by Alison Anderson, gettingsmart.com
Parent engagement has always been a very bright spot on my radar when thinking about keys to success for schools. Lately, it feels important to distinguish between parent engagement and parent involvement. Both are important and something every school should strive for in order to create the most healthy student environment. But involvement, to me, can mean volunteering and spending time in the school and classroom- building those schools that have an instant sense of positive energy you sense the minute you walk in the school.
Today’s world is complicated – especially as technology continues to disrupt the different fields we have grown so used to living in. We can’t ignore that social media has completely transformed the way in which we receive and understand current events. As this disruption starts to happen in our schools, we need to fully engage parents so that they not only understand, but feel absolutely comfortable with all the school practices and policies.
How do you achieve that? With transparent communication and lots of it! Every school has a story, or a “brand” that captures the mission, the norms, the traditions and the values of the school population.
As a school leader, communicating that “brand” is one of the most important jobs. But building a school “brand” is not like building a product. It’s not always easy and the steps are not always clear. There are some helpful resources emerging for administrators and edleaders who want to do this and do it right.
6 Resources For Building Parental Engagement
Make Your School House Rock: 10 Ways Principals Can Use Social Networks for Branding – new post from TreeRing, the innovative personalized yearbook publisher, full of resources and ideas for telling your school’s story effectively.
Adjusting Course: Responding to the Needs of the 21st Century Student– great blog by Minnesota elementary principal Brad Gustafson, continually sharing how his school tells their story.
10 Ways to Ensure Parents Won’t Need to Ask What Did You Do at School Today?– EdTech ideas for flattening those classroom walls and letting parents in.
Lewis Elementary Blog– best example of elementary principal, Tim Lauer, telling the school’s story using a wide range of digital technology in a truly effective manner.
The more stories shared about what is happening within your school, the better your “big picture” becomes for school and community families. Schools build their brand when they share the stories that answer, “why do you send your child to that school?” That’s how a good reputation gets built. Parents and community members trust in their school “brand” and want to support school decision makers.
Alison Anderson is a former teacher, tech integrator and now education blog editor. She is active an active member of the EdCampPDX planning team and continually focused on working to improve education for students in Portland and beyond; 6 Resources For Building Parental Engagement: Helping Parents Trust Your School; image attribution flickr user woodleywonderworks