Should you treat your school like a business?

As parents have more choices regarding where their children go to school, some districts are beginning to view students and parents as “customers” — with surprising results

The idea of treating students, parents and the school community as customers isn’t an entirely new one, but it’s still one that makes some school leaders balk. After all, schools are institutions of learning, and traditionally, they have not been thought of as businesses.

But with the growth of charter schools and online schools, parents have other options to explore if their child’s school does not meet expectations — and when students leave, so, too, does funding.

And in an effort to increase parental engagement and ensure that parents and community members feel as though they are part of their children’s school, the newly-passed Every Student Succeeds Act includes multiple methods to increase parental engagement, including expanded accessibility, regular two-way communication, and enhanced parent and family engagement policies.

Some district leaders are taking action to make sure their students, parents and community members know that they are respected and valued.

Companies such as K12 Insight are meeting school districts halfway, helping school leaders forge strong relationships with teachers, students and parents.

Using Engage, a survey tool, and Let’s Talk, a communication management dashboard, K12 Insight arms school districts with the communication tools necessary to solicit feedback from stakeholders and to track progress in addressing that feedback or answering questions.

In Indiana’s Fort Wayne Community Schools, Superintendent Wendy Robinson knew the district needed to change the conversation it had with teachers, staff, parents and students.

Next page: 3 ways the district boosted communication and made stakeholders feel they are valued

Laura Ascione

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