Parent engagement is crucial for student success, both academically and socially. Regardless of family income or background, students whose parents are actively involved in their academics are "more likely to have higher grades and test scores, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school"(Henderson, A.T., and K.L. Mapp).
Rural districts sometimes struggle to maintain high parent engagement in their schools because of potential geographic challenges and lack of access resources. In fact, nearly 30% of all American public schools are rural, but did you know that two-thirds of rural Americans own smartphones with internet compatibility? Implementing technology in rural school districts can be the key to student success and increasing parent engagement. Technology can help make it easier for parents to get involved in their child's education especially for busy, working parents who may find it hard to keep up with everything that's happening at school.
Here are some ways for rural school districts to increase parent engagement with technology:
1. Build a district mobile app to keep important information and resources easy to find, all in one place. Your district's app can help parents stay involved in what's happening at their child's school. This can be your district's hub for anything and everything related to your schools, from schedules to curriculum, to grades and report cards.
2. Implement Peachjar as a tool for sending out important school and community resources that positively impact your students. “Our schools and community love Peachjar," says Audrey Childs, PIO at Darlington County School District in South Carolina. "It’s effective and has saved the district and school staffs significant amounts of time. Separated families, grandparents, and caregivers can also get important school information, strengthening the student’s support system.”
3. Send text message notifications to parents about important school and district information to ensure you can communicate with parents in a timely manner. A parent text messaging system can be a fast way to notify parents about school closures, half days, important events, and other urgent information.
What efforts are you using to reach rural parents?