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School-to-Home Communications: Most effective tools for parent communications & engagement

More than 29,000 parents shared their opinions via Speak Up 2016

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Parents & Principals Differ on the Most Effective Forms of Teacher-to-Parent Communications

What is the most effective way for teachers to communicate information to parents about class activities or academic progress? Principals Parents
Personal emails 65% 70%
Text message 45% 52%
Face-to-face meetings 67% 37%
Personal phone calls 70% 36%
Handwritten notes 22% 28%
Push thru mobile app to phone 22% 24%
Auto phone messages 29% 21%
School portal 34% 20%

Parents & principals agree on top 2 most effective forms of school/district-to-home communications: Email and auto phone messages.

Take note:

  • Elementary school parents (45%) are more interested in face-to-face (F2F) meetings than high school parents (30%).
  • Tech-savvy parents favor digital communications by almost 2:1 compared to parents with beginner tech skills.
  • There is no differences in parents' interest in using text messages for communications by demographics or grade of child in school.

Big disconnect though on website and social media effectiveness:

  • While more than half of principals said Facebook is effective; just 24% of parents agreed.
  • Nearly half of principals said websites are effective for teacher communications; just 19% of parents agreed.

While 66% of parents are satisfied with teacher to home communications,
there are big differences by grade levels.

Parents of students in… Dissatisfied Neutral Somewhat satisfied Very satisfied
Elementary School 14% 11% 33% 42%
Middle School 21% 18% 38% 23%
High School 24% 23% 35% 19%

Source: Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, 2016 Findings - the results of the authentic, unfiltered views of 514,351 K-12 students, parents, and educators from around the world, including 29,309 parents. Speak Up is an annual research initiative of Project Tomorrow, a global nonprofit organization. Learn more about Speak Up and other research findings from Project Tomorrow at tomorrow.org.

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