The role of effective communication has never been more critical, but districts and schools are facing a gamut of challenges in engaging all parents and guardians — especially the hardest-to-reach families. To help educators bridge the communications gap between school and home, ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home communications platform for K-12, has created a free best practice guide.

Titled “Reaching the Last 10%: Engaging the Hardest-to Reach Families,” the 13-page guide provides practical recommendations to address five common barriers to effective communication. Additionally, readers can also access a companion infographic, “5 Barriers to Engagement Through Communications,” which provides supporting data points behind the five situations that can have a significant impact on family engagement.

“Our collective years of experience with schools and districts across the country helped us identify the challenges that we discuss throughout the guide,” said Anupama Vaid, Founder & President of ParentSquare. “It's through that experience that we were able to observe and devise strategies to help educators overcome some of those obstacles.”

Researchers from the Center for Educational Equity found that family involvement is one of the strongest predictors of children’s success in school. But it’s known that K-12 students with disengaged parents and guardians are more likely to have lower grades and test scores, inconsistent attendance, negative attitudes towards education and more. With this in mind, ParentSquare came up with four distinct recommendations for each of the five following challenges to engaging all families: 

  1. Language and cultural barriers
  2. Non-tech-literate families and low bandwidth devices
  3. Inaccurate contact information
  4. Families facing non-school-related challenges
  5. Information overload

Several of the solutions that are proposed within the guide include having bilingual family engagement task forces, consolidating multiple, disparate communications tools and apps, and implementing a tiered communication system to avoid overlapping messaging.

“Overcoming communications barriers to reaching that last 10% of families can feel daunting,” said Vaid. “That’s why taking small, consistent steps over time as outlined in this new guide can help educators proactively connect with even the hardest-to-reach families in a consistent, effective, and more equitable way.”

The guide, “Reaching the Last 10%: Engaging the Hardest-to Reach Families” and the companion infographic “5 Barriers to Engagement Through Communications” are available for download now at


About ParentSquare™

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 (, founded in 2011, is based in Santa Barbara, CA.