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Five things to ask for in your parent teacher communication app
Communication apps for schools come in all shapes and sizes, but make sure your app has these five non-negotiables.
Why is two-way communication considered the top way to engage families? It builds trust faster and it’s more authentic.1 Just like this blog article started with a question to you, if schools ask a question and allow a space for families to answer, they are starting a dialogue and automatically involving families in the conversation bridging school to home. For most schools this is not new information. When you are searching for a two-way communication tool, or comparing what’s on the market to your current tool, here are five things to make sure they are offering your school before you sign your next long-term contract.
1. Parent teacher communication must translate
|Example: If an English-speaking teacher needs to message a Spanish-speaking parent, they send the message in English, and the parent can respond back in Spanish because that’s the language they’ve set their app to. Then the teacher will receive the message translated back into English. Everyone understands—let the engagement begin.|
2. Always have administrative transparency
3. More than a two-way communication app for school
The complaint many parents have is that they are downloading multiple apps from their children’s schools. They download the SIS app to hear about grades, an information app to hear about general school updates, a communication app to talk to teachers, a tip line app, etc. Ask your app company what other modules it offers and if there’s a way to consolidate those features. You will save money and administrative time, and parents will be happy not to have to create a school app folder for all the school-related apps on their phone.
4. One app for multiple schools
If your families have more than one child in the district, are your elementary schools, for example, all using different platforms for parent-teacher communication? Consolidate with a company where parents can toggle between multiple schools and conversations with teachers instead of having to download multiple apps. From an admin perspective, you should have full district oversight as well!
5. School technology safety is a real issue
Not mentioned, but assumed under this criteria would always be to ask about training and support. Training should always be included. Also support should always be unlimited and extend to all users of the product. No bottlenecks waiting for the person who signed the contract to submit tickets! Additionally, the company should provide you with a marketing plan after you launch your parent teacher communication app. This plan should share how to download, what families need to search in the app store to download, and login instructions across all your platforms so no one misses it.