Donovan Group Insights

Report Sheds Light on Parents’ Emerging Expectations for School Communication

Data from Blackboard’s recent Trends in Community Engagement Report indicate that schools and districts must strike a balance when communicating with parents.

The report included data on communications trends from more than a half-million parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members. Researchers found that parents increasingly prefer to have information “pushed” to them, and email remains the most effective method of communication. However, parents also said they do not want to be overwhelmed with too much information, preferring to only receive communications that are timely and relevant to them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, parents reported that they would be interested in receiving more school-related information via social media and visual platforms (including YouTube and Instagram). School newsletters remain another popular source.

Blackboard also published this helpful infographic summarizing the report. Here are a few interesting takeaways:

  • Nearly nine out of 10 school administrators use social media, with a majority reporting that their efforts led to greater engagement on the part of parents.
  • While email is the most effective method of communication, app-based and text messages are also increasingly popular.
  • Moms are more likely to use Facebook and messaging apps than dads, while dads are more likely to regularly visit YouTube.

While Blackboard’s report provides us with some useful and interesting data, the results are in line with trends we’ve seen in school communication in recent years. It’s better to communicate too much than not enough, although it is possible to overload parents and other stakeholders with excessive amounts of information. This is especially true when reaching out to busy parents.

We can expect more demand for school and district-related communication to take place over a greater number of platforms, including (but not limited to) social media and video. It will be increasingly important for school leaders to meet parents and community members on the channels they are using to get information—and the preferred method of communication may differ considerably among stakeholder groups.

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