Parent involvement: Mobile apps increase parent involvement

6 Apr

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools.

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.
Parent involvement is crucial to the success of children.

Heather B. Hayes reported in the EdTech article, School Districts Use Mobile Apps to Engage Parents:

When Michael Thurmond, superintendent of the DeKalb County School District near Atlanta, challenged his staff to come up with new, innovative ways to bridge the gap between their highest- and lowest-performing schools, CIO Gary Brantley had a ready response: a mobile app for parents.
That might seem like a knee-jerk ¬reaction, given the current zest for all things mobile, but Brantley’s solution was strongly rooted in need and fact. The lowest performers among the district’s 137 schools also had the lowest levels of parent engagement, in large part ¬because a majority of parents didn’t have the time or ability to travel to school for parent-teacher conferences or other functions. However, an internal survey showed that those same parents had access to mobile technology, with more than 90 percent of all district parents owning either a mobile phone or tablet.
“The idea was, parents can’t always come to us, so let’s try to take this information to them,” Brantley says. “When a grade is entered into the system, their student is late to class or there’s an emergency notification, let’s push that out to their mobile devices immediately, so they know what’s ¬happening at all times.”
Parents also can email teachers, get real-time notifications of bus pickup and drop-off times, access calendars, and receive Twitter and Facebook news feeds and sports scores. The app, which launched in early January, is already seen as a success, having been downloaded more than 6,000 times in its first month and earning rave reviews from users…
The Added Benefits of Having a Mobile App
How do mobile apps pay off for schools?
• During the ice storms of 2014, parents who downloaded the DeKalb County (Ga.) School District’s mobile app were able to receive school ¬closing and delay alerts in real time — a fact that earned praise for district officials, even as other district leaders were criticized for their delayed and confusing communication efforts.
• Parents at Wichita (Kan.) Public Schools can now view a single calendar of all academic and athletic events at any schools they choose to follow — a capability that’s impossible to create on a regular website and that helps parents keep up with what’s happening at all times.

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Tips for parent and teacher conferences

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents

Making time for family dinner

Embracing parents as education leaders

Where information leads to Hope. Dr.

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