With all the technology being used inside the classroom today, it is amazing how little technology is used outside the classroom to maximize (and automate) communications between parents and schools. Parents are still being buried with flyers, calendars, forms and information requests.
Following are five ways schools can engage parents by eliminating redundant, unnecessary communications and paring them down into concise doses of information that parents can digest much more easily.
- Stop those long winded newsletters (studies report that 85% of recipients will not open them). They take time to compile, format and distribute. No one is reading them!
- Automate all forms and make them available online and in one place. There are tools that can help you do this. As many forms as possible should be made available online with self-populating fields so that parents don’t have to re-enter addresses and phone numbers over and over again.
- Streamline and simplify websites. If parents have to go digging, they simply won’t. Trim your website down to only the essential information. Check your analytics and find out which pages are not being used. Eliminate them.
- Exchange long communications and emails for short reminders and alerts. The less text intensive they are, the more likely they will be read.
- Make as much information available on mobile phones as possible. That doesn’t mean bombarding parents with text messages and emails. This is 2014. There are apps available to make it easy and intuitive!
The bottom line is that schools need to find ways of communicating with parents that fit their lifestyles. Take the time to investigate solutions available to schools. They do not have to be expensive and tedious to implement. Centralizing and streamlining your communications with parents will improve your relationship with them and make your school more competitive.