Research for Better Teaching
We asked practitioners in the field to weigh in about how they best engage with parents. Here's what they had to say:
Using Technology to Engage Parents
The Mundelein, Illinois elementary district is using the program Seesaw to engage parents.  Jen Moulton, Early Childhood special education teacher writes, I engage parents by using Seesaw. I like that it can translate (roughly) into Spanish, which quite a few of my parents need. I engage them by having all of my communication translated into Spanish, so that my Spanish-speaking parents can read what I write." 
The teacher uses Seesaw to share one way that parents can engage with students at home with a task that they have done in the class.
Patience Bertana, K-8 instructional coach, and the parent of a child whose school uses Seesaw notes that, “Seesaw allows parents to connect to the learning in their child's classroom. I have the benefit of being both an educator and a parent user. Almost all of our parents have a smart phone, and when a child or teacher posts to seesaw, it sends an alert to a parent’s phone or in my case, watch, which causes me to stop and look at the post right away. Parents can see what is happening and can engage with the learning in real time." 
Using Seesaw has replaced the need for classroom newsletters and schools are using Seesaw to provide resources for parents to support their child’s learning at home.  For instance, teachers share videos and photos of anchor charts, enabling parents to support classroom learning with conversations at home. Patience notes that as a parent, it allows her to use the same language that is being used in the classroom. 
The Mundelein District has started using Seesaw even more with their middle school students and parents. Teachers post an assignment with the criteria for success. Parents can then see their child's submission and know what the expectations are for proficient student work. Patience reports that, “This has completely changed the dynamics in one of the middle school classrooms. Parents are in the ‘loop’ from the start and know what the teacher expects in an assignment. As many of us know, middle school students aren't always communicative with parents, so Seesaw has created an avenue to keep the lines of communication open between the school and home."
Students are given the opportunity to post items to their Seesaw journal as well. This gives students ownership of their learning and the ability to reflect and choose what they see as important to share with parents and peers. Speaking as a parent of an elementary student, Patience said that “As my son gets off the bus, he often asks, ‘Did you see what I posted on Seesaw?’ It allows us to have a conversation about school that is meaningful and connected to the learning.”    
The classroom teacher shares the morning message with students each day. By taking a photo, she is able to also share the message with parents. 
Students use Seesaw to post work completed during centers. The teacher can assess students understanding of the concept while also sharing with the parents a snapshot of what is happening during the day.
Reported by Jen Moulton, Early Childhood Special Education teacher, and Patience Bertana, Instructional Coach, Mundelein Elementary District (K-8), Illinois. 

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