School-Home Communication

A new school year is beginning and now is the time to build a positive and proactive connection between school and home. Effective parent communication has been shown to increase test scores, lower drop out rates, and improve student behavior. To see the 15 Proven Effects of Parental Involvement read this article. For an expanded list of the impact of communication and do's and don'ts read this helpful article. For a free Home-to-School Connections Guide go to this Edutopia link.
For this challenge we will utilize Schoolwires to build an effective online presence and explore additional tech tools that can increase communication.
parent involvement.png

Part One: Schoolwires

Your web page is often the first line of communication for students and parents. Read this short article for 10 reasons you should have a website. We are fortunate to have a district platform for web pages so you should already have a page. This challenge will help ensure that your page is a bridge from school to home.
Our district requires the following items on each class page:
  • Contact Information
  • Welcome Message
  • Teacher Bio/Photograph
  • Course Description/Syllabus/Objectives (high school)
  • Homework Assignments
  • Classroom Rules and Policies

Your first step for this task is to make sure your page meets the minimum district requirements. There are two pages that we will add to make your web page even more helpful to parents and students.
1. Calendar
2. Student Work Page/ Class Blog

For more about parent communication and blogging watch this video.


Add a Calendar page to your website. On the calendar you will need to post the topics that you will be covering in class. If there are worksheets, study guides, vocabulary lists, etc that you want students to have available attach the file to the calendar. You can even post presentations after they have been used so that students can refer to them as they study. Be sure to add due dates, dates of tests, and when forms are due back to school. This will help eliminate questions from absent students, allow parents to reinforce school learning, and decrease questions.
Add a page to display student work or create a class blog. A student work page can display products from projects or pictures from class activities. If you use pictures of students remember to make sure the student has a signed media release form on file and only use first names. For a class blog you can write short posts detailing class activities, projects, celebrations, upcoming activities and any other news you would like to share with parents.

Assignment, Part One:
When you have updated your site to include the district requirements and the two new pages for this challenge, post a link to your page on Edmodo.

Part Two: Communication Tools

There are many tools available today that can increase school-home communication. For your challenge you will use at least one of these tools for your classroom.

1. Group Texting: Group texting services like Cel.ly and Remind 101 allow you to send text reminders or news to parents or students without sharing phone numbers. You could text reminders of due dates, homework assignments and more. Text is the preferred communication for many people and it does not require them to have internet access. This is a 6 minute tutorial for Remind 101. Cel.ly has a page just for schools.
2. QR Codes: Now that your web page is updated, it is time to advertise. Create a QR Code that links to your school page using a QR Code generator like this or this. Display the QR Code with short instructions on your door for parent night, on a business card, on your parent letter or anywhere else parents will see it. For an introduction to QR codes try this article.
3. Polling: Teachers often wish that they could contact parents for feedback, polling tools make this a possibility. Use Cel.ly, Doodle Poll, Poll Everywhere or Schoolwires to survey parents.
4. Edmodo: Did you know parents can have Edmodo accounts? If you use Edmodo with your students,encourage parents to join your group.
5. Instagram: Create an Instagram account for your classroom. Take pictures or let students take pictures to document your classroom activities. You can make your account private and share the link with parents.
6. AudioBoo: Use AudioBoo to record audio clips 3 minutes or less. These clips can summarize the days activities, upcoming announcements or any other news parents need to know. Better yet, have your students write and record the audio clips.
7. Mentormob: This site allows you to create a virtual "playlist" that can include links, videos or other media related to topics you are studying in class. Teacher or student created playlists can be shared to help with homework.
8. Smore: Smore is a site that allows you to create online newsletters quickly and easily. The newsletters can be linked or embedded to share easily with parents or post on your website.
9. Beeclip: This site is a virtual scrapbooking site similar to Glogster. Student or teacher created pages can include photos, links, text, graphics and audio.
Assignment, Part Two:
After trying one of these tools post a comment on Edmodo indicating the tool you tried, how you plan to use it this year, and any reactions from students or parents.

Are you ready to Level Up?

Try these tasks for more practice.
+1 for each parent that signs up for your group text page at Orientation or Parent Night
+1 Create a QR code for your school's home page to display in or near the office
+1 for each additional text sent using the group service
+1 for each additional piece of student work displayed on your page
+1 for reaching 50 site visits to your school page
+1 for each compliment you receive from a parent or student for your web page
+1 for each parent that joins Edmodo
+2 for each additional blog post written on your blog page
+5 for scheduling an automatic reminder in your Outlook calendar to update your web page
+5 for trying an additional communication tool