No student is an island. Parents, teachers and administrators need to work hand in glove to make sure the whole school community thrives. It really does take a village. This week on School Stream, we are going to ask (and answer!) the golden question: What does good school-parent communication look like from a parent’s perspective? (Spoiler: reliable, regular and easy to access are common themes).
School communication, technology, and what parents want
Whether you’re a small regional pre-school or a large inner-city secondary school – or somewhere in between – chances are high that you’re using some form of technology to keep parents in the loop. But what do parents prize in school communication? We’ve spoken to parents around the world to see how their school communities keep in touch. Here are some of their stories.
Clear and consistent communication from a mid-sized school in regional Victoria
“When we went back to school after the first lockdown, we knew exactly what the school would look like because the Principal made a video to show us. We knew which bubblers would be open, how the new ‘kiss and drop’ parking would work, where the hand sanitiser was and how to use it. It just gave all the parents and kids so much confidence that the school was on top of everything. The kids weren’t nervous going back because they knew what to expect. The Principal also sent her own videos every week to the kids so they still felt so connected to the school… Everything was changing so quickly, but we didn’t worry because we knew we would get a really clear email to explain to us what it meant for the school. When you know what’s going on, you can relax and it’s one less thing to worry about. And you can be clear and confident for your kids. The Principal couldn’t have done a better job. But then, she was always super reliable with sending out updates via our school app, even before all this.”
Everything runs smoothly with regular updates from a small school in inner Melbourne
“If there is something going on at school I need to know about, I know I will get an alert via the app. If the kids need to wear yellow next Wednesday, or they need a gold coin donation or it’s Wellbeing Week, the school sends an alert. I also get information that helps prompt school chat at home, like if the whole school is singing a song together at assembly or something. I want to know about that stuff! With both of us working, our household would be out of control if I didn’t know what was going on at school in advance. I don’t want to be scrounging around for gold coins for the kids at the bus stop on the day – I need to know before. We’re so lucky because our school is really good at using the app and pumps out all the information regularly. I don’t worry about missing anything because it’s all on my phone in one spot – it’s so easy. I do canteen and permission slips through it as well.”
A regular letter from a school principal in north-east London soothes anxious students
“Our school principal has always been so consistent with her communication. You can set your watch by it! When we were homeschooling, every Friday at 3pm we would get a notification on our phones that the principal’s letter was in. Sometimes it was just a few lines to say she missed all the kids and couldn’t wait for them to be back. Other times it was a funny story or something that might be different when they returned to school. It didn’t matter what the letter was about, it meant so much to the kids to get it. For us, to see our kids happy during that time was such a relief. You forget that for kids, school and home is pretty much their whole world. I guess that’s why we’re so desperate for any news about what’s going on!”
What do parents want?
It seems parents’ needs are simple. They want clear and consistent updates from school. They want to trust the school will keep them updated – and they want all this to happen easily. It’s also worth noting that when it’s easy for parents to communicate with schools, life gets easier for business managers and administrators too.
Why does a school communication app work?
School communication apps work because they tick all these boxes. When school apps are easy and simple to use, parents love it and will use it. But don’t take our word for it. Here are some of the testimonials from parents via both app marketplaces about how easy it is to use School Stream.
“Now I know everything that is going on at school. As a dad I get to plan so I can make it to the events that otherwise pass me by. Feel so much more connected to the school program. Thanks School Stream.”
“I love receiving daily photos and updates via the app! It provides reassurance that my son is receiving great care and education. Thanks guys! :)”
“Absolutely love this app being able to have everything you need in one place. I can check the school newsletter and events and activities that are approaching. Also happy it’s easy to use.”
“Easy to use, organised and clear :) I love this app, everything is well laid out, all in one place and easy to navigate.”
“Too easy. Love how easy it is to keep up with the news from school. So much better than notes. Love it.”
Are you ready to simplify your school-parent communications? We’re here to help you get started.