Kayla Dunigan
Mar 29, 2017

According to a study by researchers at Harvard University and Brown University entitled "The Underutilized Potential of Teacher-to-Parent Communication," a field experiment involving 435 struggling high school students proved that even light communication between parents and teachers can be a significant factor in increasing student success.

In the study, the teachers employed a brief personal messages from teachers to the parents of high school students in a credit recovery program.  The weekly communication could occur through an email, text or phone call.

The results to this "light touch" engagement with parents showed dramatic results, increased the probability students earned credits by 6.5 percentage points.

What the researchers found was that this regular communication between a teacher and a parent, encouraged parents to have more regular and meaningful conversations with their children about schooling, specifically encouraging conversations about what the student could do to improve.

You can read Education Week's summary of the study "Want to Increase Parents' Involvement in Schooling? Send a Quick Message Home"

While email and texts are good tools for communicating with parents and students, it does come with some disadvantages.

Emails and text tends to cause an information explosion for teachers when you're trying to communicate with dozens or even hundreds of parents and students over the course of a week.  Teachers' inbox or phone becomes a cacophony of different messages, making it difficult for teachers to respond or take action.

And what's worse is that these tools are not integrated to your classroom management systems, meaning that every message has to be typed out by a teacher, even if the data is already available elsewhere.

The Good News

You already have the tool to facilitate this type of teacher-parent communication at your fingertips.

PupilPath has been designed from the ground up to encourage and simplify communication between teachers, parents and students.

PupilPath is completely managed through teachers' classroom management app, Skedula, teachers are able to seamlessly provide parents with actionable data rather than just sending home test scores and daily attendance.

One unique area where PupilPath excels beyond the email and text tools used in this study is that it is a native apps for iOS and Android, as well as a web app for parents that do not have a smartphone. Utilizing an app has several significant benefits, including centralizing all of the teacher-parent communication as well as student information attendance, grades, behavior, anecdotals and assignments.  It is all accessible in seconds rather than having to retype this information into an email or text message.

The PupilPath app also includes instant push notifications, which will inform parents of their child's attendance and assignment grades in real time.

Encouraging Parents to Use PupilPath

One of the most important things to do is to take a very proactive role in encouraging parents and students to sign up and use PupilPath at every opportunity. While it is essential to communicate about PupilPath at the beginning of a school year, it is equally important to have ongoing messaging to reach your parents and students that are not engaged.

Over the years, we have seen many NYC schools get creative in their approach to get parents to sign up for and use PupilPath.  We wanted to a few of these ideas with you:
• Distributing PupilPath registration letters to each attendee at PTA meetings
• Have teachers encourage parents to install and sign into PupilPath while sitting with them at Parent Teacher Conferences
• Hanging posters in hallways reminding parents to register
• Setting up parent registration stations in the lobby, office and classrooms using a laptop or tablet
• Ask students to help their parents install the app on their phone
• Teacher's set up a scavenger hunt through the PupilPath app so that students can learn to use all of the elements of PupilPath
• Offer extra credit questions on a quiz or test to assess a student knowing information available in PupilPath such as their current grades.
• Allow students to demonstrate using PupilPath during video announcements
And these are just a few ideas to get you started. Come up with your own creative ways to encourage parents and students use PupilPath.

We have some great resources to get you started using PupilPath and assisting you in registering parents and students

There are two ways to determine if your parents and students are registered for and using PupilPath.
• You can view the registration and usage for an individual student or parents of the student within the Student Portfolio. Simply click on the Bio tab and select PupilPath, where you will see last login information as well as mobile device registration.
• You can view the registration and usage on a school-wide basis in the Administration Tab and then selecting Downloads and then PupilPath Email Accounts.

Here are a few other resources that will help you manage registrations:
• Check out the knowledge base article on how to print registration codes
• PupilPath Registration letters can be printed in a student's home language by checking the translate content automatically box in the Report Generator
• Teachers can print a list of registration codes to have handy for parents and students. Choose View My Classes, click on a class and click on the "Download Class List" button below the student list.

Don't wait to engage parents and students

Don't leave parent communication to quarterly parent-teacher conferences or end-of-the-year exam results. Keep parents engaged on how their child is doing in school by keeping attendance, behavior and grades up-to-date as soon as they are available, and by publishing assignments as soon as they are giving. Doing these simple things requires very little effort and will keep both parents and students engaged in their progress and learning.

The IO team is glad to help support you using PupilPath.
Call us at 866-817-0726, extension 2 or email us at supportteam@ioeducation.com with any questions you may have.

Topics: Parent-Teacher-Student Communication