George Lucas Educational Foundation

Connecting School & Home

Connecting School & Home

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What helps you foster good communication between home and school? I'm looking for suggestions of technology tools, strategies, and resources that lead to strong connections and productive dialogue about everything from homework help to resource needs for the classroom. We'll be sharing your best ideas in an upcoming Edutopia guide. Thanks in advance for your suggestions! ~Suzie

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Suzie Boss's picture
Suzie Boss
Journalist and PBL advocate

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for your ideas. I especially like the suggestion of a parent team to support projects. Great way to let parents see the value of PBL, too.

Dayna LAur's picture

Suzie -

Edmodo is a great tool for use in the classroom, as well as the perfect way to involve parents in class communications, discussions, and tracking projects. Edmodo creates a class space that allows for discussions, polling of students, uploading of documents, the creation of a class calendar, tagging of sites, and much more. A parent can join the site by receiving the class code. Thus, the parent now has access to all of the materials, due dates, important links, and can join in on the online discussions. They also now have insight into class forums so that they may discuss them with their child. (A great dinnertime conversation starter!)

Edmodo has a wonderful support team that is willing to answer questions almost immediately and they are always working on improving the site. The best part is that it is a Web 2.0 tool that is designed for education and it is free. There are no ads and it is a safe space that helps to teach students about proper social networking etiquette. Additionally, it is a building block for teaching students how to create their own personal learning networks.


Suzie Boss's picture
Suzie Boss
Journalist and PBL advocate

Hi Dayna,
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm a fan of Edmodo, but hadn't thought about using it to give parents a window into the school day. Great idea!

Sara Carter's picture

This is one huge area...
Are we discussing the methods one teacher can use for communicating with parents?
Are we speaking of how a school can communicate with parents?
Are we speaking of how a district (or entire system) can communicate with parents?
Or are we searching for an all-encompassing product that provides all of the above?

Ideally, there would be a crossover platform that would allow input from any source -- teacher, parent, administrator.

This is an area that interests me most & I'm looking forward to seeing the responses. I hope to discover a user-controlled system and not a top-down installed censored one-way messaging system.

Anthony Pfeiffer's picture

I have been on the Edutopia site numerous times and subscribed to the publication. Always find value in the information. My challenge is I am no longer involved in classroom education. My experience includes college teaching, high school and middle school. Mostly in life skills and career. About 10 years ago, my last official lap in a formal classroom I began to ponder two questions that have challenged me and governed my vision and passion:
1) How did education in this country get so whacked?
2) Since we know how the brain learns, how come we aren't educating, equipping and empowering mom and dad directly in the home to lay a foundation of brain friendly learning?
To educate, equip and empower families to learn together life-long.
Imagine for just a moment...
What if each of us was both a teacher and a learner?
What if we could learn what we want at our own pace and be supported every step of the way?
What if we integrate the best learning processes and programs into easy to use ways to learn together every time and in every occasion?
What if, then what?
My labor of love and work in progress has now developed into a deep desire to learn how to learn and provide THE platform for learning to each and every household.

Susan Gauvin's picture
Susan Gauvin
Canadian, parent, homeschooling, raised in public education

I would like to see a journal linked to a website for these purposes made to specifically support the child and include the parent/teacher/community aspect of things in general...i hope, i hope, i hope ^_^...

Mr. E - The Motivator's picture
Mr. E - The Motivator
Mr. E! The Motivator is a motivational performer for grades K-8!

In the district where I work, we use a system called blackboard connect for blast messages. It is an absolutely wonderful tool that can send voice messages, text messages, and emails to your particular school, class, club, or even to the entore district (if you have that level of access).

It is limited, however, to transiency and updated numbers.

What works best for me as a Parent/Community Liaison is the personal phone call and the personal greeting. The technology has its advantages, but, as a parent, when I take advantage of open house opportunities and parent conferences, I find that communication improves. As a Parent Liaison, I find that parents feel more comfortable with coming to the building for events because they now have a face to connect with the school. Someone else to see and know besides their teacher, principal, ap, counselor, etc.

Building relationships has been the most succesful connection for me and it only costs time.

Niru's picture

For continuous exchange of ideas and feedback from the parents, an online private social network for parents and teachers helps facilitate dialogue, at any time of the day, in a non-intrusive manner. At our school, we are trying to start with a private parents social network where parents of each class and club are in a group of their own, where they can initiate discussions, organize events and fundraisers.

The next step for us would be to involve Class teachers in the group so they can answer questions as well.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

In our district, there can be mountains made out of molehills caused by a lack of understanding of why certain decisions get made they way they do, and someone misinterpreting a decision and blowing it up into an "ordeal". I want to work on a way that each of our school principals can have the email addresses for all parents, so when they get wind of some crazy story making its way through the grapevine, they can simply send out an email that says something like:
"It's come to my attention that some folks don't understand our new Halloween Party policy. We have decided to let each teacher decide three class party days for the school year, to prevent loss of instructional time for the children, and some teachers have opted against having a large Halloween party for their classroom this year. If you have any concerns about his matter, please feel free to email me directly at ____or call me between (hours) and I'll be happy to discuss the matter further."
By cutting off the rumor mills and Oliver Stone-like conspiracy theories as to why things may be changing, a quick email from the top would be great and prevent silly things from getting out of hand. Likewise, making parents feel informed and that decisions are made with a lot of thought and contemplation will make sure that they gain a bit more trust and are les likely to fly off the handle at small things.
Working on building good and reliable communication channels between school and home builds trust. In fact, calling home or emailing home with good news every once in a while will buy you more political capital with parents and build trust than almost anything else. It's simple and free.

Just think how awesome it would be to get an email from school saying "We had a school assembly today and all of the children were attentive and asked really interesting questions. I was so proud of our students, and you should be as well- you are raising great kids with lots of curiosity! I hope you'll let them share what they learned today at dinner. I just wanted to take the time to let you know how much I'm enjoying teaching your children this year, and how wonderful each of them are in their own, unique way. Thank you again, - "
The element of surprise, sincerity and good news will, at the very least, make sure your next emil is opened.

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