School board members and parents need to share information directly without having to go through the school administration. The communication channels a school sets up to facilitate direct communication between board members and parents can affect the rate of parental involvement in its activities. Although school board members are not involved with the day-to-day running of the school, they have a duty to set directions on how effective communication with parents can be realized.
Mobile phone communication is commonly used by school boards and parents to share information, especially in urgent situations. For instance, if a school board requires your input in a certain issue, the quickest way to reach you is calling your cellphone. Nova Southeastern University, through the website of its Center for Assessment and Intervention, stresses that making a phone call is the best channel for two-way communication between educators and parents. It stresses that effective dialogue can only develop out of mutual concern, a growing trust and appreciation of contrasting perspectives.
Electronic communication channels such as school websites, parent portals and email are a convenient way for school board members and parents to share information. Although the use of communication technology is promising, its use in areas with poor networks is limited. However, in most urban schools, parents and school board members can exchange emails through the school website or parent portals. According to a report published in the May 2008 issue of the journal Social Asian Science, electronic communication between educators and parents makes the latter feel more involved in their children’s school activities and more connected with the institution.
Newsletters and Brochures
Newsletters and brochures are appropriate communication channels when urgent delivery of information is not required. School board members can direct the institution administrators to facilitate publishing of a weekly or monthly newsletter for all parents. For instance, the Bordeaux International School’s monthly newsletter contain news, announcements, developmental updates, articles on school trips and student welfare and other educational topics. The newsletter can also contain interactive forums where parents or school board members can air their views or ask questions.
Periodic conferences build a sense of community between school board members and parents. Conferences offer a two-way communication platform, where educators, students and parents interact openly. Writing a 2005 report published in the School Community Journal, author Susan Graham-Clay advises that these conferences have to be well planned to be effective. For example, the conference organizers have to consult with parents and school board members in order to set a date convenient to everyone.