As the principal and the leader of this school community, I’m expected to set the tone for home and school communication by reaching out directly to parents, and also by modeling this behavior for my teaching staff. I am building bridges between the school and families, and also showing teachers how to do the same on the classroom level. School leaders need to lead not only the education of students, but also the education of teachers and parents.
I use Bloomz nearly every day to post candid pictures of the kids (and sometimes selfies) for parents to see. It’s amazing how something so simple has gotten such an exceptionally positive reaction from parents. They love to see a glimpse of what their child is doing throughout the day. Nothing can beat seeing a picture of your child’s face pop up on your phone while you’re at work.
I also use the app to send reminders about special events and request supplies for school-wide activities. For example, one day at 9:00 a.m. I posted a request for root beer float supplies for our 50’s Day. Before 2:00 p.m., parents had delivered more than 500 cups, 20 gallons of ice cream, 10 two liter bottles of root beer, and 500 spoons were delivered to my office.
The Future of Communication
Parents want to be partners in the education of their children. The idea that parents don’t have time to get involved with their child’s school, or don’t care about their child’s education, is a myth.
Max Larsen had more than 200 students represented at our 2016 Data Night and more than 95 percent represented at our parent teacher conferences.
Since the dawn of smartphones, we are used to receiving information immediately, we get updates sent automatically our phones for nearly anything, and when we have a question, we expect to find answers with just a few taps on our screen.
When it comes to technology, I believe content is the key to success. We need to share a steady stream of classroom updates and useful information, while at the same time making sure that parents are seeing only the most relevant posts, so they don’t become desensitized. This balance will be crucial in maintaining families’ enthusiasm for school participation.
Our school culture at Max Larsen Elementary is in the midst of a communication revolution, and Bloomz is a huge part of that. Parents are starting to see that communication can be quick, effective, and accessible.
When it comes to our students, we feel it’s our responsibility to get families as involved as possible, so students have the best chance for success.