The research on school-parent communication can be grouped into five different categories:
- Communication flows from the teacher to the parents in an effort to keep the parents informed of school and classroom activities.
- Communication flows from parents to the teacher to educate the teacher as to how to best reach their children.
- Communication helps to build strong relationships between the parents and the school.
- Using one communication method is not effective, especially when using technology.
- Students have fewer instances of negative behaviors when their parents are involved in their schoolwork.
“In involvement, the teacher might be akin to a social worker, doing things for parents or tending to tell them what they should be doing with their children. In engagement, the teacher is more of an organizer who helps parents do things for themselves. He or she would elicit ideas from parents about what everyone (parents and school staff) could do differently to support students and their community.”Building strong relationships helps build trust and helps facilitate meaningful conversations between parents and teachers. This can be done by having conversations unrelated to specific children and instead everyone can discuss education and/ or parenting as a whole. David Ruenzel wrote that his school holds potluck dinners where parents and teachers can just sit and talk in a less formal setting, and while misunderstanding still occur it happens less frequently.
Different technology should be used in different situations and to reach different audiences. Due to a wide variety of conditions that affect families - socioeconomic status, technology skill level, personal preference related to communication - there is a need to utilize technology that can be accessed through multiple means to meet everyone’s needs. Schoology offers teachers the ability to connect via email, a website, or through an app that is accessible on Android and iOS phones and tablets. The increase in smartphone adoption has greatly assisted in reaching parents of all types. Nora Carr wrote, “America’s smartphone obsession cuts across gender lines as well as racial and ethnic groups. Women are about as likely as men to own smart phones (45 percent versus 46 percent, respectively), while smartphone ownership rates among blacks (47 percent) and Hispanics (49 percent) surpasses those of whites (42 percent).” Teachers also need to be trained on how to best utilize technology to communicate, and school policies often have to change to match the changes in technology. The state of Illinois' rule requiring one instance of making contact with a parent per year is outdated, especially in this era of hyper-communication.
Your one-to-one program will focus on changing the way teachers teach and students learn. Increased student engagement will probably be one of your measurements of success. Increased parent engagement is also important, measurable, and attainable. One of the goals for you one-to-one program should include parent engagement, if for the sole reason that increased parent interaction will help you reach your other goals.
Carr, Nora. "Smart Phones Require Smart Communication Strategies." Smart Phones Require Smart Communication Strategies. ESchoolNews, 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.eschoolnews.com/2012/10/10/smart-phones-require-smart-communication-strategies/>.
Cavanagh, Sean. "Parental Engagement Proves No Easy Goal." Education Week. Education Week, 28 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/04/04/27engagement_ep.h31.html>.
Epstein, Joyce Levy. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2011.
Ferlazzo, Larry. "'Back To The Future' For Parent Engagement." Education Week. Education Week, 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_ahead/2012/04/back_to_the_future_for_parent_engagement.html>.
Ferlazzo, Larry. "Follow-Up: Parent Engagement vs. Parent Involvement." Education Week. Education Week, 23 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_ahead/2012/04/the_roles_of_parents_teachers_administrators_in_parent_engagement.html>.
Johnson, Graham. "Teachers: Involve Parents in the Flipped Classroom, Too." Teachers: Involve Parents in the Flipped Classroom, Too. ESchoolNews, 26 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.eschoolnews.com/2012/10/26/teachers-involve-parents-in-the-flipped-classroom-too/>.
Mixon, Kevin. "Making Parent Involvement a Two-Way Street." Education Week Teacher. Education Week, 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2011/12/07/fp_mixon.html>.
Molnar, Michelle. "More Parental Involvement Means Fewer Runaways." Education Week. Education Week, 1 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/parentsandthepublic/2012/08/parental_involvement_in_schools_is.html>.
Molnar, Michelle. "Va. Superintendent Initiates a System-Wide Involvement Approach."Education Week. Education Week, 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/parentsandthepublic/2012/09/Va_superintendent_initiates_a_system-wide_involvement_approach.html>.
Ruenzel, David. "Just What Do We Mean By 'Parent Involvement'?" Education Week. Education Week, 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_ahead/2012/04/just_what_do_we_mean_by_parent_involvement.html>.
Stansbury, Meris. "Strong Communication Key to Online Learning." Strong Communication Key to Online Learning. ESchoolNews, 6 Oct. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.eschoolnews.com/2009/10/06/strong-communication-key-to-online-learning/?ast=93>.