The office staff are the first people that parents come into contact with when they enter the building. Making sure this is a positive welcoming experience is key in parents leaving the school with a great feeling. When contacting parents either over the phone or through an electronic connection, keep in mind that this is an opportunity for them to spread the word about how good your school is in communicating. This is a great time to reflect on how parents perceive your school. Use the tips below to make sure they have a great interaction every time they interact with someone from the school.
A good way to know what your parents need is to put yourself in their shoes. If you have a child and you walk into a school or talk to a teacher what do you expect? I always feel a sense of comfort when the front office staff knows my child’s name and the teachers speak about them as if they know them. Make sure your staff knows their students. By showing you know a child you’ll have a much better chance of that parent walking away with a good feeling. They’ll be sure to brag about how good your school is to their friends when you consistently live up to their expectations.
Technology is your Friend
The frenetic pace at which technology continues to evolve makes it difficult to stay up to date. However, as the building leader you need to be at least proficient. It’s no secret that more and more people are accessing information through their phones. Using communication apps like Powerschool, where parents can access grades and teacher contact information, or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share your school’s success are great ways to meet parents where they are. By leveraging tech parents will know that you’re doing everything you can to give them a great service.
Winning language is a way to communicate information in a positive way. When a parent is upset and calls wanting an immediate meeting you want to use positive language if you don’t currently have the time to meet.
There are a couple of ways you can answer: You could say, “No I can’t meet right now. I don’t have time.” Or you could say, “I’m happy to meet you tomorrow at 2:00, or at 4:00”. Both examples convey the same information. The first example however, sounds abrupt and dismissive. The second option is more friendly, gives a couple of choices and sounds much more accommodating. While the answer is the same, the parents will have a much better perception of how you’ve communicated with them if you use the second example.
Promoting positive school interactions with parents is key to having a successful school. What strategies do you use to influence parents perceptions of your school? Please share your ideas in the comment section!
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......