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What Do Parents Want to Know?

by Ellen Ullman, on Jan 9, 2024 12:40:00 PM

“Districts send out reminders about schedule changes, events, or to wear a jacket in cold weather, but families really want to hear about what students are learning and how they can support that learning at home,” says Dr. Elisabeth O’Bryon.

She should know. 

O’Bryon is co-founder and chief impact officer of Family Engagement Lab, a nonprofit that bridges classroom instruction and at-home learning by building partnerships between teachers and historically underserved families. 

Family Engagement Lab’s research with families has shown that parents want to know three things:

  1. What is my child learning?
  2. Is my child on track academically?
  3. How can I help at home?

Bringing Bloomz into your district is the perfect way to help teachers deliver this information quickly, easily, and in 133 different languages. It’s a crucial step to improving family engagement.

Here are additional ways districts can strengthen the school-home connection.

Support initiatives to gather information from families
Conduct surveys, focus groups, and interviews—either online or in person—to discover what information families want to receive. You need to understand your community to better serve it.

Develop a high-impact family-engagement approach
Send information home that’s relevant, easy to digest, and actionable. Family Engagement Lab’s FASTalk shares at-home learning activities via text messages in each family’s home language. 

Meet families where they already are
Reach out to community-based organizations that have great relationships with your families and explore ways to collaborate. Expand your communication so that everyone is in the loop.

Reset expectations
Let families know that your district values regular two-way communications about learning. “As schools grapple with long-term learning losses, this is an easy fix with a huge payoff,” says O'Bryon. “When you invite learning-focused partnerships into your schools, you’ll see interested and eager families whose engagement can meaningfully accelerate student learning gains.”