New data reveals parents' school communication preferences
- New data released from the Speak Up Research Project reveals that parents need convenient methods of communication and prefer to have information pushed to them via email or texts rather than having to search for it on social media and websites, eSchool News reports.
- About 95% of parents surveyed said they had some form of smartphone, regardless of income level, and though 69% said they often use Facebook, only 16% consider it an effective way to provide school-related information.
- Parents want to know more about their child’s education including recommendations about forms of technology and applications they can use at home to support learning, the types of technology and workplace skills their child is exposed to at school, and how to connect with teachers to improve their child’s education experience.
Most teachers and school leaders understand the importance of developing parents as allies in the educational process. However, this process, like most strategies, requires good communication — not only at parent-teacher conferences, but throughout the year. Parents who are informed about class assignments, test dates and student progress on a regular basis are more likely to feel engaged in the process and to help students make sure work is accomplished on time. Regular email communication or communication through parent portals can help bridge the gap between home and classroom.
School districts also need to be aware of the most effective forms of communication in order to be as transparent as possible with parents and other stakeholders. Modern technology has made the communication process much easier, but the wide array of communication methods available sometimes makes it harder to choose which options to follow. School districts need to be responsive to the needs and preferences of parents as they develop or update their school district communication strategies.
Many school districts tend to post recent news on Facebook pages, since it is often the easiest way to disseminate information to the school community. However, this recent research seems to indicate that many parents do not find this to be an effective way to communicate. The problem may not be the number of parents who see the posts, but they way they respond to it. In 2011, a report by the National School Public Relations Association concluded that "social media may be seen as 'too social', lacking in credibility for official school information.”