Parental Involvement

EdX’s Free Introduction to Family Engagement Course

I spent seven years as a K-12 teacher, and one of the biggest challenges that my colleagues and I faced was how to engage and involve parents in their children’s education. The biggest obstacle to this was not the parents themselves, but how we approached parental involvement and engagement.

Are you a teacher that struggles with parental and family engagement? Then you have to enroll in EdX’s free course, Introduction to Family Engagement. In this course, you will learn about successful collaborations between families and educators and why they lead to improved outcomes for students and schools.

If you take the course, be sure to let us know what you learned.

 

Teaching Your Child to Read

Literacy is the most important skill that elementary school students can learn. Without the ability to read, it will be very difficult for a student to succeed in other academic subjects. Because of this, teachers cannot afford to make mistakes during reading instruction. The stakes are just that high. Prison officials calculate the number of cells that they will need based on the number of children that cannot read on grade level by 3rd grade. Think about that for a moment.

Why do they do it? Because if you cannot read on grade level by 3rd grade, you are at a very high risk of falling behind academically. If you can not read the subject matter presented to you, chances are you won’t be able to succeed academically. You will never catch up, and eventually, you will probably drop out, and end up in the school to prison pipeline. All because your reading ability never quite caught up with your grade level.

Are you a parent looking to teach your child to read, or supplement the reading instruction that their eacher is providing in the classroom. I just found this amazing video on teaching children to read on YouTube. Learn how to teach your child to read with research-based, modern strategies!

Parent-Teacher/School Communication Apps, Tools, and Resources That I Would Use If I Were Still in the Classroom

Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners.

Digital teaching and learning tools have streamlined education processes and provide learning experiences that stretch far beyond the materials that were available for me back in 2001. For example, when I wanted to contact all of my student’s parents, I had to send notes home individually or give each parent a call. Now, with the proliferation of edtech and cell phones, I can use a parent/school communication app to send a mass text or email to all of my student’s parents. Instead of hoping that most of the parents received my communication, I can be assured that they all will receive it instantaneously. This saves today’s teacher hundreds of hours per school year.  If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these parent/school communication apps, tools, and resources:

ClassDojo: ClassDojo is making it easier than ever before for parents to stay in the loop with what goes on in the classroom. Educators can upload pictures taken throughout the school day, share notes with students and parents, and make major announcements to the class. Students can even personalize their portfolio with work that they are particularly proud of.

Bloomz: This simple app is revolutionizing the way that teachers and parents can communicate. Teachers can quickly upload short announcements or pictures into the app to share with parents on a daily basis. It also sends custom calendar reminders, helps schedule conferences, and allows teachers to request volunteers for class events.

Talking Points for Parents: This app is a translator tool for parents for whom English is not their native language; the app can be used to bridge the language gap between parents and teachers. Send and receive messages to your children’s teachers using your native language, and your messages are translated into English language.

Talking Points for Teachers: This version works for teachers to communicate to parents via text without language acting as a barrier. This app includes more than 20 languages. Both human and machine translators are employed so that the output is as smooth as possible. You can also create broadcast messages to a group of parents.

Daycare Works – DayCare Works is a web-based solution for managing before/after-school programs, community education centers, and childcare operations. The software delivers everything you need including registrations, secure payments, staff and student schedules, attendance, billing, third-party subsidy payments, lead management, meal tracking, class ratios, family and staff portals, mobile apps, parent communications, assessments and more.

Hello Parent – This system provides schools with an easy solution for parent communication and allows parents to pay online. The system is parent-friendly. It has automated fee reminders with digitized fee receipts, which removes all manual intervention.  The system is hosted on a reliable cloud server on the cloud, and data is 128-bit SSL secured (bank-level security).

Appademic – Appademic is a school communication solution based in Australia that delivers notices, forms, communications, and more to mobile devices. It includes apps can be deployed to communicate efficiently with parents; data collected by the app is stored securely.

KigaRoo – KigaRoo is a cloud-based daycare solution designed to help with administrative tasks and organization. The platform helps to perform tasks related to parent communication, billing, statistics, and any form of analysis. KigaRoo is designed with a simple interface to ensure that using the smartphone app and the parent portal is as seamless as possible. The software can handle group and staff management, central file storage, remote access.

Moment – Moment app was created for childcare school administrators to communicate with parents effectively, manage day-to-day activities, accept online signups, and collect payments. The app helps users build communities around its classes and enhance the communication channel with parents while handling the day-to-day events, staff, and families. The app has sections devoted to parent communication, class management, and online signups.

SimplyCircle: This is the app for parent communication that can do it all. Add people into your circle and share files, announcements, events, and tasks with them exclusively. Information is received only by the members of the circle.

Did we miss any?