Engaging a new generation of parents
Engaging a new generation of parents

Engaging a new generation of parents

Lots of school leaders talk about the difficulties in engaging parents post COVID. While COVID was certainly a circuit breaker, a bigger factor might be that schools are now engaging a generation of parents who are all digital natives.  

These parents operate all areas of their work and family life via efficient, largely digital methods.  Research shows that digital and social media natives think and act differently, particularly when it comes to relating to others online and offline.  This is particularly challenging for schools trying to engage the ‘Kiss And Go’ parents in primary school, or the ‘Invisible Parents’ in high school.  

Eddee has 6 key tips for schools on how to address and support parent carer engagement and communication –

  1. Be authentic – everyone can spot a fake.  When it comes to school and community communication, you are trying to engage parents, not win a popularity contest.  The school branding, positioning, and messaging needs be consistent across all platforms used.  The art is packaging this for the relevant medium (social media, emails, newsletters, website and reports) and audience – particularly in relation to attention span.
  2. Be relevant – instantly.  More than any other, this generation has limited duration of focus, they are not just busy, they are juggling multiple, competing demands and struggling to find time for anything, be it important or not.  Keep messages short with a call to action.
  3. Don’t spam – the silent opt-out is real.  With modern learning systems it is easy to have all the alerts turned on – often all this does is switch the parent ‘off’.  Understand your school communication message hierarchy and apply it – part of this is differentiating between things that require action, student specific information and general information.
  4. Proactively onboard new parents and carers.  Schools have got very good at onboarding new students, however for many, onboarding families is an afterthought at best. Doing this well will help build a positive relationship.  Do it poorly or assume it will happen naturally, could result in sowing the early seeds for future issues.
  5. Build on common ground.  While it is important to recognise the unique qualities and backgrounds of every individual, community comes from common unity. With each family this can start with shared purpose of doing what is best for the student and build out from there.
  6. Don’t rely too much on a single communication channel. Every individual in your community will have a different communication preference. You have many ways to engage them, in the local community, in person, online, via phone and text, and social media. Use all of them, wisely and respectfully.

Eddee helps schools to understand their current standing in the community and how to improve it.  Find out more here