In a new national survey from ParentSquare, school and district leaders across the United States shared their current school-home communications practices and their plans for future communications. Among the survey’s noteworthy findings: Email is the most used communications channel, text messaging is seen as twice as effective as it is frequent, and a staggering 64% say paper flyers and newsletters is the one channel they most no longer want to use.
Conducted in early 2022, the survey garnered over 1,300 responses from both customers and non-customers of the company. ParentSquare has published the survey findings in a report titled “Communications Future Survey: Educator Perspectives on What Works to Reach Families and What Should Change.” Educators can also download an infographic, “The Future of School-Home Communications,” that highlights the survey’s key findings.
One of the most noteworthy findings was education leaders’ strong preference for digital communications. Approximately two-thirds of schools in the survey wanted to increase their use of digital communications over the next two to three years. Specifically, mobile apps and texting have caught leaders’ interest as proven communication channels that can help them better reach students’ families.
SMS text is currently the third most popular communication channel, with 73% of respondents using it, following email (93%) and a school website/portal (84%). Almost a third (30%) of those educators want to increase use of texting for school-home communications. As several respondents pointed out, virtually every adult has a mobile phone equipped with texting capability.
Mobile apps is the sixth most popular channel choice, with 64% of respondents currently using it. But it is the most popular choice for future expansion. More than a third (35%) of schools want to increase their use of a mobile app for communication over the next two to three years.
Paper communications, in terms of flyers and newsletters that go home, took the biggest hit in the survey results. While nearly half, or 47%, of respondents say they currently use this communications channel, nearly two thirds (64%) say paper is the one channel they’d like to jettison over the next two to three years.
Schools recognized the need to train teachers and parents in technology use to accommodate increased digital communications. In fact, respondents noted the need by a 2:1 margin. Many responses mentioned the need for parents to have in-person training in communications technology for improved community engagement.
“Good school-family communication has always been important, but the remote instruction phase of the pandemic was a watershed moment,” said Anupama Vaid, President & Founder, ParentSquare. “Based on the experiences of administrators and teachers and these survey results, it’s clear schools and districts want to continue to reach families using methods that increase engagement, including two-way communication, language translation and fewer platforms to manage.”
Since the company’s founding over a decade ago, ParentSquare has become the premier unified school-home engagement platform for K-12 education that engages every family with school communications and communications-based services.
In early May, ParentSquare will host a panel of experts to discuss the implications of the “Communications Future Survey” report. Among the panelists will be Keith Krueger, CEO of Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Trinette Marquis, APR, Executive Director of the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA), and Elisabeth O’Bryon, Ph.D., the co-founder and Chief Impact Officer of Family Engagement Lab. The webinar, “New Research: The Future of School-Home Communications,” will be held on Tuesday, May 3 at 2 p.m. ET. Registration is free and open to all.
ParentSquare is relied upon by millions of educators and families in 44 states for unified, effective school communications. ParentSquare provides parent engagement tools that work from the district office to the individual classroom, supported by powerful metrics and reporting. ParentSquare’s technology platform features extensive integrations with student information and other critical administrative systems, translation to more than 100 languages, and app, email, text, voice, and web portal access for equitable communication. ParentSquare (http://www.parentsquare.com), founded in 2011, is based in Santa Barbara, CA.