The field trip that never happened...and the puberty meeting we were never
There was a weekend-long field trip to go camping at my Stepson’s middle school. For him that would mean meeting new friends, spending a weekend outside (without Minecraft), and potentially building confidence by participating in a ropes course. For us, it meant a weekend where his younger brother could get extra attention, have their shared bedroom all to himself, and have some special time with his dad.
The form, and packet for the field trip was sent home with him, and we never got it. There was no other mention of this trip by email, on the website, or the teacher’s website. Because my stepson didn’t want to go camping, he threw it away. There was also a letter sent home inviting parents to a discussion about puberty. Needless to say, we also missed that meeting. Probably for the best, as I have yet to hear that topic be brought up in a comfortable, useful way.
What can schools do to reduce the lost forms and improve communication with parents?
Create online forms and a “smart” way to push them out.
Imagine no longer receiving those perfectly origami folded forms and notes from class at the bottom of your child’s lunchbox. Instead this form would be pushed to you through an app, an email from the teacher, or the school—and suddenly communication with parents is starting to feel easy!
Contactless payments, that can be linked to the form.
Great! What if you could pay on that form, instead of sending cash with your child to school, or having to park, walk in and pay cash or check in the office. What if it could all be done on the form that came to you through your school’s app? This sounds not only more convenient, but more secure.
Subscription option for parents to stay in the know.
Sometimes as parents we have to hunt for their school communication. There was a time when I had to check the Facebook page, check the app, and search for emails from the school. Information was going sometimes to each of these channels, but never to all three. I was in a constant state of panic, like I’d missed something for school. Having a page or calendar to subscribe to so you would get those daily, or weekly updates would help parents engage more.
We will never know what was discussed at the puberty meeting, and my stepson has yet to do a ropes course, but I do know these school communication gaps between teachers and parents with our students as the messengers can be bridged by intuitive technology. Your school may already be using this tech right now.