families know there is a problem at school, they can work at home to fix the issue. Without being told, some families may not realize there is a problem at school period.
Family-Teacher Communication Boosts Parent and Guardian Engagement
Administrators and educators strive to maintain a healthy communication between school and home. As families engage with schools regarding behavior, school culture improves. And so does student achievement. But it takes a fair amount of the teacher’s time to keep parents and guardians informed of their child’s behavior. Using modern communication technologies, you can alleviate that time burden. Studies show the benefits of using technology to engage with families:
There are still significant challenges for schools to boost parent/guardian engagement and promote a positive school environment:
- Volume of communications. Like white noise, the effectiveness of communications falls drastically as the volume increases. Families and teachers can’t keep up with the array of school communications that arrive alongside the normal, everyday barrage of marketing and personal messages.
- Complicated reports. When reports from the school aren’t easily digestible, families and teachers can’t understand them. This results in delayed reactions and sometimes inaction.
- Communications aren’t always received. Not every family has access to the same communication tools. Families with lower incomes or from disadvantaged groups get left outside the loop due to lack of internet access at home.
To be successful in communicating with families, schools must meet these challenges — no matter what communication tools they use.
What Research Teaches Us About Parent/Guardian Engagement
There’s a lot to be learned from the studies done at Harvard and the NCA Journal to improve family engagement. Here’s what we observed:
- Due to the prevalence of smartphones, schools should use mobile technology, such as texting or mobile apps, as the primary source of communication.
- Family-teacher communication needs to be specific rather than general in nature.
- Teacher-to-parent/guardian communication needs to include both the negative and positive aspects of a student’s behavior.
- Schools need to use a variety of communication channels so they can “reach parents from all economic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.”
Direct Messaging Between Teachers and Families
Family-teacher communication is the bridge to creating strong partnerships between educators and families. Involving a family in their child’s academic life sends a clear message: you value them. You welcome their feedback. Fortunately, in the age of technology, family-teacher communication is easier than ever. And SchoolMint has two platforms that can help.
Schoolrunner by SchoolMint
Schoolrunner offers 1:1 messaging so that teachers, parents, and guardians can communicate through the platform. With Schoolrunner, families don’t need to wait for a parent-teacher conference to get an idea of their child’s progress. Schoolrunner features a web-based portal that gives families a holistic, real-time view of their child’s day at school.
Keep an eye out for one of Schoolrunner’s most exciting updates: automatic translation of messages sent between teachers and parents/guardians in the user’s native language.
SchoolMint Hero is another avenue for educators and families alike to improve student behavior and promote a positive school climate. Hero makes family-teacher communication seamless. Teachers can initiate conversations with parents and guardians, who can opt in to push notifications, so behavior updates are given in real time. Families can log in at any time to see much of the same data analytics that teachers see, but at a high-level view. These reports show what matters most concerning a student’s behavior, both positive and negative, all at a glance.
Schoolrunner and SchoolMint Hero as platforms encourage family-teacher involvement in a way that feels more like collaboration — a way in which the school and family are partners in each student’s success.