Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ideas for Connecting with Families Remotely

Slide saying: Parent Coordinators Professional Learning 2020
After the pandemic hit, Lorrie Ayers, a family leadership coordinator in Brooklyn, New York realized she needed to brush up on her technology skills so she could continue to help families in her district feel welcomed. She attended weekly learning sessions offered by the district on various ways to use technology to connect with families. In the sessions hundreds of staff members who support families come together not only to learn, but to network, connect, and share how they are putting what they learned into practice. 

She took what she learned and put into practice new, innovative, and even better ideas for connecting. 

Ideas for connecting remotely with families:

  • Bitmoji: Make it fun! Use Bitmoji in communications with families to add a little fun and flavor to your outreach.

  • Social emotional check: It’s important to acknowledge how families are doing. Before interacting, do a little check to see, acknowledge, and address how they are feeling.

  • QR Codes: Make it easy for others to access your content by adding a QR code that can easily be scanned. 

  • Mentimeter: Use live polls, quizzes, word clouds, Q&As and more to get real-time input - regardless if you’re remote, hybrid or face-to-face.

  • Virtual Coffee and Tea: No matter the beverage or time preference, virtual meetups make it easier for families to connect with schools. Provide weekly options for parents to connect with school staff from wherever they are.

  • Digital scavenger hunts: Families are encouraged to go outside, learn, and share using the district’s hashtag.

  • Zoom baking classes: It’s easy to teach a baking class from your own kitchen and learning to bake in your kitchen works well too. 

  • Social media: Families may not read their email, but many of them love connecting with schools on Instagram and Facebook. Find the right hashtag(s), make it accessible, and strengthen the home-school connection.

  • Virtual fundraising success: Gone are the days of sending home envelopes with donations. Virtual fundraising enabled one school to have record-breaking fundraising success.

  • Digital elections: Rather than having to come face-to-face for PTA elections more votes could be counted with an election on Zoom and digital voting.

  • Virtual wine tasting: Tasting wine from your home is a great way to support local business, connect families, and have a toast safely.

  • Virtual award ceremony: Canva video lets you take creative content to the next level and design with amazing templates that can be used for celebrations, award ceremonies, exercise classes and more.

Lorrie shared that these classes made her unafraid to try using new technology and to share what she learns with others. Check out the video below to hear directly from Lorrie.