Overview

This framework for communication and data collection has been created to improve school-home communication with or without remote learning, in a way that considers access, equity, and inclusivity. The following specific goals were identified:

  • Identify home supports to better assess the needs of students (at risk, ELL etc.)
  • Conduct ongoing appraisal of guardian comfort level, expectations,and restrictions in supporting learning

This was done by creating a structure and framework, specific to K-8 and 9-12 educators, for recording data from communication opportunities with each family.

Research suggests that parents of older students may only require one-way communication forms. At this stage, academic success is negatively associated with parental involvement that is seen as intrusive or controlling, while parent-child communication and indirect support related to school has a positive association. Therefore, keeping parents “in the loop” would help facilitate the parent-child communication and support academic success indirectly. In addition, research indicates many school systems do not adequately account for needs of many ELL families – using English in most school-parent communications. Understanding the barriers that hinder parent involvement and selecting appropriate communication tools can aid educators in successfully supporting and improving parent/guardian engagement. 

As 9-12 educators typically instruct more students than elementary school educators, it may not be reasonable for 9-12 educators to maintain a record of the communications for each family. In addition, the degree of supports needed with older students and the type of information gathered to support learning may not be as robust – therefore we suggest a slightly simpler communication setup than K-8. Although we suggest using a combination of the Remind app for one-way communication with recording occurring with OneNote, this framework and template can be adjusted for many different applications and programs.


Platforms

Microsoft OneNote: provides educators with creative collaboration and communication between teachers, students and parents. Even as home/ school communication tends to shift from two-way to one-way in high school, OneNote provides a space for data collection and communication logs that may be necessary. The program allows users to create and organize folders and collaborate by providing editing access to multiple users as a means of sharing student data across multiple classes. In terms of data collection, OneNote supports organization and management of running records, and can provide password-protected access to material as an additional privacy feature. In consideration of accessibility, OneNote also has an built-in immersive reader, a built-in translate feature which can convert text into 65 different languages, and a built-in accessibility checker. The translation features allows for printed versions of communication to be available for students and families as needed. Although at the 9-12 level not all features may be utilized, it is helpful when considering accessibility challenges. Additionally, OneNote is accessible with any device and provides its users with multi-modal applications.

Remind: a free communication platform allowing educators to connect through text with individual, class-wide or school wide messaging. Although in 9-12 it is likely educators will use this app for one-way communication between home and school, it can be two-way enabled. It is also supported with other common platforms like: Google Classroom, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, allowing users to pull content from other applications. The built-in translation icon allows messages to be translated into more than 90 different languages as necessary support for ELL students and their families. Remind stores communication history and allows for a history to be exported via email and collected and stored confidentially in a program such as OneNote. The capabilities and compatibility with OneNote give educators the ability to track and record individual communications and/or class-wide data. Remind allows for family preferences in communication using technology – direct or indirect, synchronous or non-synchronous, and provides multiple means for communication when language barriers exist.


 9-12 Communication Setup

The communication log template is available on Google Drive – however for best results copy the format to a Word document, or directly onto a OneNote page to allow for Microsoft’s various accessibility tools.  Once there, additional columns can be added and modified as needed.

There is a more detailed K-8 template available as well.

*Communication Setup:

  1. Create a new section for Communication tracking – within an existing class notebook.
  2. Share a link to the notebook with necessary colleagues/paraprofessionals as needed.   
  3. Add a first page in the section for the communication log template.
  4. Create a free Remind app account.
  5. Send out a first communication.

*This style of communication setup could also be created with Google Drive/Classroom and another communication application, as it has similar functionality to OneNote in terms of collecting, storing, and sharing information.

The image below is a screen capture of a OneNote setup with the communication template:

Screenshot of the 9-12 template embedded in a OneNote notebook. A separate section for Communication is listed among other sections along the left side. The page that is visible in the open Communication section shows the template table partially filled with communication data along rows for each student.

9-12 Template embedded in OneNote

Additional information on this site:

 

Feature image by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash