What Schools Need to Look for in a Parent Communication App

    

School administrators recognize that effective communication translates to stronger parent and family engagement, which countless studies have correlated with positive educational outcomes and better classroom behavior. One-third of administrators say effective school-to-home communication is a top issue in their district. School districts are tasked with improving parent and family engagement, while also complying with federal education laws like the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

As they seek to remove communication obstacles and improve family engagement, school districts are investing in parent communication apps. Determining the best fit from the countless solutions on the market can prove challenging.  When searching for a parent communication app, school districts should look for these key features.

Mobile-Friendly Access

97% of parents with school-aged children have access to a smartphone, even across socio-economic lines. School districts must adapt communications strategies to meet their expectations, instead of relying only on paper or email. School districts are missing important opportunities for parent engagement when their communications are not designed for mobile access. School districts must adapt their technology and ensure that communication apps are mobile-friendly and available on the device of choice for parents, staff, and administrators alike.

ESSA-Compliant Notifications

The best communication apps help districts with regulatory requirements for parent communications. Look for a solution with pre-written templates for parent notices that are reviewed by experts in federal education compliance. While useful for all students, communication apps present the added benefit of offering translated notices. Communication apps should also provide districts with built-in data and reporting capabilities to demonstrate usage and prove compliance with federal laws.

Translation Services

School districts can save money on expensive translation services by choosing a parent communication app with instant access to the specific notices and forms they need in all priority languages. TransACT ParentNotices partners with LanguageLine for custom translations performed by trained and qualified translators, ensuring everything from calendars and handbooks to forms, notices, and signs are translated accurately. Partnerships like this help schools avoid low-quality translations that pose potential compliance risks. TransACT ParentNotices subscribers also receive access to live interpretation services in real-time, by video or phone.

English Learner Support 

Comprehensive ESSA-compliant communication plans should take into consideration Limited English Proficiency (LEP) families and the special federal requirements concerning them. A strong communication app will support the district in meeting the challenges associated with complex federal requirements for LEP families. Providing support related to federal guidance helps administrators and teachers focus on meeting the specific needs of students and families, while lifting some of the burden related to following federal law. 

Integration with Existing Software and Systems 

Software should make work more manageable, but it runs the risk of making it more challenging when end-users have to manually transfer or reconcile data, or duplicate work in several places. K12 software needs to integrate with the district's existing software and workflows to avoid silos and miscommunication. TransACT ParentNotices integrates with student roster data in the SIS system and with the district's SSO providers to make access to compliant parent communications easy and to automate the delivery in the parent's preferred home language. The system also stores and delivers the district's existing PDFs and notifications so that teachers always have access to the right version and resource in one central location.

24/7 Expert Guidance

All-star parent communication apps offer quick and easy online assessments that make expert recommendations on ESSA, IDEA 2004, and Section 504 regulations. Roadmaps help school administrators identify which legally required parent notices to send, and when to send them, in order to stay compliant.

Improving Communications and Compliance with the Right Technology

Access to parent communication technology with the right features allows school districts to improve parent and family engagement and supports compliance with federal laws. TransACT ParentNotices provides a communication solution that enables school districts to:

  • Communicate with parents in their preferred languages
  • Meet federal compliance and communication requirements
  • Reduce the need for translation services on school forms
  • Access legally required parent notices in multiple languages
  • Provide instant, mobile-friendly access to parent communications
  • Avoid overspending on costly translation services
  • Improve engagement by keeping parents and families informed, and more

Schedule a demo to see how TransACT ParentNotices enables school districts to improve parent and family engagement while complying with federal laws.

federally aligned notifications

About The Author

Paige Kummer is the marketing specialist for TransACT Communications. Her previous experience includes working as the Deputy of Communication in the Texas House of Representatives during an active session as well as a Customer Success Manager for a fin-tech startup. She utilizes her knowledge of social media, software as a service (SaaS), and love of learning to grow TransACT’s social media footprint across all 12 brands serving both K-12 and post-secondary education institutions. Paige also works as an account manager for the ActPoint KPI, which supports district and state business leaders nationwide in their efforts to manage costs and drive resources back to the classroom.