For families to be engaged in the learning experiences of their child and feel connected to their school, it is important to have an effective communication platform available that connects districts, schools, and homes. Knowing each family’s needs and preferences when it comes to communication and developing an understanding of any barriers to family engagement will help educators to better provide for each individual family’s needs. We can then proactively develop strategies and implement the right tool to better support families. When choosing a tool, focusing on how it will benefit families is essential. We know that families’ enjoyment and comfort in using the tool will be a deciding factor in whether the communication is successfully transmitted or not. Districts, administrators, and teachers need to reach families in a way that meets their specific preferences and also that makes them accessible. The Klassly app has over a 90% weekly engagement rate from parents’ accounts which shows that families appreciate all that it offers in one, unified and user-friendly space. According to a survey of Klassly users, 86% of the families surveyed preferred this app to any other previous system that they had used. Reaching out to families for feedback is important so that the best features are made available and that they have a choice that does not cause overwhelm because of the complexity or use of multiple tools.
Klassboard Master facilitates district-wide communication. It is an all-in-one communication platform that enables schools to streamline what normally requires many other apps and tools teachers and administrators might be using. In research from Project Tomorrow, it was reported that 88% of administrators saw a positive impact from communicating with families through the use of social media, while 66% of parents preferred emails or phone messages as communication. We know that families need to have a direct line of communication with schools. In the event of an emergency, or for updates about school news or class information, families need to be able to access what they need. Understanding the diverse needs of the families and students in our school system will enable us to provide a space where we can form a strong and collaborative home-to-school partnership. These strong connections have been shown to positively impact student performance and will empower families and further engage them in the learning experience of their children.
School districts enjoy the inclusive nature of social media and many are leveraging Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram to foster more connections with their school community and share updates and information in a timely, accessible manner. While many families may engage in these posts, there are still many others who will miss important and time-sensitive information which can become lost in the noise and number of posts completely unrelated to school. With so much information, families will have to scroll through all of the posts to find the information. Although it is convenient, it is not the most effective or efficient way to connect the home to school. However, a platform that mimics the feel of social media, which is familiar, offers all the essential information from teachers, classes, schools, and the district that families are more interested in because it actually concerns their children will be more efficient. Elementary schools, for example, don’t need to receive messages about senior graduation events. However, the district might want to share photos of this and other special events with everyone so families can look forward to seeing their children grow up and be a part of this community.
With the Klassboard and Klassboard Master, leaders can broadcast photos, videos, voice memos, and important messages that can be automatically translated. District leaders can also send private, direct messages to specific classes or families, to specific grades or schools, or to every class in every school. It’s a highly effective and inclusive way to communicate information on a safe and private platform. Parents receive push notifications and email notifications to see new posts and stay informed. Digital privacy is respected and every single user knows their information and the childrens’ data will be kept private, never shared or sold, it never leaves the company servers. The Klassroom company has made digital privacy a priority in the design of the app. To foster a positive partnership, each party included must feel respected.
The partnership: Home and School
From what we have learned, we know that we must move beyond the parent-teacher connection and foster a “family to school” partnership to truly engage families, collaborate, and grow together. When families know exactly where to look to obtain class and school updates, and resources, ask questions, or learn about upcoming events, it offers a more structured framework for families and fosters a greater connection between the whole community. When teachers can use one space via Klassly, to share pictures, videos, voice memos, documents, events, polls, and more, it has a big impact on families to stay informed and connected.
We know that sharing information is important, especially when it is time-sensitive. With Klassboard Master, school districts have access to a variety of features for sharing information with families and in an emergency, broadcasting text messages directly to families and schools, which bypasses the app. This feature is essential because although families have preferences for communication, they may choose to rely on text messages rather than the app. In an emergency situation, being able to reach all families immediately is critical. Districts and Schools can see engagement data for messages or posts in each class’s timeline, and know whether all families have been informed. It enables administrators to broadcast media and communicate in a transparent and inclusive way and also track important data from the schools’ Klassboards and each class’ Klassly for actionable insight.
With Klassboard Master (for districts) and Klassboard Pro (for Principals and school admin), messages can be broadcast to all Klassly classes (managed by teachers) instantly, or to a specific class or students’ families. Teachers and administrators can send instant messages to reach students’ parents in the event of an emergency. Through the dashboard, schools can collect valuable information about messages that have been sent, engagement data, comments, private responses, attendance records, and student information.
When district leaders use The Klassboard Master to link and access every school via their Klassboard in the community on which each Klassly class is linked, all communication becomes streamlined. They are better able to facilitate the management, organization and guidance of the school community by using one simple and free tool. It promotes clear communication from district to school to family, streamlining communication and in a centralized virtual space which helps everyone access the information they need clearly when they need it.
About the Author
Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, and Speaker. Rachelle is the author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915.
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