Engaging with parents and families is one of the highest priorities when it comes to education. Parent involvement can lead to better funding and higher grade averages. However, it can be difficult to foster that district/parent relationship when there are so many families to reach out to. We came up with 8 tips to strengthen your relationship to your school community and increase parent involvement!
SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are great tools to create surveys to send home via email. Ask parents about their interest in volunteering, what kind of events they’re interested in, and how many times per semester they can volunteer. That way, you can set your expectations appropriately and have a general idea on who is responsive in the community.
Most emails looking for volunteers or meeting attendees are met with the classic “are you going to this?” text to another parent. That’s because many parents don’t feel like their presence is necessary. In emails going home to families, highlight the importance of parent help and exactly why you need them there.
Parent volunteers are crucial to any school activity, but communication between districts and parents should be much more frequent. For example, maybe newsletters highlighting upcoming events and student achievements is right for your district!
Email is often seen as a formal way of communication. To build further trust and rapport with your school families in a casual setting, social media is a great tool. There are lots of creative ways to reach families through social media, like hosting a weekly “Teacher Takeover” on Instagram where you pick one teacher to post all week long about what’s going on in their classroom. Parents with a child in that class will surely tune in! Set a certain amount of time every day to answer messages and reply to comments on social media so families can see you’re active, listening, and engaged. But be warned, unmonitored social media can get ugly fast. Shut down any arguments and any overly negative comments as soon as you see them, but make sure to leave room for suggestions and critical comments too!
The best way to increase parent involvement and retain current volunteers is to prove that their voices matter. After every school function, send an email back to the volunteers asking about their experience, how you can improve, what they would do differently, and if they would volunteer for an event like this in the future.
Who’s representing the district matters to your school families. Holding a “Meet the District Leaders” breakfast, luncheon, or coffee break is a great way to personally introduce yourself. The goal here is to put names to faces and establish yourself as someone who genuinely cares about the district.
We know you’re busy, so you couldn’t possibly get resources together yourself. But when you see something parents might want to know online, like how to Talk to Your Kids about Current Events or a Back-to-School Checklist, send it out! It shows you care about their child’s well-being.
Make back-to-school easy for parents by letting them know exactly what their child needs. They can leave the guess work at home! Learn more about the benefits of uploading your district’s back-to-school lists here.