When the school bell rings and the classroom door closes, parents are commonly left in the dark about what goes on when it’s time for the chalk to hit the blackboard – at least until they are able to converse with their child’s teacher.
We live in a new generation, though, with fresh scope for parents to be involved in their children’s educational journey at all times.
These days, it’s not unreasonable to say that many parents have greater expectations than generations gone by, and desire to be more heavily involved in their child’s school life. They want to be involved in the community from the get-go.
So, as an institution, how can you create stronger connections with parents and the wider school community? Here’s a list of a few important steps to keep in mind.
- Make strong decisions
With so many involved parents, it can be an issue if teachers are influenced too heavily by their input. Most parents want to see strong, committed decisions being made with the students’ best interests at heart. Remember to keep your own gut instincts and school policy in mind, when trying to balance everyone’s opinions.
- Celebrate the success of your students
Students love having their names up in lights and parents love to see it as well. Celebrate every success, large and small. It goes a long way, and chances are the community will always love to hear about it.
- Celebrate the success of your teachers as well
It’s not just the students who should be honoured for their achievements. Teachers who achieve great things should be commended for their own morale and also to instil trust and respect in them from the wider school community.
- Be open with inclusion and integrity
A strong moral compass and support for all students is vital from teachers and they should openly share their position and goals in this space.
- Use blogging to be accountable
Blogging is an excellent way to connect with parents inside and outside of school hours. Regular content with images and news from the classroom will help everyone feel connected and grant a sense of inclusion.
- Use social media
Almost 80 percent of all Australians now use social media, making it the perfect platform to connect and share stories, successes and images. But it’s also important to create a solid social media policy for all of your staff to stick to, so that the school’s branding and values are upheld at all times.
- Invest in quality people
The right teachers are vital for the reputation of your institution and the development of the children enrolled. Schools should not only invest in quality educators and support staff, but trumpet this fact to put parents at ease that their children are in good hands.
- Be open and transparent
Transparency is the key to any strong relationship. Parents don’t want to find out about significant schooling moments and events (both positive and negative) through second-hand channels.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say
Parents need to be able to rely on their school, its educators and its support staff. If you say you are going to implement something or follow up feedback, ensure that you follow through and do this. Parents may feel a disconnect if these words are not translating into actions.
What are your top tips for connecting with your school’s community?