November is National Parent Engagement Month, as well as the school year’s first parent-teacher conferences for many districts. With the focus on parent relationships, it’s an ideal time to recognize families' vital role in their student’s academic and overall success.
When schools foster connections and build stronger relationships with families, student absenteeism is reduced by 40%. And, according to the American Psychological Association, in a supportive and caring home environment with engaged parents, students are “less likely to become involved in substance abuse, violence, and other problem behaviors.
Other positive results of parent engagement and involvement:
- Students earn higher grades and do better on tests when parents are involved
- Meaningful family engagement has a positive impact on both academic achievement and mental and behavioral health
- Teachers report significant changes in their classrooms around student motivation, behavior, and attendance when families help ensure students attend class, encourage and support learning at home, and regularly communicate with school staff
While engagement can take many forms, at its core is the fundamental principle that regular, ongoing contact through two-way communication between schools and families builds a relationship where each relies on the other as a valuable resource.
The Challenge with Communication Technology
According to the 2023 Education Focus Report, seven in 10 educators agree that they have streamlined technology to update parents on student progress and keep open lines of communication. Yet seven in 10 parents say they have to toggle between two and six tech platforms to access the information they need about their students. Yet, at the same time, the Pew Research Center reports that 30% of schools still do not have an electronic notification system for school-wide emergencies.
Many caretakers complain that too many systems are involved in understanding how their student is doing and communicating with educators. The proliferation of technology has motivated districts to consolidate tools or partners who offer multiple solutions in one tool.
Many districts have too many tools with too specific uses. For example, they need tools that handle learning updates, communication at home, and track attendance all in one. It is not unordinary for districts to use multiple technology platforms across grade spans (elementary, middle, high) and communicate with families through all three, depending on the ages of the families’ children.
That’s why schools need a trusted, easy-to-use communication platform that makes it simple to reach every parent or guardian in multiple channels, including voice, text, email, and social media messaging. A dedicated communication tool can integrate with your other core edtech tools and simplify engagement, removing the need for parents to toggle between multiple tools for communication needs. With one communication tool, schools can:
- Centralize access to communication and emergency messaging tools
- Increase efficiency and security with trusted, time-saving integrations
- Elevate family engagement with two-way messaging
- Unify communications across devices and platforms
How Technology Impacts Family Communication
With a comprehensive communication platform, educators are better empowered to improve student attendance and reduce chronic student absenteeism. A communication tool can integrate with your attendance intervention and management tool to automatically send attendance notifications and inform families about daily and period absences.
Communication technology can also integrate with MTSS software to get families involved in interventions, which helps parents feel a sense of belonging in the school community and become more willing to partner with the school team to meet their student’s needs. Educators and counselors can build true family-school partnerships by increasing family engagement as part of MTSS initiatives.
Schools can involve families by creating communication channels with the student’s teacher for:
- Any concerns they may have
- Additional insight into their student’s learning and development
- Guidance for assisting with identified interventions at home
With a trusted communication platform, educators are better equipped to increase overall family engagement and boost the impact of MTSS.
Prioritizing Family-School Connections
Making family engagement a top priority is worthwhile on multiple levels. It's clear that strong family-school connections significantly impact student success, attendance, and well-being. While too many technology solutions can pose challenges, a dedicated communication platform can streamline interactions, enhance family engagement, and ultimately foster a more supportive learning environment for students.