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Monthly Archives: August 2015

School-links reassures parents of school children in North Island lockdown

August, 2015

Police car

Last week large parts of the Central Plateau went into lockdown, with police asking people in Ohakune, Waiouru and Raetihi to stay indoors during the manhunt for wanted criminal Dolphy Kohu and his accomplices. The group went on the run from police, later ramming a police car, shooting at the two officers inside, and then stealing the police car and attempting to flee in it.

Blair Dravitski is the principal of Ohakune School, and was forced to go into lockdown as the events played out. CLICK HERE to listen to the audio on Radio New Zealand of his account of the event, and the process the school went through to reassure parents using School-links.

Although lockdowns are not a common occurrence for New Zealand schools, having an emergency plan in place will help to handle this type of situation professionally and easily.

Whitepaper-coverDownload the emergency white paper for tips on how to stay prepared for unforeseen circumstances.


How can parents be involved in school?

August, 2015

Parent-involvement-infographic-#1-thumbnailThe role of the school shouldn’t be to prop up the student with extra support if the parents are disengaged from their child’s education. A better strategy is to encourage parents to participate in school life and give them opportunities to get involved.

Opportunities to initiate involvement in school life include formal parent advisory boards and groups, cultural activities and sports coaching, parent-teacher interviews and learning conferences.

Click on the poster (left) for over 30 ideas for getting parents engaged with school.



For more ideas and strategies to get parents involved with the school community, download the white paper.


Incorporating family identities into school life

August, 2015

Blog 2

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to educate one.

Families are the colourful, multicultural, unique and multifaceted building blocks of any school community. A harmonious, integrated affiliation between parents and the school strengthens the student’s support network to work towards the same goal – providing the best education and opportunities possible for the student.

No one denies that parent involvement in their child’s school life positively impacts their learning. But is your school making a genuine effort to include parents?

Although some people naturally gravitate towards parent helper roles within the school, other caregivers may be more hesitant. There are many reasons for this including lack of knowledge of how they can contribute, low self-esteem or shyness, minimal free time or disinterest.

As a school, providing an accommodating community culture, inclusive of a variety of identifiable values, is the best way to make parents feel welcome. A natural manifestation of this culture is regular communication between the school and parents.  Using preferred communication channels to keep parents up to date with school participation opportunities ensures parents are informed of their options.

Schools need to be open to exploring new elements of parental involvement in school life. Help parents find their identity in the school community by being open to their ideas.


Exposing children and teenagers to new opportunities, hobbies and ways of life broadens their horizon and helps them to find things they’re passionate about.

People love to share their talents and pass on their passion to the next generation. Parents are far more likely to be involved with school if it comprises something they’re interested in.

Parents and caregivers are guaranteed to be harbouring untapped teaching resources to create diversity and excitement for your students. Unlocking the facets that make up their identity may reveal a whole new layer of interactive learning and extracurricular opportunities for children. The only way to do this is by evolving your connection with them.

Communication is so critical to evolve relationships between the school and parents. Going beyond the typical conversation of the child’s progress may uncover many interesting aspects of students’ family life that has the potential to be incorporated into the learning curriculum.

As you get to know parents better, their talents, mannerisms, personality, passions and hobbies will be exposed. Even if they are reluctant to ‘make the first move’ in asking to utilise their talent or expertise within school life, you can certainly give them the invitation.


It all starts with a conversation.

“You like basketball? Have you thought about coaching a Year 8 team?”

“Sam’s lunches always look amazing! Would you like to contribute to the bake sale to raise money for school camp?”

“Your fluency in Maori is excellent. Would you be interested in teaching the class a few phrases during Maori Language Week?”

“You clearly have a heart for the wellbeing of the school community. Have you thought about joining the Board of Trustees?”

Communities are about relationships. Relationships are about communication. Help your students’ parents feel included and find their identity within their child’s school life through effective, regular communication.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper.



Encouraging parents to connect

August, 2015


Children spend most of their waking hours at school. However, many parents feel alienated and uninformed about their child’s school life.

This should be of concern to schools, as studies show that parents who are involved in school life are more likely to be supportive of their child’s education and have better relationships with teachers. Parents also benefit from being part of a supportive community of like-minded people and finding their identity within the school. Teachers benefit from the extra support; and parent involvement also reinforces the importance of learning and development in a child.

Win, win, win.

Is your school putting in enough effort to include parents?

The key influencing predictor to parent support of their child’s learning is not parent or child behaviour or attitudes, but the school’s behaviour and attitudes. When parents feel that the school is actively pursuing to involve them, they generally respond by becoming more involved in their child’s education.

Does your school have the right attitude to involving parents? Does it have an accommodating organisational structure? Are you using effective communication methodologies with parents?

It is the school’s role to help parents feel welcome and to find a place in the school network where they feel valued and will make a positive impact.

However, even though some parents want to play a part in their child’s school life, they just don’t know how to make a contribution.

Check out this infographic for ideas on how parents can be involved in school life.

There are many different roles for parents to play that they may not be aware of.

This is where strong communication is essential.

Clear, effective communication between the school and parents will help keep them informed of opportunities to contribute to the school and feel like the school really wants them to be a part of the community.

If cost and time consumption of regular communication to parents is a barrier, there are many technology alternatives to traditional expensive letters, phone calls and paper notices.

Instant messaging appsSMS integrated email and mass text messaging systems are popular low cost communication options that schools across New Zealand are utilising to keep parents in the loop about school involvement opportunities.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper.