17 Tips on Getting Parents Involved from the Schoology Community
As we get the 2017–18 school year rolling, we decided to ask our community for tips on how to get parents involved in the learning process. Here's what they had to say.
What's Your Number One Piece of Advice for Using the LMS to Engage Parents?
Cherokee Christian School
Make Schoology the one-stop-shopping location for parents. Use it as THE place to check grades and homework, to get announcements, etc. For example, if parents can find out their student's homework assignments by going to Schoology OR by going to a separate teacher website OR by looking on a separate Google calendar maintained by the teacher, you not only have the possibility of conflicts (changes made in one place not being consistent with other places) but also parents can avoid Schoology if they wish.
But if you put as much information in Schoology as possible, and nowhere else, then parents will get in the habit of checking Schoology first. They also won't get confused ("Do I go to the school website, the teacher website, Schoology, Google, Pinterest, or Facebook for this?").
Instructional Coach for Technology
At the secondary level, we got parents on when we began using the gradebook feature. For elementary parents, a great way to pull them in is to have classroom teachers create media albums with photos from class and school events; parents love to see what their children are doing.
Technology Integration Champion and Broadcast Teacher
Bowie Middle School
First and foremost, make parents feel comfortable with Schoology and lower risk of frustration. This will make them feel empowered and more likely to login and interact with elements. Since everyone organizes a bit differently, create a short screencast video that gives a quick tour of how your units are organized. Include your webcam video to give a personal touch and a written script with screenshots for anyone who can't or doesn't want to watch a video. Make this readily available on the platform your district uses as its public face, such as teacher webpage on the school website.
6th Grade Science Teacher
Copperas Cove ISD
My best advice is to get parents excited about Schoology. Explain to them that Schoology is the place to communicate, get assignments, monitor grades, and track their child's progress, all in one place. Let parents know that Schoology removes the hassle that using multiple apps cause. Refer parents to Schoology early and often, and parents will definitely become engaged in its benefits.
Instructional Technology Specialist
There are usually three things parents are looking to stay informed about in the school life of their children. They want to know about assignments and when they are due, they want to see grades, and they want to see their child's work. Schoology makes is so easy to share assignments and dates due via the calendar feature, progress can easily be checked in the grades area and they can see all of their child's work when they have parent access. No outside tool needed...one stop for everything!
Director of Online Learning & Academic Support
KIS- keep it simple. Introduce the platform to parents by first asking parents what they want to get out of the ONE. Then design the goals based on the feedback and use the goals to guide how to use the system. Engaging the stakeholders first is key.
Palo Alto Unified School District
Posting pictures of students engaging in hands-on learning experiences will definitely bring parents to the site. Parents always appreciate having opportunities to see pictures and videos of their children. If your able to create video podcasts of your students, that will enhance the parent communication with student voice.
Cincinnati Public Schools
My number one piece of advice to engage parents to use the LMS is to make a personal connection with the parents and show them how they can use it. I meet with parents at parent-teacher conferences and show them how to use the website. I will send home letters with instructions for parents on how to use the website. I will even sometimes phone home and speak to parents about Schoology. Using a little bit of old-fashion communication can make a huge impact and really bring parents into the Schoology fold.
Director of Technology Integration and Student Services
Mount Pleasant Area Schools
You definitely need to show the relevance and importance of the type of communication you are sharing. If you use Schoology for grading updates, for example, be sure it is timely and updated. There is no worse PR than old information that "never gets updated." Also, don't make the communication exclusively about grades. Open up about upcoming events/activities. Also consider engaging parents in positive conversation through "Groups" about various curriculum or school topics. Information sharing is a good thing and it helps parents feel they are a part of their child's education.
Township High School District 211
Similar to setting up digital places for young and adult learners to interact and collaborate, a place, within Schoology, can be established as a communication portal and information hub. We create parent accounts and enroll them in an optional, self-paced parent course. The course provides material and resources for digital citizenship, managing a digital household, and for engaging in school-based activities. Why Schoology? Because this allows the parent space to reside in the same area as their child's school experience. We are looking to provide additional avenues of support through our Schoology parent groups during the coming year.
English Teacher/School Public Relations
Northwood Local Schools
My number one piece of advice for using the Schoology LMS to engage parents is to provide various opportunities to educate parents on utilizing the LMS. Our district has done this through video tutorials and having our technology integrators available during Open House and Parent/Teacher Conferences. Parents must understand the basic concepts of the LMS so that they can engage with their child's daily classroom learning.
Technology Integration Champion
As a high school teacher, parents want to see that you are holding students accountable for their learning. When I show them how easy it is to access notes, extra practice help, data from assessments they believe their student is recieving an appropriate education. Parents want to know their students are being prepared for the next level whether college or work force.Engage parents by showing them how easy Schoology makes it for their student to always be able to get the help they need.
AP & Instructional Technology Coach
Lowndes County School District
Our school district help a parent night at each campus. Sent home letters with the parent access code and told what night and time the event would be at the school. A brief description of the benefits of parent access to Schoology would offer. We had computer labs open with teachers on standby to help parents setup accounts if they needed it.
School District of Milton
The best way to engage parents in the LMS is to make it accessible to them. Don't assume they know how to log in and navigate as easily as you or your students, and make yourself available to help them get comfortable.
Instructional Technology Coach
Lowndes County School District
We opened up Schoology to parents this year and have had great success. We started out by having Schoology Nights, in which we had parent trainings. We set up their accounts and showed them around. Another critical component, was training our teachers and administrators on how to post updates and use the calendar. The more our Administrators used it, the more of a community was built. Building that community is probably the most important part.
Killeen Independent School District
My best advice for engaging parents using Schoology is to post things specifically for parents. On my main course page, I have a Parent Resource folder with items like my syllabus and the Schoology Code of Conduct I have students sign. I can post school information, tutoring times, and even lunch menus, items that are really relevant to parents more so than students.
Technology Integration Coordinator
Seaman Unified School District
You can never over communicate in getting the information out there to parents. Share about Schoology wherever you can in school newsletters, district newsletters, handouts at conferences, on your website, through district Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc. We had success with having a Schoology sign-up booth at some of our Math and Reading nights open to the community. We also held Parent Technology nights, one of which was entirely dedicated to Schoology and how to get signed up.