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Three Strategies for Proactive Family Outreach

By SchoolStatus 3 min

Educators work hard to help parents stay up to date on their children’s education. But how well are schools connecting with families? We recently published a report based on a survey of families with children enrolled in K-12 schools in the US, gathering their feelings on school-home communication. The responses from these families shed light on the state of school-home communication and offer educators a clear set of best practices when connecting with families. 

One of the many themes that emerged from this research is that families want more positive communication from schools. Proactive, positive outreach that celebrates successes and offers resources can be the basis of a strong partnership between educators and families. In this blog post, we’ll share findings from the report, and explore ways to engage families with positive outreach. 

Positive Communication is an Opportunity to Inspire Families 

School-home communication can take a lot of time and effort on the part of educators. It’s understandable to focus effort on outreach that responds to an issue like absences or classroom disruptions. But it’s also valuable to celebrate successes and give families a clear view of their students’ progress. Simple outreach such as regular updates on their child’s progress, acknowledging achievements, or expressing appreciation for parental involvement can go a long way towards keeping families engaged.

Three Strategies for Inspirational Outreach

There are a few key messages that will help educators and schools connect with the majority of families. 

  • Keep communication simple. When asked what they most wanted from their school’s communications, families generally believe less is more. They expressed a desire for a streamlined way to communicate digitally with schools. And no wonder—over 50% of families use three or more school communication tools for their child. Whenever possible, rely on centralized communications tools that let you share useful information without overwhelming families.
  • Give families the facts about attendance. The impact of consistent student attendance on academic success may be obvious to educators and school administrators, but the challenge might not be as clear to families. Nearly half of families (45%) didn’t receive any communication from their school about the importance of attendance until after their student had been absent. There’s a real opportunity to educate families and inform their choices earlier in the process. In fact, 37% of respondents said they wanted actionable steps to help improve their child’s attendance. Sharing resources and facts about attendance at the start of the school year helps those families build good patterns early. 
  • Celebrate attendance wins. Families are eager for good news about their students—particularly if their students are experiencing challenges. Over 71% of families said they prefer consistent, positive messaging celebrating improved and consistent attendance. Sharing congratulations with families can be a motivating force that reinforces good attendance behaviors, or help the family get involved. 

Engaged Families Lead to Better Student Outcomes

The results of this report show some clear opportunities to connect with families of K-12 students. When families feel valued and respected by the school community, they are more likely to participate in school activities, attend family-teacher meetings, and engage in their child’s academic journey. This, in turn, contributes to improved student attendance and academic success. 

And if you’re looking for support connecting district leaders, educators, and families with communications, attendance, and educator success solutions, let’s talk!

SchoolStatus is a unified K-12 platform that enables districts and schools to engage more families and improve attendance with our easy-to-use communications hub and data-driven attendance solutions. We support an integrated and impactful educational experience, from district leadership to families at home. With more than two hundred million successful school-home interactions, and millions of users, SchoolStatus drives meaningful results for districts and schools across the US.
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