Learn about strategies for schools to increase student engagement with on-demand tutoring through better communication with families and communities. The strategies include using multiple communication channels, keeping messaging clear and concise, using images and visual aids, encouraging questions, and following up with families throughout the year.
On-demand tutoring is a key aspect of personalized learning, as it allows for individualized support for each student. But providing access to online tutoring isn’t enough – in order to drive meaningful impact, students need to actually engage with and use on-demand tutoring. Teachers can – and should – incorporate on-demand tutoring into the classroom routine, but families and communities also play an essential role in promoting and encouraging the use of on-demand tutoring as a tool for supporting student learning at home.
Without buy-in from these stakeholders, it can be challenging to encourage student usage. Effective communication with families can help provide students with better access to the resources they need, but if parents aren't interested in those services, schools may find it difficult to get students to pick them up. Take a look at these key strategies for improving communication with families and communities to increase awareness of personalized learning, encourage student access, and make the most of your on-demand tutoring platform.
1. Use multiple channels
In order to reach students and their families effectively, a school may need to use a variety of channels to emphasize the importance of personalized learning. We encourage our K-12 partners to start with the following:
- Email and text communication
- Social media
- Phone calls to parents, (especially to parents whose students are struggling with current curriculum and could use extra support or to those who have advanced far beyond their classmates and need an extra challenge)
- FAQ sessions at Open House, Back to School nights, and during parent-teacher conferences
By using multiple channels of communication, you ensure that family members have access to information about on-demand tutoring via their preferred communication method. Using multiple communication methods also increases the odds that you'll get the information to the families and students that need it most. For example, if a flyer gets lost in a student's backpack, a parent might get the information via email or by checking in on social media.
TutorMe provides social media templates, emails, and flyers to partner schools to help get the word out about access to on-demand tutoring services, reducing the workload on school staff to produce these materials.
2. Keep messaging clear and concise
Parents are often inundated with information coming from their schools. They may receive handouts, paperwork, and emails on a regular basis. Many parents end up feeling paralyzed by information overload and struggling to keep up with it all. When communicating about your on-demand tutoring program, keep it clear and concise. Let them know:
- What the platform is
- Why it's valuable
- How to access it
- How it works for students and parents
You may also want to include key information about incentives for students who use those platforms, since those incentives often serve as powerful motivators. Keep the information provided in the early stages minimal –then allow parents and family members the ability to access further information as they need or want to know more.
3. Use images in key communications
Visual aids, including photos, illustrations, and videos, offer a great way to connect more effectively with family members. Try:
- Using graphics as part of your ads. Those graphics may include charts, graphic organizers, or log-in information broken into chunks. .
- Showing video content of students accessing tutoring services in the classroom.
- Using colorful images to make your posters and other content more visible
Images and multimedia content all make it much easier for families to connect with the content you have presented to them. Choose images that speak to the families in your school, and use strategies that will encourage them to check out more about your on-demand tutoring platform.
Consider if a wide majority of community members may be English Language Learners. Images allow for messages to still be conveyed across language barriers, but you may also want to consider working with a translator or ELL paraprofessional to create messaging in other languages.
4. Encourage questions
Give families opportunities to ask any questions they might have about on-demand tutoring and why it is important for their students. It's natural for families to have questions about how it works. Will they have to pay for it? What types of content are available to their students? How do students log on? How do tutors work with the students? What kind of support can students receive?
Parents may have any number of questions that they need to ask, and without the answers to those questions, they may be reluctant to adopt a new platform. By encouraging questions, you can help them work through any concerns. You may want to:
- Offer an email address for any questions parents have about the platform.
- Host a parent night when parents can come in, test out the system or see it in action, and ask questions directly of their classroom teachers or the school administration.
- Start a conversation on social media, where parents can come together to read each others' answers.
5. Follow up with families
Once you've sent out the initial information about your on-demand tutoring platform, don't assume your work promoting the resource is done. Look for opportunities to follow up with families throughout the year.
- Check in by email regularly to ensure that families are still getting the access and information they need.
- Remind parents and families about on-demand tutoring opportunities for struggling students.
It's important to start following up early in the year so that you can provide families who may be new to this style of learning with the information they need to get started and to make the most of your tutoring options.
Are your schools partnering with TutorMe? Let parents know why you selected our platform to support students!
Your school may have gone through a comprehensive process to determine what platform you wanted to use. As you encourage parents to use the platform, you may want to let them know why TutorMe is a great on-demand tutoring platform, not just for the district, but for them and their families. TutorMe:
- Provides personalized learning for every student, including guidance based on each student's individual learning style.
- Offers convenience and flexibility, since students can access it anytime, from anywhere.
- Carefully screens its tutors to provide experienced, capable tutors who can offer top-quality support and guidance to students.
By highlighting those key elements, you can make sure that parents understand why TutorMe is a great option for their children and encourage them to take advantage of the platform.
Provide the support and guidance your students need to excel
Now, more than ever, it's critical for students to have support inside the classroom and out. By opening up multiple channels of communication, including sharing visual imagery and following up with family members, you can foster a culture around personalized learning that encourages student usage of on-demand tutoring to get the support they need to succeed.
Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more about bringing TutorMe for your district.