I interviewed a parent who has been part of the PTA since her child was in kindergarten. It was bittersweet for her to share that this is the last year she will be with her PTA. She has been involved for seven years, two of which she was president. Only two due to term limits! Check out what she had to say about communication and the PTA at her school.
Jude: What are the biggest challenges in communicating with teachers at your school?
PTA Parent: I would say the biggest problem between teachers and parents is communication. Some people email and some people like phone calls. I found that some teachers will not respond to emails. My child has to tell her teachers when I email them because they don’t check. I’m not always available for phone calls.
Jude: This parent teacher communication App I use, called Bloomz, is basically like Facebook for the classroom. You have an App on your phone and you can join groups like PTA. There is a newsfeed and places to message teachers. I think it is easier and more efficient communication because it is like the social engagement we are participating in our everyday lives. Would you consider using an app to communicate with parents and teachers?
PTA Parent: We do Facebook and email blasts. I can definitely suggest it to the younger schools and the new board taking over.
Jude: Oh cool, thanks! So you do Facebook, does that mean the PTA has a group page on Facebook?
PTA Parent: Yes, each school has their own PTA and they have their own Facebook page. There is an administrator to keep negative comments away and you must also have a child in that school.
Jude: That makes sense. It sounds like you are already familiar with the group page scenario for parent communication. With Bloomz, parents sign a Code of Conduct community agreement.
PTA Parent: Right, we don’t allow bad comments about teachers because that doesn’t help anything. If parents have a problem with a teacher they should go to the school. We are just an information and suggestion type group.
Jude: Thanks so much for your valuable input. I appreciate hearing your perspective because it helps me as a teacher to understand the dynamic of PTA group communication. Being a teacher, I am on the opposite side of that communication. It is so important for us to work together so that we can give the best experience to the children. Are there any last bits of advice you would give teachers for the upcoming school year?
PTA Parent: I realize that teachers have lives outside of schools but sometimes it’s helpful and good for kids to see teachers at after school activities. Their participation can encourage kids that are a little reluctant to try things. Meet the principal and every teacher your child will come on contact with (art, music, even aides if possible). Try to attend meetings that involve the school so you become a familiar face. That helps a lot!
After speaking with this PTA parent I learned that Bloomz can be an effective tool for PTA communication. It streamlines communication to one place rather than trying to keep up with phone calls, emails, and texts. Bloomz provides easy volunteer sign-up tools, a shared calendar, and a messaging center equipped with read receipts. There is a system in place for encouraging positive dialog such as the code of conduct community agreement. In regards to her advice on meeting every teacher your child comes contact with, Bloomz is a great tool to increase the amount of communication parents have with all teachers at the school. Parents can upload profile pics and engage with all teachers via the newsfeed and messaging system to become a more familiar face. I recommend Bloomz to PTA members because Bloomz is centered specifically around effective parent teacher communication.