Now that school has been in session for about a month, many schools are in the process of organizing their first round of parent/teacher conferences. Scheduling parent conferences can be a cumbersome process. Many schools continue to use low-tech methods, such as newsletters, sign-up sheets, or paper notices sent home in student folders. Even sending emails can be hit or miss, relying upon parents to spot the email, open it and navigate through a list of available times. Some of the biggest complaints from parents are:

  • Never receiving notice of upcoming conferences, due to lost papers, or missed emails.
  • Lack of flexibility in scheduling; you get assigned a time and that’s it!
  • No parent reminder or alert system is integrated with their cell phones.
  • No way of changing an existing meeting or alerting a teacher if they are running late.

Parents, very much like their children, are a hand’s reach away from their smartphones all day long. Why isn’t mobile technology being used to inform, alert, remind, and communicate with parents? It’s no wonder that so many parents are “no shows” at teacher meetings. Administrators and Principals need to create mobile pre-meeting and post-meeting touch points which will keep parents involved and eager to communicate, allowing schools to engage and build parent relationships on more than a single level. The old argument that these applications are expensive and hard to deploy no longer holds water. A competitive marketplace has produced highly affordable apps that are easy for teachers and administrators to set up, and even easier for parents to download!

The goal for school parent/teacher conferences should be to have the parents involved in the conferences long before they occur and keep them engaged long after the conference has ended. In today’s world, nothing is more effective to achieve this than using mobile technology to establish a two-way conversation with parents where you know you can reach them: on their smartphones! Relying upon forms, emails and other ‘old school’ methods of communicating will systematically exclude a large percentage of new millennial parents who are ready and willing to engage — their way.