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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


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.

Speak Up is generously underwritten this year by the following innovative companies

Apex Learning Blackboard Brain Pop Dreambox Qualcomm Wireless Reach Rosetta Stone Scholastic