Langley principal Chris Wejr is setting new standards for school-home communications.
It’s no longer enough for principals to simply inform parents about what’s going on, he told delegates at the BCCPAC spring conference in Richmond on Friday. They need to engage, build trust and develop relationships.
Wejr has taken extraordinary steps to connect with his parent community (and educators around the world) via social media. He uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and blogging to “meet parents where they are” and create an online school community.
“It’s not about technology, nor is it about events. It is about how we build relationships in our schools,” he says in a presentation titled Moving Beyond the Newsletter.
Wejr urged parents to talk to principals if their home-school communications are still stuck at the “informing” stage. He even suggested that they pass on his name so that he can help.
Or parents can start building an online school community through their PAC, he suggested.
His blog is called The Wejr Board.
Another educator who is a pro at school-home communications is West Vancouver superintendent Chris Kennedy. In his presentation, he discussed how technology is changing communications in schools and empowering students.
Here are a few of his key points:
– Schools and school districts still debating whether to allow digital devices, are having the wrong conversation.
– Adults need to model good behaviour online, even during these difficult days of strikes and lockouts. He said many of his colleagues aren’t engaging in online discussions because the pushback – in some cases – is brutal. What message does that give children who want to express different opinions, he asked.
– Equity matters. Don’t promote BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) if you can’t be certain that all kids have one.
– If families can afford only one device, make it a laptop rather than a cell phone. Schools still require a lot of written work.
Kennedy is a regular blogger at The Culture of Yes.