Wired for engagement – the Schoolwires blog

K-12 teacher web pages: The key to engaging families outside the classroom

Posted by Debbora Woods on 3/12/15 9:00 AM


When Cabarrus County Schools’ (NC) website vendor went out of business, the K-12 district was prompted to look for another provider and joined the Schoolwires family. During the transition, the district created Board policies and administrative guidelines for school and teacher websites. In order to maintain quality control, safety, and security of information and also ensure efficient, up-to-date school-home communications, teachers must maintain web pages within their schools’ websites. Their web pages include a welcome page, teacher picture and contact information, calendar, course syllabus, handouts and notes, and photos of events and activities.

Recently, we noticed activity in social media around the teacher web pages of Ms. Sloane Wood, music teacher at Cox Mill Elementary in the Cabarrus district. She is going beyond the district's teacher web page minimums and really using her pages to engage and connect with her different audiences she serves. When asked who her different audiences were, Sloane replied, “My main audiences that I appeal to with content on my website are students, families, and my peer teachers. And each audience requires different content, in different formats, that is relevant to them.”

So, of course, we needed to learn more! We collaborated with Sloane to write about her family engagement goals and tactics. We learned her challenges:

  • Provide good customer service to students and families
  • Be a responsible citizen
  • Preserve what students have created
  • Incentivize good student behavior
  • Archive years of teacher work
  • Integrate music curriculum with other teachers' curriculum
  • Share education and professional training with peers

If you want to explore the solutions Schoolwires was able to provide, and discover her outstanding results, you'll definitely want to read Sloane's success story -- Teacher web pages: The key to engaging families outside the classroom.

Want your students more engaged?

Do your parents feel knowledgable and involved?

Are your school-to-home communications efficient and effective?

This story has the tips you need!

Download your copy today!


Topics: School-to-Home Communication, Teacher Web Pages, Family Engagement

Leading the Way - New Article from Harvard Graduate School of Education

Posted by Debbora Woods on 2/16/15 11:27 AM


Happy Presidents Day!

Today we are featuring an article - Leading the Way - by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in which they provide resources that feature some of the policymakers, researchers, and practitioners who have led within the field of family engagement.

"We know that leadership drives education reform," says Harvard Family Research Project Founder and Director Heather Weiss. "It is indispensable in elevating family engagement, which often takes a back seat to changes that happen in the classroom. Given today's concern about opportunity gaps outside school, we also need leaders that provide both equitable access for children and opportunities for family engagement in different learning environments, for example, in after school programs and libraries and museums."

Make sure you take a few moments to read the article and check out the resources that include, but are not limited to:

  • commentaries of several leaders who represent a diversity of perspectives
  • lessons designed to address and overcome nagative judgments about families
  • opportunities for parent-generated solutions

And, if you want to know how your K-12 district is doing in its family engagement and community outreach initiatives, check out our free Community Engagement Assessment >>

Topics: Family Engagement, Community Outreach, Presidents Day

Article: What a Lesson Plan for Parent Engagement Looks Like

Posted by Debbora Woods on 1/27/15 9:00 AM


I just read a great article from Education Week Teacher called "What a Lesson Plan for Parent Engagement Looks Like." It's a real-life story from teacher Megan Allen and she provides some good engagement strategies, such as:

  1. Talk about family engagement. Teachers must spend time exploring how to include families as partners in student learning.
  2. Set the tone. Good teacher-family communication is quick, effective, and consistent.
  3. Make it part of the lesson plan. For example, will students be performing a task that parents can capture with a smartphone or iPad? Teachers can collect photos over time and display them at a conference night.

This article also provides links to a podcast and a 5-part blog on how K-12 teachers can communicate effectively with parents. Check it all out here >>

Want to discover more Schoolwires tips and resources to improve your K-12 district's family and community engagement? Take our free Community Engagement Assessment

Topics: Parent Engagement, Family Engagement, K-12 Teachers

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