Next week will see the launch of Firefly’s new and comprehensive Parent Portal solution for schools, helping them to engage the whole parent community with a richer understanding of their child’s school experience. In this blog, Simon Hay, CEO and co-founder of Firefly, explores the changing learning environment and what approaches and strategies high-performing schools have been adopting to ensure parent engagement and learning continuity.
The recent months have forced some of the biggest changes to how we teach and learn for a century. We’re more reliant than ever on parents to support their children and to support their schools. Many have become more engaged in their children’s education just as they face more stressful circumstances at home. For schools, this is both an opportunity and a challenge.
We have to be able to bring our communities together online – but a lot of existing technology isn’t up to the job. Often, solutions have been assembled piecemeal over the years. There are lots of separate, complicated systems to manage that don’t talk to each other and give a fragmented user experience - one which feels increasingly dated when compared to their day to day experiences of technology elsewhere. Parents want more, and they want it all in one place.
Involving parents in the learning journey
The most inspirational school leaders we’ve worked with have developed a strategy to enlist parents’ support through improved visibility and two-way communication online. They keep their schools first choice by demonstrating the value they’re adding to each and every student.
These schools are more proactive, with a deliberate communication strategy helping to ensure that they meet the growing expectations of their parents. They’re moving away from occasional, backward-looking reporting that gives too little, too late, towards more continuous, real-time feedback to steer small course corrections. Most significantly, these schools are replacing a range of disconnected solutions, with their separate logins and siloed data, with a strategic environment that better represents their ethos and culture. This brings everything together in one ecosystem with built in engagement monitoring and known data governance.
Unifying the school experience for better engagement
To achieve this shift, they need a platform that understands the complete learning experience – academic, extra-curricular and pastoral – no matter where it’s taking place, online, in the classroom or out in the world. It needs to enable effortless, personalised, teacher-led dialogue between students, parents and leaders in ways that fit their daily lives. It needs to give insights to parents and leaders as a natural byproduct of teachers’ daily workflows, not an additional chore.
This can’t be done by a patchwork of systems. It can’t be done with your MIS portal or Microsoft or Google alone. We think there’s a better way, and we’ve been working hard on our new, comprehensive Parent Portal.
Is it time to rethink the relationship between your school and your parent community?
Join us for our webinar next week where we will explore effective approaches for parent comms and give you a sneak peek into how our new Parent Portal can help reduce the admin workload.