An Edsby customer talks about engaging parents

How one of the largest school districts in America fosters better parent involvement using Edsby

One of the largest single school districts using Edsby has advice for other K-12 districts seeking better ways to loop parents into their children’s education. And it published two articles on the subject this month.

In 3 often overlooked, but completely logical, ways to effectively engage parents, Gregory Hart, Manager of Web Communications for Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida writes in eSchool News that districts need to be increasingly meeting families where they are, which more often than not is online, with three strategies:

1. Convenience
If the system isn’t easy to use, the stakeholders won’t use it.

2. Consistency
If teachers aren’t updating the system and communicating with stakeholders on a regular basis, then parents and students have no reason to check it, and

3. Community
Think beyond grades and homework information when targeting parent communications. Give parents a reason to talk to students about classwork when they are at home.

Hart said the Edsby system “was a strong fit to meet privacy and equity concerns, while supporting a wide range of functionalities” for its 215,000-student district.

Separately, in Top Tech Essentials for Parent Engagement in The Southeast Education Network’s SEEN Magazine, Hart writes the bare bones of privacy and security were important, but just provisioning accounts doesn’t get all parents actively involved in their students’ coursework.

Once a district gets its ducks in a row in terms of privacy and security concerns, another question that remains is equity. With any technology implementation, districts need to be mindful of students getting the same access as their peers.

Because more than three-fifths of our 215,000 students come from economically disadvantaged families, the system we implemented had to be accessible by anyone, regardless of what technology they had available.

Since launching its Edsby system in the 2013-14 school year, Hillsborough County has “seen its use steadily rise — with more than a quarter of our students’ parents now checking the system at least once a week,” wrote Hart.

Read more about how Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida uses Edsby »