I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how we engage with parents at classroom and board levels. I recently posted about how I seek to make a clear, direct path and link between parents and myself as Trustee.
I know many educators who use email, Twitter, class blogs, websites, Facebook, and other on-line platforms to share information with parents. I must make clear the distinction between using social media to merely transmit knowledge and using it to create, develop, and maintain dialogue. Colleague Lorna Costantini discusses this distinction:
Are teachers using SM to ask parents what they think? Is it being used to seek advice from parents? Are we using Facebook and twitter to maintain two-way communications? Are we providing training for parents on how to respond and engage using these tools? Is it the already engaged parents who are engaging now using SM? How many parents are connected with smart phones, computers the Internet? Is there any data to support how many parents know how to use these tools. I want to hear overwhelming that SM is being used successfully to engage parents but in general I don’t think it is. I need to be bang on in writing about tools for parents of teens so can you share your thoughts on how best to do it?
I believe we must
Share information with parents using social media
Train parents how to use social media
Develop collaborative and transparent dialogue with parents using social media
You’re a parent and have concerns, ideas, and suggestions regarding your child’s education, the local school, or perhaps the Toronto District School Board at large. Who do you talk to?
Traditionally, you would approach the teacher or principal. Some of you may even be part of the advisory committees. Is this the only way?
What about if you don’t have time to call in or drop by the office? Many of us struggle with daily responsibilities and meeting immediate needs. Where do you find the time and space to have your voice heard?
Arguably, most parents do not see the giant hierarchy of the school board. They don’t necessarily come into contact with the administrative and executive staff. But if the changes you seek and the questions you have require dialogue at that level, what do you do?
Your ideas can get lost in the hierarchy. I’m here as a direct link.
Most parents may think they can bring their concerns up to the Principal level. But the puck does not stop there. Did you know that the Board of Trustees have a ton of influence on what goes on in Toronto schools? They essentially decide what initiatives and projects take priority.
Trustees should be your advocates. As a Trustee for Scarborough-Agincourt, parents can talk with me. I will open the doors, both online and face-to-face, to make sure you can access me in whatever mode works best for you. Trustees are to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with parents, students, staff, educators, and community members/organizations.
Vote for me so you can have real dialogue with someone who can influence the direction of public education.
I’ve heard many parents advocating to maintain city services in Toronto for the sake of their children. I urge you to continue to be more vocal, especially with education. I’ve heard parents urge city councillors and Mayor Rob Ford to listen to the needs of the people they serve.
I’m here to listen, talk, collaborate, plan and advocate
on your behalf for your child’s education.
Let’s continue the conversation:
Curious to see the full TDSB organizational structure? See it here.