How does a school district communicate with its families? For some, this is a difficult question to answer. Should they explain how they communicate district-level decisions, successes, initiatives, and announcements? Or is the question referring to each school’s communication from the administration? This question is complicated further when considering that each teacher and staff member may have his or her own communication methods. If this sounds complicated to you, just imagine what it is like for families!
More school districts are discovering the importance of selecting one communication tool. Here are 5 key takeaways we’ve learned from our district partners:
1. Simplified Communication Means Increased Engagement Think about a guardian who has multiple children across multiple schools. Each teacher uses her own class app, so the guardian forgets to check half of them. The school communicates through flyers or email, but this guardian doesn’t use email. The district communicates important information through social media, but of course not everything gets posted there. So this guardian is left with limited knowledge about her child’s education. But all guardians want to be involved in their children’s education!
When a district-wide solution is employed, this guardian knows that she can go to one place to get information from every level. This increases her likelihood of accessing the information and, therefore, her ability to take ownership of her child’s education. Suddenly she is able to gather information from and reach out to her children’s teachers, the school counselors, and more. The ease with which she can now do this means that she actually will.
A district-wide solution simplifies things for staff, as well! Because all families are using this method of communication, staff no longer need to worry about communicating through or checking multiple channels. Efficiency in communication leaves them more time to actually engage with families!
2. Control The Message Amazing things are happening in school districts, but do their families know? Right now, families could be getting information about the district from a variety of places, few of which come directly from the district itself. However, if families are going to one place to receive all information regarding their child’s education, they will certain be able to consume and learn about district-wide information there as well. This gives districts the ability to take the messaging about decisions and events and ensure that they share it in the manner they see fit.
3. Access New Data About Schools A comprehensive solution will also give a district access to data and analytics unlike they’ve had in the past. If a district were asked about their family engagement metrics, they may be able to share attendance rates at parent-teacher conferences or the number of families who attend a specific type of event…but is that truly engagement?
With a single, comprehensive solution, districts are provided with a wealth of valuable, actionable analytics. They know how often each school is and even individual staff members are communicating with families. They have access to information regarding communication rates from month and month. And they knowhow many people are accessing the information they are sending out district-wide. When districts currently post to social media, they have no idea who is reading it; with this data, they know that the reads and likes are coming from the families they serve. One district post in SchoolCNXT was read over 10,700 times and liked over 600 times; the same post on Facebook was liked 27 times.
4. Learn About Families Through Data Do you know where your families are and how they’re engaging with those who work with their children. Through the data provided by SchoolCNXT, one district was able to learn about languages that they did not even know were represented in their district and which specific schools they attended. This helped them target those families to ensure that they were properly supported.
SchoolCNXTwas also able to provide a partner district with information about how many messages were sent by guardians versus staff members. This helped them see that guardians at the middle school level were hungry for engagement that wasn’t yet being provided. Of course, this led them to providing education withSchoolCNXT’s assistance to those staff members to better improve engagement and build relationships with the families.
5. Provide a Secure Network Communication at varying levels of a district is not known to a district…and therefore not secure. Staff, families, and even students may be using a variety of unapproved tools, personal phone numbers, or social media channels. Without the district knowing that these exist, they cannot control or monitor them. Once that district selects a single communication tool, they are able to be comforted by the fact that they are providing a closed, secure communication tool.
District leaders, teachers, guardians, and everyone in between are doing an incredible job ensuring the education of our children. Help them help each other by providing a more efficient and effective way of doing that through a single district-wide communication tool.