As a superintendent, your job is to create an educational environment that helps students reach their full academic potential. One effective way to do that is by enacting parent engagement strategies that encourage parents to get involved in the educational experience.
But many parents are busy, and there are only so many hours in the day. To make parent engagement more attainable for your district—and create a better learning environment with stronger educational outcomes—use these 12 parent engagement strategies:
- Move to Online Forms
- Use a Platform Like FinalForms
- Institute a Parent Engagement Program
- Host Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Schedule Events and Assemblies for Parents
- Encourage Parents to Participate in Activities
- Offer Parent-Focused Classes
- Ask Parents to Give Feedback and Share Ideas
- Communicate Regularly
- Publish Helpful Content on Social Channels
- Create an Online Community
- Offer Guidance for Failing Students
1. Move to Online Forms
In the digital age, more and more people are comfortable doing things online. This is one of the main reasons an increasing number of schools are ditching paper-and-pencil form processes and moving to online solutions that enable parents to submit forms digitally.
With the right platform in place, parents can easily gauge via their smartphones whether or not they’ve turned in every form—making it that much easier for schools to achieve 100 percent form compliance.
2. Use a Platform like FinalForms
Moving to online forms is one thing. Expecting parents to use several different platforms—for example, one for athletics and one for academics—is another.
This is where solutions like FinalForms come in handy. These solutions bring all forms together under one roof, so parents only have to create one account to make sure schools have all of the information they need.
3. Institute a Parent Engagement Program
Developing and implementing a parent engagement program is a great way to get parents more involved in school activities and their children’s overall education.
Every district has unique needs, so parent engagement programs won’t look the same in every school across the country. Keep reading to get an idea of components you may want to add to your program.
4. Host Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-teacher conferences are great ways to keep parents tuned to the pulse of their children’s education. Not only will parents find out where their kids are excelling, but they’ll also learn about areas in need of improvement.
At the same time, parents get to develop personal relationships with their kids’ teachers, which gives them a better understanding of the people who are playing important roles in their children’s lives.
5. Schedule Events and Assemblies for Parents
Cyberbullying, social media, cheating via smartphones. These are just some of the challenges that have emerged in K–-12 education in recent years.
By scheduling events and assemblies about controversial topics, new technologies, and new initiatives, your district can encourage parents to increase their involvement in the educational process.
6. Encourage Parents to Participate in Activities
Another easy way to increase parent engagement is by encouraging parents to participate in various school activities. For example, they can help out during in-room activities (e.g., a holiday party) or they can chaperone a field trip (e.g., to a local museum or an overnight trip to Washington, D.C.).
7. Offer Parent-Focused Classes
Let’s face it: Not every parent is a technical wizard the way most students are. Although an assembly on cyberbullying can help parents learn about a pressing topic, if they don’t know the ins and outs of apps and how apps could be “hidden” on their children’s phones, they may not be able to tell whether their students are involved in such unsavory activities.
Parent-focused classes can help here. Every now and again, you might want to offer educational opportunities for parents to show that you’re going above and beyond to cultivate a community of engaged parents.
8. Ask Parents to Give Feedback and Share Ideas
You can increase engagement by asking parents to give feedback and share their ideas about their experiences and what they think could be done to further enhance the educational process.
However, if you’re going to ask for feedback and ideas, you need to implement some of the best ones—or at least explain why you’re not implementing popular requests. Otherwise, parents may feel like they are wasting their time, which could actually hurt engagement.
9. Communicate Regularly
Keeping parents in the loop is another way to increase engagement. For example, you might want to relay information about changed practice locations, updates to field trip itineraries, and information about bus emergencies, among other things. Thanks to platforms like FinalForms, this communication can be facilitated digitally.
10. Publish Helpful Content on Social Channels
Is school closed today because of last night’s blizzard? What’s on the agenda of the Board of Education meeting tomorrow night? Has the district hired a new high school principal yet?
These are just some of the questions you can answer on your district’s social channels in order to increase parent engagement.
11. Create an Online Community
Online communities can be another part of an effective parent engagement strategy.
Parents have all kinds of ideas that could be helpful to other parents—such as the best places to buy sporting equipment or educational supplies. Creating a safe space for them to share these ideas can increase engagement.
12. Offer Guidance for Failing Students
Parents want what’s best for their kids, and that includes a good education that prepares them for the future. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some students don’t do as well as other students in certain subjects and at certain ages.
One way to increase parent engagement is by offering guidance to parents when their students are failing. For example, districts can provide options such as study tables and group discipline meetings to help parents get their students back on track.
Measure the Effectiveness of Parent Engagement Strategies and Improve Them Over Time
Every district is different, and you can’t expect to knock it out of the park the first time around. That being the case, you need to measure the effectiveness of your engagement programs, iterate, and optimize them over time.
At FinalForms, we’ve created a robust and intuitive platform that has been proven to increase parent engagement. As parent engagement increases, student performance improves, which leads to happier teachers, better students, and more engaged parents in a cycle that keeps feeding itself.
But don’t just take our word for it: Schedule a demo to learn more about how you can improve parent engagement in your district with modern technology.