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10 Different Tools Schools Can Easily Use to Communicate with Parents During Online Learning

Communication is crucial to student success with online learning. While teachers should be regularly communicating with their students, it is also important that they communicate with their students’ parents. Keeping parents informed about due dates, tests, and classroom issues or achievements is important in creating a sense of community, promoting student growth, relaying classroom expectations, and enforcing school rules from the student-side of the computer screen.

While there are many methods of communication, here are 10 helpful tools teachers can easily use to encourage parent-teacher communication:

1. E-mail

Communication via e-mail is one of the most common and effective ways to communicate with parents. E-mails should be short, concise, and informative. E-mails can be sent regularly to groups or individuals, making them ideal for parent-teacher communication. However, some parents may not have consistent internet access or may not regularly check their e-mails. So, notify students that their parents should check their e-mails when new and important information is being sent.

2. Phone Calls

Phone calls are less frequently used than e-mails but are sometimes more effective. Phone calls allow teachers to directly consult with the student’s parents and allow for open, live discussions. Because parents may be busy or at work, phone calls may not be the ideal means of parent-teacher communication for much of the day. Teachers should keep this in mind and only contact parents by phone when communicating important and emergency messages or when discussing a child’s academic growth or serious issues.

3. Group Texts

Group texts, much like e-mails, are a great way to communicate with a large group of people at once. Texts can be helpful in making announcements, sending out reminders, or requesting the help of parents. Group texts, however, can easily become derailed, induce arguments, or violate the phone privacy of parents and students in some school districts. Teachers should only organize group texts with permission of parents and per school or district policies.

4. Communication Apps

Communication apps are a great way for teachers to keep parents and students informed without violating privacy laws. These practical, easy-to-navigate apps provide instant notifications to both parents and students (Common):
  • Bloomz
  • Class Dojo
  • Class Tag
  • Classting
  • Fresh Grade
  • Heard
  • Otus
  • Parent Square
  • Remind
  • SchoolCNXT
  • Schoology
  • Seesaw: The Learning Journal
  • Sesame
  • Talking Points
  • Teachers.io
If using one of these apps, teachers should invite all parents to join and access them but continue sending out e-mails for those parents who prefer to communicate via e-mail.

5. Classroom Websites

Class websites are another practical way to keep all course information, schedules, and syllabi in one location (Meador). Teachers can upload announcements and comments that are accessible to parents with internet access on their websites. Some easy-to-use website builders for teachers include (Mordi):

  • SimpleSite
  • SITE123
  • Squarespace
  • Weebly
  • Wix
  • WordPress.com

6. Newsletters

Newsletters are another way to keep in touch with parents, provide organized updates about school events and policies, and keep parents and students updated with a regular calendar or announcements. Newsletters can be sent via e-mail or as an attachment in a text message, or they can be printed and mailed to parents.

7. Individual Conferences

While in-person parent-teacher conferences may not continue this academic year, teachers and parents can still have individual conferences about the progress of students. Teachers and parents can have a private online conference or meeting to address concerns, set goals, and make decisions about how to best help students. Teachers should dedicate time to office hours and use that time to communicate with parents online.

8. Online Parent Q&A Sessions
Teachers can consider hosting an online conference for all the parents of their students. Teachers can designate a specific time or host a session to get to know their students’ parents, answer questions parents may have, and address classroom concerns.

9. Letters/Postcards

While virtual communication is instantaneous and convenient, parents often appreciate having hard copies of announcements and important information. Teachers can write letters, send postcards, or send notes about the progress of their students or about potential concerns.

10. Surveys

Surveys are another helpful way to communicate with parents. Surveys give parents an opportunity to give feedback about the course, classroom policies, and the methods being implemented in the classroom. Teachers can post surveys on their websites, send them through e-mails, or put them on classroom apps. By getting feedback from parents, teachers can better tailor their lessons to the needs of their students.

As teachers implement these organized methods into their communication with parents, they will quickly create better relationships with their students and gain the trust of students’ parents. Teachers will also be able to more effectively teach, create better lessons, and promote the growth and success of each of their students. For more information or ideas about parent-teacher communication and online education, subscribe to the EdGuru Edge at https://blog.edguru.co/.


Meador, Derrick. Thought Co. “Highly Successful Parent Teacher Communication,”                                  https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-for-highly-successful-parent-teacher-communication-3194676#:~:text=Communicate%20Often&text=There%20are%20many%20ways%20to,means%20in%20which%20to%20communicate. January 29, 2019.

Common Sense Education. “Best Messaging Apps and Websites for Students, Teachers, and

Parents,”https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/best-messaging-apps-and-websites-for-students-teachers-and-parents. Accessed July 18, 2020.

Mordi, Phillip. Website Planet. “6 Best Website Builders for Teachers and Schools in 2020,”

https://www.websiteplanet.com/blog/best-website-builders-teachers-schools/. June 11, 2020.

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