Why doesn't anyone answer the phone anymore? Did you know that telephone culture is slowly disappearing despite a steep increase in smartphone users around the world? That is because people find other mediums of communication far more enticing and welcoming. With the growth in social era, even text messages are becoming obsolete. Before we jump to the 10 awesome ways to engage with parents, it is important to understand the reason for the shift in communication style and mobile usage.
Text messages or calls do not have the trending emojis, gifs, bitmojis, picture sharing option or videos for that matter. Features that get people excited about. Therefore they turn to platforms such as whatsapp, facebook or other social media platforms and slack for example for work communication.
In order to reach parents and engage with them effectively, as a school, you need to be seen where they are - in the digital space.
So how can schools foster collaboration and increase school engagement with parents?
Get in touch to praise
As schools, the only time we reach out to parents is when there is a complaint or an issue that we would like to bring to their notice. So every time a parent hears the phone ring or get a message on your school management software, they are reluctant to see and respond. Instead, make it a habit to look at the positives of the students and regularly reach out to them to see how their child is doing. A good way to do this will be by sending messages using your school app and reach them on their mobile. School apps are a great way to increase school engagement.
Share daily experiences
Parents like to know how the day of their child went at school. They are anxious and concerned and would like nothing but the best for them. So when you send them daily reports using a school management software, they can see them at their leisure but also get notified the moment the report reaches them on their phone. Parents also appreciate the effort you put in to keep them in the loop.
Now when we say effort, this does not have to be an additional task or a manual work to add on to your existing routine. If your school has their app on ONNE, you will be able to use the ready to use daily report template in few minutes. The system is designed intelligently to reduce effort and save school’s time.
Show you genuinely care
As teachers or school owners, you are doing what you do because of the passion and love for teaching and helping a child have an overall development. Sometimes you get carried away with so much work that parents need not know how much of effort you actually put in. It ends up looking like more of a job. Ask questions about children and show you genuinely care about them, beyond just the curriculum. This can be in the form of feedback questions you have and they can simply answer it.
You can use the posts and alerts section on school app on ONNE to send messages to them at any time. You will also get notified with the response. The best part is that, unlike chat, you don't have to keep scrolling for replies. In your school management software, you will be able to see these sorted in section, providing structure to your communication. This will help you respond to them quickly and make them feel important.
Entice them to engage
Who doesn't want to important? By working closely with your student’s parents, asking for feedback, opinion, advice, they are more open to the idea of sharing what they feel is important and you will gain tons of knowledge on rooms of improvement for your school. Entice them to engage with you by organising various events in schools. Now do not sweat about the coordination and administrative effort that goes into it.
ONNE app provides events function in your school management software for you to create an event, invite parents, see RSVP, remind them, share location and more.You don't have to use multiple platforms or apps or websites to do all of this. Just one app.
The beauty about using a school app is that, parents get real time updates, knowing how their child’s day progressed or about an upcoming event. But you can also create opportunities to increase involvement between students and parents. By sharing homework assignment on ONNE, parents will be able to see what homework needs to be completed, students once finished can notify them and parents can mark assignment as complete. This helps in improving parent child bonding and will add a lot of goodwill to your school.
With the help of various templates on ONNE, schools can make use of them and create reports in a jiffy.
Also, alerts go every time you share something with the parents, reaching them on their phone in real time.
Think about partnerships
Imagine typing up with a local sports academy and creating opportunities for your students to not only have an active lifestyle but grab a student discount because they study in your school? Parents will appreciate the effort your school puts in beyond just curriculum.
Get them involved in your school routine
Identify one or two active parents and bring them in. Get them to manage a class one day or be a student along with other students for a day. This brings in a lot of fun element and at the same time, they get to be closer to their child for a day, getting hands on experience on how their day goes. It also makes them feel important and to brag about to their friends and family, which can create more awareness about your school. Think about such activities, may be once a month to engage with them.
Keep communication active
As a school I am sure you have enough happenings to share. But it takes time, effort and a lot of planning to do that. By using a school management software such as ONNE, you can send various reports, schedules, mark attendance, share posts, alerts and more with ease. Be it about an upcoming annual day or parent teacher meeting or a science fair, you can have all that shared using your school app in few clicks.
Be open to criticism
It is understandable that this is difficult and as schools we all thing that we are giving out best. But sometimes it will be good to open up the floor for criticisms. By asking parents to point out the negatives, it helps you see which areas needs to be improved to run the school better. A happy parents when she knows is heard, will become a brand advocate to promote your school That is free publicity, increased goodwill and lot more admissions
Lastly, but most importantly,
Understand where parents are coming from. They are just like any of us. Their stress, anxiety or worry will be for the concern they have for their child. Listen to them. Understand their concerns. See how you can address it with a balanced perspective. When they feel you are easily approachable, they will open up and also be convinced that their child is in the right place. Running a school is beyond providing education. It is about teaching kids empathy, love, camaraderie and more. Where else can it be taught better than in you school?