September 28, 2020

Measure Family Contact during Virtual Learning

Keep every student – and family – on track by tracking family contacts.
LiveSchool 101: Happy Teachers, Engaged Students, and Better Data
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Keeping in touch with families can play a huge role in building relationships virtually – see how you can create a system to manage your family check-ins.

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Why It Works

Direct communication with families – whether by phone, text, or even video conference – is a powerful way to maintain relationships during virtual learning. Too little direct communication can allow families to slip through the cracks. Too much can be overbearing and a time sink for teachers. Just like with Goldilocks, the goal is to get it "just right." Tracking family contact in LiveSchool helps you generate the data to find the right frequency of outreach.

Get Started

Step 1

To get started, create a "Family Contact" button on your school-wide behavior rubric. We recommend selecting a point value of 0 – students will not earn points when a Family Contact is recorded, but your team will generate important data.

Pro Tip: To track multiple types of Family Contact (e.g. "Quarterly Conference", "Celebration Call", "Nudge"), create a separate category with multiple trackable buttons underneath.

Pro Tip: Add an additional button for "Guidance Referral." Connect notifications to automatically notify your Guidance Counselor when selected. Instruct teachers to use this button if their Family Contact reveals an issue at home requiring follow-up.

Step 2

Share your expectations with teachers for how often to conduct check-in calls. Remember quality over quantity! If you're not sure, once per month is a great place to start. Give your teachers some structure for these calls:

  • Before making your first family call, let your students and parents know you'll be checking in monthly (or a different frequency).
  • Have a piece of good news handy! Parents love hearing what their child is doing well.
  • If necessary, share any areas you want the student to continue improving. Stay factual and constructive in your feedback.
  • Ask the parent or guardian if there are any obstacles they're seeing their child run into? Any activities they notice their child especially enjoying?
  • Thank the parent for their time. Remember, calls can be short and sweet!

When you're done, it's time to track the Family Contact in LiveSchool! It takes just a few easy steps:

  1. Search for the student by name. Click the student and select "Continue."
  2. Select the Family Contact (or other relevant) button.
  3. Enter a comment! This is a great opportunity to capture positive notes that your colleagues and the family will see. For example: "Great speaking to Mr. and Mrs. West. So proud of Trisha's progress!"

That's it! In a few clicks, you've captured the positive interaction and created a record you can reference later in the year.

Step 3

Use your data! There are many ways to use your Family Contact data – here are a few favorites:

  • Shout out teachers! Use a Teachers Scoreboard to identify all staff who met a specified goal for number of family contacts in the month. Select one at random to win a gift card! Or, if budget is tight, simply give heartfelt acknowledgment at your next staff meeting.
  • Identify gaps in your plan. Use Students Scoreboard filtered to Parent Contact to identify students who aren't receiving any Family Contact. Troubleshoot with your team – you may need to tweak your plan!
  • Stay on the pulse. Use a filtered Timeline for Parent Contact, and review the comments so you're in the loop on the latest progress and obstacles teachers are encountering.

Mix It Up!

Feeling creative? There are many ways to build on this procedure to engage families in new ways. Try one of the following:

  • Run a raffle for families! By checking in with their child's teacher each month, they're automatically entered! Announce your raffle on social media! Export a filtered Timeline and use a random number generator to select the winner.
  • Equip your teachers with a "challenge of the month" to share with families. Make it fun and non-essential to student learning. For instance, families can share a picture of themselves on a walk and tag your school account. It's an easy win for engagement!

Get creative, have fun, and remember – keep it positive! 🎉

💻  VIRTUAL LEARNING
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