3 often overlooked, but completely logical, ways to effectively engage parents

With the help of a social learning management platform, Hillsborough County has seen parent engagement soar.

Here are three secrets to our success in using a social learning management platform to boost student and parent engagement.

1. Convenience
If the system isn’t easy to use, the stakeholders won’t use it. It’s that simple. So, it’s important to choose a platform that is easily accessible to staff, parents, and students, no matter what technology they have available.
As we searched for a new system, we kept access top of mind as a key factor in our purchasing decision. It’s important that users can log in from any web browser or mobile operating system. For some families, a desktop computer might not be readily available at home, so mobile functionality can encourage greater engagement.
Be sure to communicate these functionalities to parents and students. To limit any hesitation parents might have in using the new technology, inform them of the ease of use and of all of the places they can access the platform.

2. Consistency
If teachers aren’t updating the system and communicating with stakeholders on a regular basis, then parents and students have no reason to check it. School and district leaders must set clear expectations for how often, and in what manner, their teachers should be using the social learning management system to post grades or assignments and otherwise engage with stakeholders.

3. Community
Think beyond grades and homework information when targeting parent communications. Give parents a reason to talk to students about classwork when they are at home. For example, teachers might share an image or video of a student project with comments to parents.

Additionally, teachers can create groups for internal class discussions and collaboration. This way, students can continue classroom conversations beyond the school day and build social learning communities that their parents can connect with them about.

To create a real community within a classroom and among a district, educators need to think beyond the immediate teacher-student dynamic and consider how to loop parents in. By keeping parent needs top of mind in the use of an LMS, schools can build the bridge from the school day to home life.

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