Afterschool programs play a pivotal role in helping kids improve their academic performance. Students can also build learning and social skills while partaking in activities that expand their educational horizons. What started out as afterschool centers – in the early 1900s - where children would wait for their parents is today a crucial component in extracurricular learning.
Afterschool administrators have always strived to engage parents in their programs. After all, most parents want their kids to have essential life-learning skills for productive futures. Parent involvement is a critical component in fostering better educational outcomes for their children. With this in mind, the best afterschool programs should elicit parent engagements with development plans that maximize student potentials.
EZReports empowers parents and program partners
EZReports is an industry leader in Afterschool Management Software. With years of extensive experience, we continue to provide user-friendly, cloud-based software solutions for afterschool program administrators and directors. Our comprehensive web-based software offers real-time reports with detailed information, data, and statistics.
EZReports is in use by 8 State DOEs and over 3,000 schools and community organizations nationwide. In addition, we meet the data collection and reporting requirements of the Federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs. With an emphasis on streamlining and centralizing technologies for better engagements and ROI, our tools are consistently updated to meet the demands of afterschool program partners.
As advocates of education across all levels, we know how challenging it can be to get parents involved in afterschool programs. This is why our features and tools cover all bases to ensure optimal participation for parents within an interactive platform that produces measurable results. One such tool is the Customizable Surveys feature that brings the following benefits -
- A user-friendly module allows users to create surveys for teachers, parents, students, staff, and afterschool providers.
- Survey forms can be completed via PC, iPad/tablet, or smartphone.
- Program providers can assign teachers to students and send survey requests to parents via email.
- A comprehensive, cohesive portal that enables correspondences to staff and providers from a single platform.
- Completed surveys are automatically updated in EZReports for easy access.
- Users can track the progress of surveys sent and completed and also send reminders.
- Detailed feedback and survey results within reports that are easy to analyze.
Gathering feedback is the best way to monitor the progress and drawbacks of your afterschool programs. It also helps administrators customize their programs based on parent suggestions and requests. Although these important correspondences are vital for building afterschool activities, you can implement modifications based on grade levels, participation, and overall engagements if needed.
EZReports makes the process more manageable with a full suite of tools at your fingertips. If you struggle to get parents involved in your afterschool programs, here are five tips that may help.
1. Keep open lines of communication
The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted face-to-face communications between parents and school officials. However, this should serve as an obstacle in creating or maintaining communications with engagement strategies. There are many avenues available, including traditional phone calls, emails, texts, newsletters, and, of course, video chats.
These methods facilitate social distancing but keep parents engaged and apprised of your respective programs. More importantly, they assure parents that their children are safe and continuing their education and activities. Afterschool programs that invest in EZReports technologies have access to communications with parents across multiple digital channels. The benefits include but are not limited to-
- More substantial parent involvement in their child’s afterschool programs and development.
- Frequent communications between programs and families tend to produce better engagements and higher attendance.
- Afterschool staff can send regular updates, including center closings due to inclement weather or holiday break schedules.
- Regular correspondences via surveys, emails, and texts furnish feedback that may be used to customize programs or add new activities.
- Make parents aware of calendar changes and announcements. This gives them a level of participation and insight into the program's structure.
2. Share media with parents and families
Nothing puts a smile on a parent’s face faster than seeing their kids do well in school. Afterschool programs help students improve their studying skills and monitor progress for overall development. From art and sciences to mathematics and sports, you can share pictures and videos of activities and learning experiences with parents.
Sharing media helps celebrate student accolades and achievements. In addition, parents can see the positive impact the programs have on their children – and the community. Students also love to see themselves in pictures and videos of their educational accomplishments. This social aspect will surely increase parent involvement and make your campaigns a success.
3. Request parent feedback and involvement
As mentioned earlier, feedback is a great way to ensure parent involvement in their child’s activities. Most parents want to play a pivotal part in their kid’s happiness, growth, and development. By sending surveys and correspondence, parents will have a say in their child’s extracurricular activities and educational experiences. It also engages them to be a part of this journey, hopefully creating bright and happy futures.
Here are some aspects you can cover -
- Afterschool programs can send surveys to poll parents on their opinions and suggestions for improving programs.
- Adding options to programs gives them a platform to choose or develop some new, unique suggestions.
- Ask parents for their feedback but politely and engagingly. Overwhelming them with constant surveys and texts may turn them away, producing undesirable results for your campaigns.
- Discuss program changes you want to implement for students. Ask parents for opinions and perceptions; this makes them feel more valued and engaged across the board.
- Keep an open mind when sending communications. Do not expect anything, and leave room for productive discussions that keep everyone on the same page toward student progress in programs.
4. Support parent engagement with EZReports
With the right digital tools by EZReports, you have the perfect opportunities to communicate directly with teachers, parents, students, staff, and afterschool providers. In addition, our software provides everyone in the loop with better transparency and insight into afterschool programs and activities.
EZReports has many features and tools for your convenience. However, it was specifically designed to help afterschool programs connect with parents regularly. Our web-based software gives afterschool providers -
- The ability to manage child and family data within a user-friendly interface and portal.
- Manage program participation with detailed information, data, and statistics.
- Manage secure online payments, enrollment levels, staffing, and scheduling across multiple program sites and platforms.
- Keep parents in the loop with emails, texting, and push notifications for new program updates and announcements.
- Share monthly calendars that engage parents in attending planned activities or events.
5. Follow up with parents frequently
Following up with parents lets them know how vital they are in their children’s lives. It also gives them a sense of purpose, especially when it comes to being directly involved in your afterschool program. While EZReports features digital channels for boosting parent engagements, don’t forget to thank parents for taking a proactive role in achieving better outcomes for their kids. This is the human side of administrating, teaching, and parenting that no technology can ever replace.