Increasingly, district leaders are incorporating video into school-home communication. Many districts that tried video options out of necessity during the pandemic are seeing the benefits that video can provide for parent engagement and are expanding video options even as schools are back to in-person instruction.
Districts are finding that using video can improve school-home communication by making the process of engagement easier for parents. Video options can help with:
- Removing barriers to school-home communication.
- Providing educators with real-time connections with students’ families without the hassles of gathering everyone in the same location.
- Reaching parents who might be hard to engage otherwise. If a parent is working two jobs, doesn’t have access to transportation, or would have other barriers to coming to an in-person meeting, a video call can make the process easier for a parent.
- An overall shift in individuals’ behaviors and technological skills to rely on video tools.
Here are five tips for school leaders who want to incorporate video into their school-home communication strategies.
1. Make Connecting Simple: Choose Easy-to-Use Technology for Parent Teacher Communication
The more steps parents are asked to take to use new technology in your district, the less chance you have to get them to adopt it and use it to build relationships. When offering video options, make connecting as simple as possible for parents. Avoid choosing a program that requires a separate app to download. Give parents the option to connect to video meetings with an easy-to-use link. Making connecting easy and user-friendly will help lead to more positive interactions and calls. When the technology is difficult to use or requires too many steps, it can lead to negative views on your district’s video options and impact participation.
2. Leverage Data in Calls with Parents to Help Them Understand How Their Child is Doing and Set Shared Goals
During video calls, teachers can have the student’s record available and can share it on the screen to help parents understand how their child is doing. Incorporating student-specific data can be useful during the conversation to build a bridge between school and home and make parents feel part of the process as stakeholders. According to the Pew Research Center, many K-12 parents are concerned about the pandemic’s impact on their children’s education. In a recent survey, 61 percent of parents reported that they felt the first year of the pandemic had a negative impact on their child’s education. Sharing data and discussing it together can help parents understand how their child is doing and empower them to be part of the academic recovery process.
3. Use Screen Sharing and Visuals to Enhance Calls
Visuals can help enhance school-home communication, and using video can provide more flexibility for communicating information with parents. Video can allow an educator to share a screen during a meeting with parents to explain topics like test scores or a student’s academic progress, or attendance, or other data. Having options for screen sharing and visuals can make the meeting more engaging and productive for both parents and teachers.
4. Enable Recording and Logging to Save Teachers Time on Documentation
Teachers are balancing a lot every day and are often stretched thin. Using video meetings can cut down on the need for manual logging and documentation, which saves teachers’ time. Automatic logging of communication history can lighten the workloads of teachers. Today’s video tools can allow for an automated parent teacher communication log with recording and documentation, allowing teachers to focus on helping students.
5. Meet Parents Where They Are: Use Video as Part of a Variety of Options for Communication
Video should be included as part of a variety of options for engaging parents. Not all parents will want to use video chat options. By incorporating flexible options that meet parents where they are, such as calls, texts, emails, video, and in-person communication opportunities, K-12 schools can build and strengthen strong school-home relationships.
For parent-teacher conferences and other education-focused meetings, offering video meetings can be a great way to engage more parents in K-12 education. Video calls that are automatically recorded and stored alongside student data and communication records can also make documentation of meetings easier on teachers, allowing them to spend more time teaching and helping students. Using video for school-home communication can support schools’ efforts to engage parents as stakeholders in helping K-12 students have better academic outcomes.
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