by Brenda Speer, Superintendent, Bynum (TX) ISD
1. Attendance Matters. Unexcused absences present a real safety concern. Check to see if your system provides a way for you to quickly let parents know that their child was not in school for morning attendance and to help uncover the reasons.
2. Parent Involvement, One Call at a Time. When parents are involved in children’s learning at school and at home, students’ performance improves. Consider using your system to place calls to secure volunteers for field trips, reading in the classroom, and other activities where parents can lend a hand.
3. PTA, Tuition and Other Payment Reminders. Using an automated notification system can be a great way to remind parents of upcoming dues or payments for the PTA, field trips, library fees, tuition, athletics, yearbooks, and more.
4. H1N1 Updating Parents on Guidelines and Procedure. With a phone-broadcast system in place, administrators can record a personal message and quickly share important information, such as immunization schedules, health-department updates, and school closings.
5. Meal-Balance Notices. Look for a service that offers a prerecorded, student-specific message to parents whose children have negative balances in their lunch accounts.
6. Managing Rumors. Consider using your system to immediately communicate with parents to stop distracting, and potentially harmful, rumors in their tracks.
7. Meeting Reminders. Notification systems can help school administrators give day- or hours-before notice to get greater attendance at school meetings and activities.
8. Eliminating Paper Mailings. Here at Bynum, we used to send home progress reports or report cards every three weeks to every student’s family, which cost $6,000 a year. The notification system lets parents know that progress or report cards are about to be carried home by their children, so they need to be checking those backpacks.
9. Bus stops. Check to see if your parental-notification system can connect your student-information and transportation-system software to quickly and accurately contact parents of bus-riding students with up-to-the-minute bus route information.
10. And the Answer Is? Your parental-notification system can be used as a survey tool to ask questions and obtain responses with just a quick call.