According to CoSN’s 2021 EdTech Leadership Survey, the “overwhelming majority (95%) of districts have changed how they engage with parents during the pandemic, including increasing the frequency of communication and expanding the number of communication channels.” But are these communications working? To help educators devise effective engagement strategies, ParentSquare will moderate a panel session on “Cracking the Code for Improved Family Engagement'' during the 2022 SXSW EDU Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. Representatives from two districts and Family Engagement Lab will join as panelists.

The 2022 SXSW EDU Conference & Festival takes place March 7-10. The panel discussion will occur on Tuesday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 18AB.

Attendees will learn useful and easy-to-replicate tips for engaging families across the different levels of the school community. They will discover new communications tactics and strategies that increase parent confidence and strengthen school or district cultures. Attendees will also hear about effective ways for schools to connect and collaborate with all families through equitable and inclusive practices. Additionally, panel members will share how to design and implement an engagement plan while eliminating duplications in disparate, disconnected legacy apps and technologies.

ParentSquare Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Chad Stevens, a former school district CTO, will use his extensive knowledge of K-12 institutions and the edtech industry to moderate the three-member panel which includes: Sujata Wycoff, communications director at Cambridge Public Schools (CPS); Renee Delport, school to home communications officer for Kings Canyon Joint Unified School District (KCUSD); and Dr. Elisabeth O’Bryon, the chief impact officer and co-founder at Family Engagement Lab.

Wycoff works with the CPS superintendent to shape the district’s communications strategy. Central to its strategy is deepening engagement with its stakeholders, particularly families and students, to understand communication needs and ensure an equitable learning environment.

Delport works to be a conduit between KCUSD and its stakeholders. Focusing on equitable communications strategies that provide detailed analytics, she trains administrators on how to ensure all families are receiving information so that they can more fully engage in their child’s education. In addition, she works with schools to troubleshoot issues that are preventing families from receiving communications.

At Family Engagement Lab, a nonprofit that is catalyzing equitable family engagement and student learning by bridging classroom curriculum and at-home learning, O'Bryon ensures that the organization’s programs and services are informed by high-quality academic research and ongoing cycles of research. Her background as a bilingual school psychologist has deepened her understanding of the needs and experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse students and families, as well as how to support meaningful, asset-based partnerships between families and educators.

“At ParentSquare, we’ve learned a great deal from these education experts, so we’re thrilled that they’re bringing their expertise and ideas to a larger audience,” said Anupama Vaid, Founder & President of ParentSquare. “SXSW EDU is an ideal venue for forward-thinking conversations, and there’s no doubt that their ideas will help educators better navigate the changing communications environment.”

For additional information on the subject of parent engagement, session attendees and other interested parties can download the 13-page guide “Reaching the Last 10%: Engaging the Hardest-to Reach Families.” The guide shares practical recommendations to address five common barriers to effective communication.


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.