If my friends and I wanted to talk to each other at school, we either passed notes or had to impatiently wait until lunch or recess. If teachers and administrators needed to get in touch with our parents, they had to send home a note, call a landline and hope someone was at home and answered, or send a letter in the mail. Our parents would occasionally come to the school and meet with our teachers face to face for things like report card pickup or a fundraiser, but even those meetings were brief and non-substantial. Communication between parents and school faculty was rare and even when it did happen - it wasn’t easy.
That was then, though. It’s 2017 and believe it or not, we live in the future! In an instant, I can send goofy photos of myself with a filter that makes me look like a dog, and my friends can see it within a matter of seconds. I know exactly when my daughter reads (and sometimes ignores) the texts I send her. I scroll through hundreds of statuses, tweets, and Instagram posts and have up-to-the-minute news stories at my fingertips. What I’m trying to say is that unless you are actively seeking to dial back on social media and the Internet, every minute of every single day is spent plugged into the world wide web of communication. Doesn’t that sound like something from a sci-fi film?
Sadly, many in education haven’t caught up to 2017 in terms of communication between parents and school faculty. Part of my job training users on SchoolStatus products is learning about their current methods of communication with parents and while some are top-notch, others are still using methods that my grade school teachers had to use. What if I told you that the days of call-log filled binders, unopened emails, and infrequent communication with parents could be over?
Today, in 2017, communication with a school’s faculty and parents needs to be simple and easy. Using Channel by SchoolStatus allows faculty to quickly and easily send a text message to the parent who’s always too busy to take a call. More than likely, texting is something they’re doing frequently and they’ll be able to respond right away instead of having to schedule time for a meeting or conference. With Channel, placing a call is no longer hunting for a quiet spot in the teachers’ lounge and risking the exposure of your personal cellphone number. It is as simple as pressing a button, which automatically tracks the call and, if the option is available, records it. If you have the Dial app, you don’t even have to get onto your computer for calls -- it’s just like using your cell phone except it’s all magically tracked for you. Text messages, just like calls, are recorded and stored for compliance. No more logs, which means no more binders! That’s something every single teachers can appreciate. Making communication easy for everyone involved makes communication actually happen.
Communication between teachers and parents is absolutely critical to a student’s success. Now, these methods of engagement need to be simple and convenient for both teachers and parents. Let’s be honest - how many times have you ignored a call, but answered a text? That’s because it’s easy! When communication is made easy, parental responses and engagement will increase. If your methods of reaching out to parents are still the same as they were when you were in school, I encourage you to step into the bright, beautiful world of communication in 2017.
Melissa Ladner works hard bringing useful solutions to educators across the country. As a former classroom teacher, she understands the struggle, and importance, of parental engagment. Find out how you can #tossthelog HERE.