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6 Ways to Reach Parents Using Your School CMS

Father looking over son's shoulder at laptop screen with school CMS.
Every generation of parents must balance their busy schedules in order to find time to attend school activities and parent-teacher meetings. However, thanks to the Internet and other media of modern communication, today’s parents have a much better opportunity to catch up with their child’s academic progress.

They also have more options for getting in touch with teachers and inquiring about how their kids are doing in school. According to the 2016 Findings of Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, parents view personal emails, text messages, and face-to-face meetings as the 3 most effective ways of getting information from teachers. Principals, on the other hand, view personal phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and personal emails as the most effective way of relaying information to parents.

At the same time, 50 percent of schools said that increasing parental knowledge about the school is their top priority. In fact, an increasing number of schools and districts are adopting technologies that will help them reach and collaborate with parents. Among the most common communication tools being utilized, most of them can be found in your school’s content management system (CMS):
 

Email Notifications and Email Lists

If versatility is what you’re after, then emails have a lot to offer. They allow for link and file sharing, making it a perfect tool for distributing information, especially for schools that are moving past paper clutter and into digital classrooms.

Teachers can use email for:

  • School announcements
  • Homework submissions
  • Inviting parents to take part in meetings and activities
  • Disseminating just about any type of news

Parents prefer receiving emails, too. It’s among the top 3 most effective tools for contacting parents, according to both parents and principals.

One of the best times to use email is when announcing parent-teacher meetings. Sending a detailed notice for such an event allows both teachers and parents to prepare for the date and set the points they need to discuss. This can ease the strain for meetings centered on issues and problems. Email threads, which are sorted according to topic, also help both parties to track conversations, search for information, and find new messages. Regular updates, such as daily homework announcements and weekly or monthly digests, are also best shared through email.

To maximize this communication tool, teachers can invite parents to subscribe to their email list and newsletters. To make sending emails and newsletters a more convenient task, schools and districts should look into a CMS with built-in email editors and options for adding subscription lists.

Voicemail

Voicemail technology is far from new, but it adds a bit more character to the way messages are delivered. This communication tool is often used if the receiver is absent or cannot immediately attend to a call. Voicemail has evolved over the years. From storing and playing back messages, voicemail can now be used to forward voicemail messages to other people’s mailbox. Also, it can send messages to more than one person at a time and allows the transfer and storage of voice messages. Check your school’s CMS admin site to see which of these options are available to you.
 

Text Messaging Through the School CMS

Favored by parents on the go, text messages are a convenient way of relaying short notices and reaching as many people as possible. It’s ideal for sending alerts for inclement weather and for reminding parents that there’s an upcoming meeting that day. Sending a text message through your school CMS should be easy enough. First, you have to select the specific group of people who will be receiving the message. The recipient can be grouped by class, grade level, club, or any other organization. Then, choose if the message should be sent immediately or at a later time. Text messaging systems connected to your CMS should have the capability to store messages and upload and save contact lists for later use.
 

News Alerts

Your school CMS should also have the option for setting news alerts. News alerts refer to a pop-up window that appears on your website’s home page. Just like text messages, this is a useful tool for bringing short reminders, like class cancellations and school events, to the attention of your site visitors.
 

Built-in Social Media Manager

It is a must for any school today to have social media accounts. These accounts not only help maintain the school’s online presence, they also serve as a strong point of connection to students, teachers, and parents. At times, teachers have to use the school’s social media account to widen their audience for official announcements.

Ideally, a school’s CMS should have a built-in social media manager that allows post scheduling and posting and linking to various social media platforms. These features will make it a breeze to manage and synchronize your official social media accounts.
 

Dedicated Parent-Teacher Communication Apps

The inclusion of dedicated parent-teacher communication apps in a school’s CMS is a game-changer when it comes to simplifying parent interaction. Sangha is one example of such an application. This robust communication tool features actionable calendar items, automated reminders, meeting schedulers, a secure messaging system, payment options, and downloadable forms.

Edlio makes these communication tools and options available in the CMS it provides for K-12 school websites. By mastering and maximizing the use of these communication features, you’ll be able to reach as many parents as you can, as often as you need to, all without leaving the CMS environment.