School district superintendents know how important it is to stay engaged with their students’ family members and caregivers. It can lead to improved student achievement, fewer disciplinary issues, and a more positive learning environment.
But with the day-to-day issues that crop up, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus on engagement activities. Here are three essential ways superintendents can continually and effectively engage with families in the districts they serve.
Foster an Open Dialogue
The relationship between districts and families is a collaborative partnership that requires open and frequent communication. Here are some ways to assure families that their voices are heard:
- Invite families to attend school board meetings, conferences, and other education-focused events
- Review attendance data with families and work together toward finding solutions to address attendance challenges
- Send out surveys to learn more about families’ perceptions, experiences, and needs
- Share information about what volunteer opportunities exist, such as serving on committees
Districts have at their fingertips all kinds of communication tools to stay engaged with families. Here are a few:
- E-newsletters: Send out a monthly email in multiple languages to family members and caregivers
- Social media. Use various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter), to keep families updated on school events and make important announcements
- Notifications. Send reminders and alerts through a district app, text system, or emails in multiple languages
Promote Transparency and Accountability
Administrative changes and discussions that occur behind closed doors can generate feelings of distrust. Therefore, it’s important for districts to share information on an ongoing basis.
Here’s how sharing information from the top down garners trust:
Districts should share information about key issues—such as attendance data, leadership changes, policies, and goals—and any big news that impacts the district and its students.
Superintendents who stay engaged with district families can realize ongoing, long-term benefits that positively impact the entire community, as it generates good feelings and confidence in the decisions they make.
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