Why Mobile-Friendly Parent Engagement Belongs In Your School Communications Plan


Student achievement is the goal of any effective parent-school communications plan. Students perform better when parents and families play an active role in their education, and student outcomes across the district improve as a result of increased parent and family engagement. In an increasingly digital world, the method of delivery for parent communications (paper, email, portal, native apps, or text messaging) can have a surprising impact on parent engagement, and also equity initiatives within the district.

According to the PEW Research Center, this is the breakdown of digital device ownership in America.

App StatisticsThe PEW study noted that 1 in 5 homes in America own a smartphone but do not have home internet service. Those who own a computer or laptop may have limited or no access to the internet.  This is important information to consider for districts considering whether they will communicate via text message over a data network or email via WiFi to which many families may not have access.  

The issue around device strategy quickly becomes an issue of equity when considering that smartphones are the preferred device for communication among:

- Younger adults and families
- Non-Caucasians
- Lower-income households

Want to take a closer look at the demographics of smartphone and other device ownership for yourself? Look at PEW’s Mobile Factsheet here.

Given that some of the nation’s most marginalized communities have greater access to smartphones than they do to traditional computer-based web portals and email, school districts should include mobile-friendly communication in their district communications and parent engagement strategy. 

When mobile-friendly options for parent-school communication are present, the odds of successfully reaching a parent or family member increases dramatically.

TransACT® ParentNotices, is a subscription to online collections of multi-language parent-school communications. ParentNotices is aligned with federal requirements, supports your teachers in creating an inclusive communication strategy for all students, and helps you be prepared in the event of a monitoring visit.

We are announcing an updated, next-generation parent engagement platform to support equity in parent and family engagement. The update will include an enhanced and easier to use interface, and a shift to mobile-centric capabilities to reflect user requests and our overall mission to support equity and access for marginalized student populations. Starting in 2020, customers will have access to:

  • Mobile-Friendly (smartphone) Features – Staff can send pre-built notices and custom-built forms in mobile-friendly formats. Parents and families can access notices and forms on their preferred device, submit a digital signature, pay for fees, and return completed notifications all from their laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

  • Engagement Tracking – See all the detailed reporting you need to understand what information was sent out, to whom, and what action was taken by the recipient.

  • New Search Tools – Staff and administrators can now access advanced elastic search to easily locate federally required or recommended notices (such as EL service notifications) as well as frequently used general education notifications (such as head lice notifications) and create favorites to streamline future access.

  • Automated Approval Workflows – Administrators can automate the review and approval of notifications and forms before they are delivered to parents and families.

  • Student Information System (SIS) and ERP Integrations – Teachers and program administrators can save time by pulling roster information from the SIS. If fees are associated with a form or notice, they can be recorded in the district ERP, with a complete audit trail.

  • Single Sign On (SSO) – Leverage your district's existing user account management standard to simplify access for all of your users.

To preview the updates coming to TransACT ParentNotices, schedule a quick demo with a member of our team.

Alyssa Thornley

About The Author

Alyssa Thornley has spent her career working to support schools and communities in providing opportunity to all students. In positions as a teacher, professional development coordinator, and as a volunteer, she has focused on the community’s role in education, and in designing efficient programs that work for diverse needs. Alyssa leads TransACT’s customer engagement and market strategy efforts, and works to ensure innovative programs, guidance, and thought leadership from across the country’s districts are being shared and spread.