Nowadays, parents are much more likely to check the school website before calling to see if it’s closed or to learn about school-wide events. But school websites can be used for more than just hubs of information.
Many studies show a direct correlation between parents who are engaged and successful students. Dr. Karen Mapp of the Harvard Graduate School of Education believes “students with engaged families acquire literacy skills faster, earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, have better behavior in class, and attend school more regularly.”
If, in fact, students are more likely to be successful in school when their parents are more engaged, educators should also consider teacher and classroom web pages as valuable resources to spur more engagement. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Interactive content is key to successful engagement.
The convenience of the digital age can sometimes remove the need for real relationships between parents and teachers. Because it’s so easy for parents to get their questions answered through a quick email, the partnership can fade. Use engaging content on your classroom web page that goes beyond merely answering questions. Give parents a “window” into their children’s everyday experiences. The idea is to engage parents so that they take an interest in visiting the school more often.
Getting every teacher involved will motivate parent participation.
The consistency of teacher web pages illustrates to parents the dedication and commitment to teacher-parent partnership. The pages can be used to express the vision and mission of the classroom, as well as to demonstrate how teachers are meeting classroom goals.
Publish content that will help parents connect with the classroom.
Look at web pages as more than just information repositories. To engage parents, post photos, videos and homework, so parents have insight into classroom activities and ultimately feel more involved. Here are a few pointers on what parents might want:
- Helpful homework insights and links
- Teacher blog posts recapping the day
- Invitations to events and activities
- Candid photos of classroom activities
- Examples of student work
Starting a web page for your class might seem like an additional task on top of the other responsibilities you have, but getting a web page started can be a very simple process with a huge payoff.