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Reduce truancy rates by connecting with parents

January, 2018

Reduce truancy rates by connecting with parents

The issue of truancy for New Zealand schools reared its head again at the end of 2017, with attendance rates falling even further than previous years. The Ministry of Education reported the number of students regularly attending school fell from nearly 70 percent in Term 2, 2015 to 67 percent in the same period last year. Only 55 percent of Maori students were regularly showing up and 57 percent of Pacific students.

Increasing parent engagement and involvement at school and the wider school community is one way to help reduce truancy rates. Tai Tokerau/Northland Principal’s Association President, Pat Newman mentioned in this Radio NZ article that, “If you haven’t necessarily had a successful education when you were a pupil, then perhaps you don’t see it as important when you are a parent.”

This highlights that some parents may feel alienated, distrustful or disconnected with the school community. This should be of concern to schools, 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.

Could your school put in more 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 attitude. When parents feel that the school is actively involving them, they generally respond by becoming more active 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 your 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 may not know how to contribute.

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

There are many different roles for parents to become involved that they may not be aware of. This is where strong communication between schools and families is essential.

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

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

Instant messaging apps, SMS 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.

Making parents feel more connected and involved with the school community can have a positive impact on their child’s education and relationship with the school, which is one way to help improve truancy rates in New Zealand.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper: Upholding a Child’s Education – The Three-Legged Stool Effect.

parent engagement white paper call to action banner

How parent engagement can help with attendance management

July, 2017

How parent engagement can help with attendance management

The recent Ministry of Education report on student attendance rates, also highlighted that Maori and Pasifika students had the lowest attendance rates, with only just over 50 per cent, of these students regularly attending school.

While this is alarming, unfortunately this is not new information. Research into the subject shows that there are a number of factors that play a part in this, but one thing that schools can do to improve student attendance rates is to increase parent engagement with the school and encourage a more culturally inclusive school community.

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 attitude. When parents feel that the school is actively trying to involve them, they generally respond by becoming more involved in their child’s education. You can read one of our previous blogs to see how you can encourage parents to connect.

Unlock the parent potential

As always, communication is the key here. 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.

Importance of parent engagement for schools

How to empower parents to help reduce truancy in New Zealand

July, 2017

How to empower parents to help reduce truancy in New Zealand

Is Early Notification absent at your school? Increase parent awareness of truancy by keeping them informed with easy communication apps.

A recent Ministry of Education report showed that student attendance rates were falling across New Zealand. 76,500 students were away from school each day in 2016. That equates to 10.2 per cent of students, up from 9.9 per cent in 2015.

Truancy costs schools significant time and resources

For schools that don’t have an early notification system in place and have to follow up on absent students manually, this rise in unexplained absences will also require an increase in time and money spent locating these absent students. For example, a school with a roll of 1000 students with a 10.2 per cent truancy rate can cost the school $20,400 per year in time spent following up and making phone calls. You can see for yourself what this could equate to for your school by using this calculator.

As well as potential significant cost savings to your school by having an early notification attendance management system, there are many other benefits such as student safety and providing a quicker and more convenient method for parents to be aware and respond.

Benefits of Early Notification for parents and caregivers

  • Fast notification of absence (which could potentially be a child safety issue).
  • Parents and caregivers can respond quickly and cost effectively.
  • It’s less embarrassing for them to respond to a text than a phone call if they had forgotten to notify the school of their child’s absence or the reason for the child’s absence is personal.
  • Texting is more convenient for those who are unavailable to respond to personal calls during work or study hours.
  • Feedback from our customers, says that texts are the preferred method of school communication for most parents and caregivers.

Benefits of Early Notification for Schools

  • Less time spent by the Attendance Officer in contacting caregivers of absent students.
  • Less expensive than calling mobile phones.
  • Responses go directly into the Student Management System and are easily viewed by the Attendance Officer, making them efficient to process (service offered by some EN providers).
  • Responses are saved in the Student Notes (service offered by some Student Management Systems).

Click here, to find out more about how an early notification system can help your school.

[WEBINAR] Capitalise on your edge SMS: How to Better Engage Parents Using Early Notification

May, 2016

Webinar blog

Save time and make engaging with parents easier by learning new MUSAC edge system operations.

Date: Thursday, 19 May 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Presenter: Keith Mockett, School-links
Cost: Free

Topics covered will include: 

  • Why use Early Notification
  • Setting up the Early Notification Group and selecting the recipients
  • Data management issues relating to Absence notifications
  • Managing the Early Notification process in the Unexplained Absences module
  • Ideas around the effective use of Early Notification
  • A quick look at tools that School-links provides to assist Attendance Officers

This FREE webinar is designed to give participants some tips on how to effectively and confidently use Early Notification (of Absences) in edge.

It will cover setting up the Early Notification Group to ensure the right people are receiving the message, data settings that impact on Caregiver communications, using the Early Notification module to efficiently and effectively notify caregivers of Absences, and managing their responses.

The benefits of using Early Notification via text will be explained along with some ideas on how to make your EN communications effective. Keith Mockett, the technical advisor for School-links, has designed this webinar to give participants some tips on how to effectively and confidently use Early Notification in MUSAC edge.

Please register your interest for the webinar here

Contact the School-links team if you have any questions regarding the webinar.

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[WEBINAR] Capitalise on your KAMAR SMS

March, 2016

Webinar

Capitalise on your KAMAR SMS: How to better engage parents using Early Notification

Save time and make engaging with parents easier by learning new KAMAR system operations.

Date: Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Presenter: Keith Mockett, School-links

Topics covered will include:
• setting up the recipients in the database
• the Absence Manager screen
• managing the Early Notification process in Absence Manager
• ideas around effective use of Early Notification
• a quick look at tools that School-links provides to assist Attendance Officers

Keith

Keith Mockett, our technical advisor for School-links, has designed this webinar to give participants some tips on how to effectively and confidently use Early Notification in KAMAR. It will cover setting up the database to ensure the right people are receiving the message, and some of the traps when using Absence Manager to send out messages and process replies.

Keith has been with School-links for five years providing technical support and training to customers. He has completed hundreds of training sessions for Early Notification in all of the Student Management Systems, including KAMAR. He has also presented at a KAMAR conference on how to use Early Notification.

Please register your interest for the webinar here.

Contact the School-links team if you have any questions regarding the webinar.

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.

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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.

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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.

CTA-parent-engagement-banner

 

Encouraging parents to connect

August, 2015

School-links

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.

CTA-parent-engagement-banner

AdmINNOVATION at SEO Conference 2015

July, 2015

During the Term 2 school holidays, School Executive Officers congregated at Hamilton to reflect on the topic of innovation in administration (or ‘adminnovation’).

The theme of the conference centred around breaking free of current administration mind-sets and being open to new, smarter and more efficient ways of delivering quality education.

As part of his commitment to promoting easy, reliable school communication, Andrew Balfour, Managing Director of School-links, shared his insights with attendees. “Our breakout session on ‘Engaging with Parents’ was very well received, especially with the pending release of our new data app, Beep,” says Andrew.

SEO Conference Presentation

Andrew Balfour presenting on ‘Engaging with Parents’, SEO Conference 2015.

Beep is the new smartphone app developed by School-links that streamlines communication between school and home. Caregivers can send in absence notes and the school can send out emergency alerts, cancellations, news and any other messages simply and cost-effectively. Learn more about Beep here.

Andrew and Robyn (2)

Robyn and Andrew Balfour at the School-links stand, SEO Conference 2015.

“It was great to catch up with all our customers and new schools at the SEO Conference. We are always made to feel very welcome by the delegates and look forward to working with the many new associations that we made,” says Andrew.

Want to learn more? Enquire now.

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