ZippSlip Blog

Help Parents Help You

by Stephanie Jankowski , on November 10, 2019
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There’s a hopeful tone to the beginning of each school year. Like the optimism surrounding the New Year, everyone believes in and is working toward positive change. But much like those resolutions to lose weight or stop smoking, there’s a lot of hard work involved in exacting necessary change. Experts recommend having an accountability partner when it comes to creating healthy habits, and it’s no different in our schools.

The phrase “it takes a village” exists for a reason; it requires teamwork and community to help a child reach their potential. Keeping parents and other stakeholders in the loop is an integral part of creating the kind of community that keeps students safe and helps them flourish. Open communication is the key to welcoming parents into our village and inviting them to be accountability partners.

Help parents by educating them on what happens in your school, how and why you want them involved, and what they can do at home with students to work toward common academic goals. By bridging the gap between school and home, parents feel more at ease and are more likely to get involved when they know what’s going on in the classrooms. Some great ideas for opening lines of communication are:

  • Morning announcements set the tone for the school day and have changed a lot since most parents were in school. Give your parents a daily dose of how the school day started and ideas for questions they can ask their students. Imagine the dinner table when the parent asks,” Did your principal wear that Cat-in-the-Hat hat all day?”
  • Have teachers, new and veterans, introduce themselves in fun and creative ways. They can showcase a talent, share their favorite book or hobby, show pictures of their family or pets. Connecting on a personal level like this makes teachers more accessible, which puts students and parents at ease, increasing the chances they’ll reach out for help when they need it.
  • Do you get to the movies early to watch the upcoming attractions? Knowing what’s coming up helps families plan, increases participation, and can reduce stress. By creating a “Month at a Glance” communication, you’re effectively managing expectations. Be sure to share it on a consistent, predictable basis.
  • Let parents know when they can volunteer in the school (in the library re-stocking shelves, on the PTO, etc.) and when parental involvement is more of a must-have (attending parent/teacher conferences). Giving moms and dads the opportunity to come to the school on their terms as well as ours provides the sense of choice and freedom that we all appreciate.
  • An age-old parenting concern, “Does my child act in class like he does at home?!” have moms and dads hoping their kid behaves differently—read: better!—for teachers. Fortunately, the answer is usually yes! It’s easy and fun to share the evidence with parents. Share photos and videos of students working collaboratively in groups, conducting an in-class experiment, or simply smiling and running during recess.
  • There will always be things parents can do at home to support our efforts at school. Don’t be shy about advertising programs and opportunities at local libraries and museums, suggesting book titles kids can read at home, or share educational websites and apps students can download on their tablets. Parents want to help, but many of them don’t know how. Be explicit about what they can do to support academic endeavors and you’ll see progress.


There is a plethora of information to disseminate to families and sharing it in a timely fashion is key to successful school-to-home communication. When parents feel like a part of the decision-making body, they’re more apt to take active roles in their students’ learning. It is up to school leaders to create a welcoming “open door policy” that supports the idea of parents as accountability partners. So, how do we make that happen without losing our mind?! By using a single platform like ZippSlip.

ZippSlip offers mobile and online tools that are so easy to use you almost don’t expect much from the seemingly simplistic applications. But don’t underestimate its power! ZippSlip has the ability to send mass digital communications, collect and secure critical student information like medical and enrollment documents, connect with your existing student information system, and more! If our goal is to engage and include families, we must give them every opportunity to be involved in their student’s education. It’s quick and easy to provide those opportunities with ZippSlip.