Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Time to Improve Parent Communication Jacob Baumann by Jacob Baumann Jacob Baumann Product Manager Read time: With some students in the classroom, others learning from home, and still others splitting their time between home and school, there has perhaps never been a year where parent communication was more important. Let’s look at some tools you can use to make communication easy and clear. Note: Unless specified, all features are available for both SMS 2.0 and Qmlativ users. Texting Thanks to our partner SchoolMessenger, you can easily send text messages throughout your district! To get started with this service, you’ll contact SchoolMessenger to integrate your contact information. Once you’re set up, you can send automatic texts and calls to keep everyone in the loop—no personal phones required. Push Notifications Through the SMS 2.0 mobile app (Qmlativ forthcoming), guardians can receive push notifications on various items (missing assignments, grades, etc.). It’s a quick and easy way to share updates! Message Center With the Message Center, administrators and teachers can communicate with students and guardians. Plus, a record of all communication will be saved in Skyward for reporting purposes. Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the Family Access Toolkit, which has Power-Up tutorials for everyone in your district—administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Want to embed any of these videos on your website for easy access? No worries, it’s easy peasy! Auto Emails Tired of sending the same messages over and over? You can set up automatic emails to send when triggered by certain events. For example, parents could receive an email when their student reaches a certain number of tardies or his or her grade drops below a specified threshold. Guardians can choose to subscribe to these emails in Family Access. (Note, in Qmlativ, these alerts come as notifications as all messages/notifications are sent through the Message Center). Absence Notifications No need to for parents to call the office for this one! In SMS 2.0 (Qmlativ forthcoming), guardians can enter absence requests for their students through Family Access. Assignments and Gradebook Teaching may look different now, but teachers can still give and grade homework entirely online. They’ll start by building assignments in Teacher Access. Then students will complete and submit their homework. Finally, teachers can post grades for students and parents to see in the Gradebook. Letters A variety of letters can be posted to Family Access for easy viewing. Report cards and attendance letters are two examples, but your district can get creative when it comes to communicating online. Printed Letters If you’d like to send letters via old-fashioned snail mail, you can still generate these letters online. For example, you may want to send letters relating to discipline, food service (SMS 2.0 only, Qmlativ forthcoming), or vaccinations. Parent-Teacher Conferences With SMS 2.0, if parents and teachers want to meet, they can set up a parent-teacher conference online, where they can share ideas and updates from a safe social distance. These conferences can be arranged in Family Access. (Qmlativ forthcoming) ParentSquare Some Skyward districts, like the MSD of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, are using ParentSquare to unify all communication tools, including Skyward! Skyward integrates with ParentSquare via an API so you can control all your communications from one central hub—and communicate in any language! We hope these features will serve as helpful tools as you communicate with parents this fall and beyond! Follow-Up Resources Sharpen your communication skills with Radio Check: 5 Tactics for “Loud and Clear” Communication. Then dig into remote-ready resources in our Remote Readiness Toolkit. Jacob Baumann Product Manager Share this story: Want tips, tricks, and feature updates delivered to your inbox once a month? Sign up here!