How Lamar County School District Improved Communication and Family Engagement
Lamar County School District
Lamar County School District, located in Mississippi, comprises 16 campuses that are spread throughout five communities with a wide range of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Lamar County SD recently consolidated with a nearby district, amplifying its need to streamline communication with families. The school district was able to meet that need with SchoolStatus Connect.
In Need of Connection
Lamar County School District needed to connect with families in a way that increased feelings of inclusivity and purpose and met shared student goals, yet educators were selective about which solution to adopt. Some text-message systems have been fraught with challenges. For example, some allowed for outbound mass messaging that were useful for school-wide scheduled announcements but weren’t designed for interactive conversations. Other communication tools also lacked the ability to incorporate call logs and text transcripts as part of students’ records making tracking difficult.
Lamar County SD chose SchoolStatus Connect, the only Family communication tool that provides one secure, convenient place to call, text, and email from a computer or phone and efficiently store those communications.
SchoolStatus Connect is built with one-to-one communication in mind and avoids the need for teachers to use their personal phones to communicate with families, which puts them at risk for unprofessional or unwelcome communication outside the protection of the school district. With SchoolStatus Connect, all communications automatically become part of a Student Card, a digital cumulative folder encompassing all current and historical student data. Educators can reread text messages and listen back to phone conversations, as well as review such data as attendance, discipline, assessments, benchmarks, IEP plans, and teacher notes.
SchoolStatus Connect is designed to meet families where they are. Often, their jobs make it challenging to make phone calls to teachers or attend in-person meetings. But with SchoolStatus Connect’s convenient texting feature, teachers and administrators make contact with families daily and without revealing personal contact information.
As a result of using SchoolStatus Connect as its primary communication tool, Lamar County SD has expanded educators’ understanding of student home life, increased professional and productive communication between teachers and family members, and enhanced families’ understanding of curriculum and course goals. In the 20XX-20XX school year alone, the district sent more than 300k texts, made more than 25k calls, and exchanged more than 13k emails.
“I LOVE SchoolStatus Connect,” gushes fourth grade Science and Social Studies teacher Jaime Beasely, who uses it to reach families on a regular basis. She finds it particularly valuable for reaching overbooked Familys. “Everybody has busy schedules, I get that. SchoolStatus Connect is how I communicate with them and they do text me back.” Beasely says many family members appreciate being able to text. “They’ll say, ‘My job doesn’t allow me to take phone calls, but I can text you when I get a break.’”
Lumberton High School English teacher Penny Temples appreciates no longer having to manually document phone calls to families.
She adds that being able to access recorded communications “takes some liability off of us.”
Heather Roland, Principal of Lamar SD’s Oak Grove Upper Elementary appreciates SchoolStatus Connect’s language translation feature, because it helps make non-English-speaking Familys feel welcome on her campus.
Computer Science and Engineering teacher Judy Lanyon’s eighth graders are thriving, due to her connecting with families with SchoolStatus Connect and her smart, simple approach to communication. First, she texts whenever possible. Second, she starts a conversation by sharing something positive about their child. Third, Lanyon suggests to families questions about a child’s lessons so they can ask about them and stay involved with their learning.
By enabling Lamar County School District to efficiently and easily communicate with families, it’s empowering its educators and staff to build relationships with them.
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