Engagement, Attendance, & Communication: Strategies and Solutions from School Leaders

At Schoolrunner, we’ve been thinking about how to best support our partner schools, whether they are remote, hybrid, or transitioning back to in-person.

We wanted to share some best practices from our school partners that address both the needs of this unique school year and can carry through to an in-person learning environment. How are schools using data strategies to meet the needs of their school and community, whether they remain fully remote, are transitioning back to in-person learning, or are somewhere in between? 

Increasing Parent Engagement 

Parent engagement, even outside of the pandemic, can be a challenge for schools. When we asked our partner schools about how they are increasing parent engagement, we heard a few themes shine through: consistency, transparency, and infusing communication with joy. 

Communication goals: At Schoolrunner, we know that goals are most meaningful when they are tied to clear and measurable actions. At the 2020 ICSVC conference, Courtney Bell, at Capitol High School in Baton Rouge shared that their school leadership set a goal: 30% of parents would receive joyful communication once a week. This goal gave the educators at Capitol the opportunity to focus on providing positive communication to a specific group of parents in a consistent and sustainable way. Courtney shared, “Parents are now getting used to answering the call every time just to hear something positive about their students, so we truly believe in the 3:1 ratio… Schoolrunner helped us utilize joy to get kids on campus.” Hear Courtney’s thoughts (~3 min) from the ICSVC conference on the joy ratio:

Transparency: Educators have a ton on their plate and communication home is most effective when everyone is on the same page. At Digital Pioneers Academy, Alexis Brown shared how increasing transparency in calls home helped her staff communicate more efficiently with parents. Staff members easily log communication home in Schoolrunner so that every teacher and every administrator can see which students have had communication home and which students need to be prioritized in a given week. To hear more about DPA’s approach to communication, check out the clip below (~4 min):

Better Understanding Attendance 

The constraints on in-person learning in 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have led many schools to think creatively about how to take and evaluate attendance. We’ve heard from some school leaders that they started back at square one, asking questions like, “Why do we take attendance” and “What purpose should it serve?”

Earlier this year, Halim Genus, School Leader at KIPP Tech Valley Middle School, shared how his team’s understanding of attendance evolved over the past year. When the KIPP Tech Valley team could no longer use morning in-person greetings to understand how students felt and showed up to school on a given day, they leveraged custom coding to fill in gaps that attendance numbers didn’t provide. Hear about how Halim and his team leveraged custom coding within Schoolrunner to paint a clearer picture of engagement in distance learning in the clip below (~4 min):

We shared some additional insights on attendance tracking in our previous post, Data Strategies for Distance Learning: DC Data Summit

Making Communication Easier 

At Schoolrunner, we are always looking for ways to make an educator’s workload smarter, not harder. We are proud of our recent survey results in which 84% of teachers gave Schoolrunner a 4/5 or 5/5 when asked if they felt Schoolrunner understood their needs. One of the needs we heard and prioritized this year was improving our communication feature on our mobile app. Check out this updated feature below and let us know what you think!

As schools are continuing to adjust to a hybrid learning environment and planning for the next school year, we hope to learn with them and share insights along the way. We recently shared some planning resources for ESSER II funding. If you missed it, view it here

What challenges are and your team still thinking about in hybrid and remote learning? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *