- Continually train teachers on the platform’s new features. Teachers are very busy and don’t always have the time to try to figure out the inner workings of a new technology. They want to be shown the tools and how to use them effectively in the classroom. Early on we did a good job getting people on the platform and showing them how to post and direct message. Now, we want them to keep coming back to learn about new features, like permission forms, Secure Document Delivery, and so forth.
- Lay out the framework for success. To other schools that want to get the biggest value from their school-home communication platforms, I’d suggest mapping out all the platform’s features on the front end and then create a timeline for rolling out each of those functionalities. For example, before school starts, you could train teachers how to create a post and have everyone actually create a post by a given date; approximately four weeks later, as you near the time of progress reports, train personnel in how to use Document Delivery; a few weeks later, as you approach the time for parent-teacher conferences, show everyone how to do signups. Set up “help desk” tables at open houses and other events that parents attend, knowing that they might need some help and encouragement using the platform and/or app. It’s not difficult to use, but providing that instruction is always easier when you have a captive audience.
Pulling it All Together
Today, we’re better able to provide support because we’re using one tool. We’re not maintaining multiple tools and different platforms, which means we can provide even more support to our parents and our internal staff. For example, our IT team is now freed up to work on more important tasks than having to troubleshoot across numerous different platforms.
At the end of the day, there has to be a partnership between the school and parents in order for the needs of our children to be met. If we’re going to have that strong partnership, we need strong lines of open, honest, transparent, and respectful two-way communication.
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