How Are Schools Reaching Families?

In a new national survey from ParentSquare, school and district leaders across the U.S. shared their current school-home communications practices and their plans for future communications.

Edtech industry veteran Frank Catalano and a team of people developed the survey. The basic idea was to find out, “What communications channels are being used to reach families? Which are seen as most effective? And—looking ahead two to three years—which channels would schools like to significantly increase using, and which would they like to stop using altogether?” according to Catalano.

“This could be very helpful for school and district leaders in benchmarking what they’re doing now, and planning for the future,” writes Catalano.

Among the survey’s noteworthy findings: Email is the most used communications channel, text messaging is seen as twice as effective as it is frequent, and a staggering 64% say paper flyers and newsletters is the one channel they most no longer want to use.

Conducted in early 2022, the survey garnered over 1,300 responses from both customers and non-customers of the company. The edtech company has published the survey findings in a report titled “Communications Future Survey: Educator Perspectives on What Works to Reach Families and What Should Change.” Educators can also download an infographic, “The Future of School-Home Communications,” that highlights the survey’s key findings.

Education leaders participating in the survey weighed in with a strong preference for digital communications. Approximately two-thirds of schools in the survey wanted to increase their use of digital communications over the next two to three years. Specifically, mobile apps and texting have caught leaders’ interest as proven communication channels that can help them better reach students’ families.

In early May, ParentSquare will host a panel of experts to discuss the implications of the “Communications Future Survey” report. Among the panelists will be Keith Krueger, CEO of Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Trinette Marquis, APR, Executive Director of the California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA), and Elisabeth O’Bryon, Ph.D., the co-founder and Chief Impact Officer of Family Engagement Lab. The webinar, “New Research: The Future of School-Home Communications,” will be held on Tuesday, May 3 at 2 p.m. ET. Registration is free and open to all.

It’s a simple and very useful survey (those are really the best kind), and for education and technology leaders, it’s worth a good look. Learn more.


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