State College, Pennsylvania, Sept. 4, 2013 — To help districts engage with parents more deeply this new school year, Schoolwires is hosting a Symposium on Parent Engagement on October 22. The online event will include presentations by Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow®, Dr. Karen Mapp, director of the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and administrators from K-12 districts across the country.
“Today’s digital parents have different expectations when it comes to the effective use of technology in the classroom and school-to-home communications,” said Evans. “These expectations are driving change in the way school districts engage parents to support student success. Yet too many districts still rely primarily on one-way information sharing that falls short of parent expectations.”
Administrators can learn effective new strategies for communicating with digital parents during the online Symposium on Parent Engagement on Oct. 22 from 11 am to 4 pm CT. Presenters will include:
• Dr. Karen Mapp, director of the Education Policy and Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will deliver a keynote on Family Engagement Research. Mapp is one of the nation’s leading experts in educational leadership and partnerships among educators, families and community members that support student achievement. Her keynote will help attendees better understand how to build capacity for families to become more engaged and the specific components LEAs and schools need to create successful family engagement initiatives.
• Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, will summarize the latest research from the Speak Up National Project around the “New Digital Parent” and explain the impact this group has on school district communication, 21st century learning, and family outreach plans.
• Bernie Rhinerson, former Chief of Staff at San Diego Unified School District, will discuss leveraging mobile apps and social communications to reach tweeting, texting digital parents.
• A panel of administrators from K-12 districts will discuss their family engagement programs. The panel includes Mary Wegner, Assistant Superintendent, Sitka Schools, Alaska; Steven Anderson, Director of Instructional Technology, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, North Carolina; John Schreck, Webmaster, Riverside Unified School District, California; and Christine Corliss, District Webmaster/Publicity Coordinator, Caldwell-West Caldwell Schools, New Jersey.
Attendees can register for the Symposium on Parent Engagement at the Schoolwires website.
“Engaging parents is critical not only to the success of an individual student, but also to the overall improvement of schools,” said Christiane Crawford, President and Chief Executive Officer, Schoolwires. “In addition to discovering new communication strategies, participants in the symposium will learn about critical research on digital parents and family engagement, and how they impact student success.”
To complement the online symposium, Schoolwires partnered with Project Tomorrow to create a companion Administrator’s Guide to Reaching Digital Parents. The guide includes findings from the 2012 Speak Up National Research Project that tracks interest in the use of emerging technologies to address the specific needs of K-12 students, parents and educators. Among the most noteworthy findings of the survey is the importance of effective school-to-home communications as a way to engage parents in the learning process. However, a quarter of school and district administrators (26 percent) see effective communications with parents as a major challenge today. The guide will help administrators better understand today’s digital parents, and provide best practices that districts can model to better engage parents to support student achievement. The guide can be downloaded in advance of the symposium at the Schoolwires website.
Schoolwires, Inc. provides a suite of technology products and related services to more than 1,500 educational entities, including K-12 school districts and schools in the United States and China. The company’s technologies are designed to foster community, student, teacher and parent engagement in the classroom, locally and internationally. Its solutions include an integrated website and content management system, a safe social learning and networking system, a family of mobile solutions, and an enterprise technology platform. Schoolwires brings together a district’s essential technologies, information, and content to effectively engage the K-12 community in support of district and student success. The company currently serves an estimated 10 million users and has been recognized as one of the top privately held education companies for the seventh consecutive year by Inc. magazine. Schoolwires was incorporated on April 5, 2000 and is headquartered in State College with offices in Beijing, China.
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