Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Engaging Parents with a Parent Tech Breakfast


Parent involvement is a huge mystery to me. Within the context of my school, I’ve learned that many of our students’ parents were once students at our school, and have not so positive memories of their time in middle school. That coupled with busy work schedules makes it difficult to get parents to come to school for events.

I’d like to take a moment to recognize that we do have some incredible parents who show up, volunteer, and are involved in our school. I’m so thankful for them. Every time I call parents, mostly positive phone calls with occasional behavior concerns, I reach friendly and caring parents. I know we have the support of our parents at home.

Parent Tech Breakfast


Last school year, I started hosting monthly Parent Tech Breakfasts. We’re 1:1 iPads, and we have lots of repeated questions from parents on how students use iPads at school, and how parents can more easily access technology for themselves.
The set-up is simple: we provide coffee and breakfast pastries, and we talk about technology for 30-45 minutes. Since we have many Spanish-speaking parents, I usually have a fluent Spanish-speaking techy teacher present to translate and/or run a parallel group. Each month, I invite content teachers to join us as well.

My Viking Tech Crew students have joined us a few times to show off tutorial videos and share projects they’ve created in their academic classes.

Discussion topics include:
- Classroom uses of iPads, including student work samples
- Accessing Jupiter Grades, our online gradebook
- Managing iPads at home
- Digital Citizenship, device contracts (shout out to Common Sense Media for amazing resources in English and Spanish!)
- Google Apps for Education -- we had parents on my Chromebooks experiencing collaborative Docs for the first time!

Even though it’s a fairly simple event to plan, there is a lot that happens behind the scenes. I couldn’t do it without our Coordinator of Intervention Services, or as I call her, Facilitator of Awesome. Her job includes bridging the divide between home and school, and supporting students academically. She sends out reminder emails and phone calls to parents, shops for the goodies, and gets the room read for parents. We host the Parent Tech Breakfast in her room, which is a parent-center, office, and conference space.

I’m thankful that we’ve been able to reach parents and families through the Parent Tech Breakfast!

I’m always looking for new ways to connect with parents and families. How have you/your school successfully reached out to parents?

6 comments:

  1. What a great idea! How did you find the discussion? Any challenges you would address in further sessions? #sunchatbloggers

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  2. Seems like an important part of the home-school connection with 1:1 technology. Are topics pre-determined, or do you let the discussion go where it takes you?

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  3. Cool idea! Are they well attended? We have only started to host more parent/family events. We are planning a few family Maker Nights where students brings a parent/family member. Thursday nights seem to be a good night.

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  4. What a great home-school connection, Mari. Education is so different today compared to when most parents were in school. The hands-on tech learning helps bridge the divide. And sometimes hearing tips from a teacher gives parents confidence, especially when it comes to digital citizenship. #KeepUpTheGoodWork!!!

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  5. Great idea! I pinned this one so I can remember it later!! Thank you for sharing.

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  6. We have a blast off dinner at the start of the year that's well attended, but I wonder how something monthly in the morning would be seen at our school.

    When exactly do you have these in the morning? Before school? Weekend? Start of school?

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