Fostering Parent Engagement at Samantha Smith School in Queens
Parent engagement in school has been shown to improve educational outcomes. Most school communication about events involving parents goes home with students. The inherent risk is that information may not be passed on to a parent. As we become increasingly reliant on technology to communicate, parents may acquire and respond to information more reliably if they receive a text message or email than if they receive paper communications alone. This is worthy of exploration given the low cost of electronic communication.
BetaEd, an initiative led by Professor Angela Hawken, recently partnered with P.S. 182Q Samantha Smith School, in Queens, NY to conduct a randomized controlled trial, evaluating the effects of adding email or text messaging in communicating about an event that engaged parents in the classroom. Relative to the paper-only condition, messages issued by paper plus email improved parent show-up rates substantially.
BetaEd, a research initiative led by Professor Angela Hawken, helps schools learn how best to meet the education goals of their students. The objective is to help schools improve by gathering the good ideas of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, and then testing these ideas. The BetaEd team includes psychologists, economists, policy experts, clinical researchers, statisticians, and other researchers with decades of experience planning and conducting pilot tests and collaborating with stakeholders in the field. The BetaEd approach allows for fast evaluations that make it easier for promising practices to expand. Supported by philanthropy, BetaEd services are provided at no cost to its school partners.
Tile photo by Cel Lisboa.