Families want to be in the know about their children's education, but in the last few years, the combination of hectic modern lifestyles and the school morning rush has given them the impression that it's impossible to keep up with what's happening in the classroom.
But it’s not true! In fact, smartphones and tablets are making it easier than ever for schools to reach out. Taking examples from a typical school year, we'll cover five important ways that parents and teachers can interact.
1. Email newsletters
We’ll begin with an easy one: newsletters. Historically, these would be physical printed newsletters distributed directly to pupils, in the hopes that at least some copies would make their way home.
Switching to email has made newsletters faster and lighter on their feet. It's now easy to personalise such publications for classes or even individual pupils, and updates and supplements can be produced as and when. (Perhaps right after a notable exam success?)
To set the right tone, we'd suggest putting out a splash issue on Day One of the autumn term. It's a great way to show that you mean business. You can expect your newsletter to get passed on between family members, so don't omit a 'sign up' form. You may find yourself with a readership several times larger than you originally projected!
If you're serious about reaching out via newsletters, Tucasi's Communications module is a must. It integrates with your MIS database, so you won't have to laboriously key in hundreds of recipient email addresses, and it has a template system to reduce repetitive typing. There's even a fallback option to generate printed letters!
Blogs are no longer regarded as a cutting-edge medium, but they're still a useful resource for any school. A good blog invites parents to look directly into your classroom, and, if you enable commenting, you can open up a lively discussion.
Many school websites implement WordPress, the most popular blogging app, as a matter of course. WordPress is easy-to-use and tutorials are readily available on the web, but you may find that you need a hand with a very particular issue - the means by which your particular school enables multiple blogs by different teachers, classes and groups at the same site.
It's usually easy enough when you've seen it done, but don't be afraid to ask for guidance from the local expert!
3. "Broadcast" email/text
Every school administrator and teacher has information they need to share with parents, but the days of sending photocopied handouts home with the kids are long gone. Smart communicators take mid-term open evenings as an opportunity to gather contact preferences, but they take care of those updates online.
If you want to enable fast, effective communications with parents, Tucasi's Communications module is a must. It provides a unified gateway that makes it easy to draft letters, updates and invites and then circulate them via email or SMS text...so everyone receives the news in the format they want.
4. Social media
Schools are often reluctant to embrace the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, but regardless if your school uses these or not, it’s likely a social community or group has been set up by the parents themselves, so it’s better to embrace the technology and use it as an avenue to share daily stories and successes.
To encourage a parental following, you could utilise the channels mentioned above to promote your new social presence. Again, Tucasi's Communications module can support you with circulating any school updates via email or SMS text.
5. In person
Of course, there's no replacement for human contact. Many schools have decided to reserve face-to-face meetings for the end of term, and instead adopt our Communications module to take care of everyday messaging. Likewise, our Parents’ Evening module has been invaluable to schools in helping them book online teacher-parent appointments and phone calls.
To discover how our modules could benefit your school, contact our product team on 02380 016 563 or email.
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