Welcome to Parent 2.0
A Wiki Resource for Parents and Educators
in a Technology-Enabled World


What would you do in an online K-12 Parent Portal?


These stories are being collected from the literature and from real stakeholders. Join this space to add your voice by posting on the Comments page. Each story is intended to be a composite of everyone's input.
These stories will be used to help create an implementation guide for school districts to use in building their own K-12 Parent Portal. This work is also blogged at Technology for Learning.

There are similar ideas in several portals (see Online Parent Spaces for examples). But each school district needs to build a portal that reflects the needs of the parents involved. These stories are intended to help start the conversation at your school.

What you'll find on this page:

Meet the Parent Portal Stakeholders

What is a K-12 Parent Portal?

Parent Voices: Sally's, George's, and Alicia's stories

Teacher Voice: Jon's story

Trustee Voice: Donna's story

District Staff Voice: Karl's story

Principal Voice: Genevieve's story

References





Meet the Parent Portal Stakeholders



Donna Burke, Trustee; Jon Oyen, Teacher; Karl Fritsch, district staff; Sally Barrett & George Wangari, parents; Genevieve Larousse, school principal. Alicia Delmorales, a high school parent, is absent from the picture.

back to top



What is a K-12 Parent Portal?


A portal is defined in the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary (2008) as “a site serving as a guide or point of entry to the World Wide Web and usually including a search engine or a collection links to other sites arranged especially by topic.” Tatnall (2005) writes that a web portal provides a personalized gateway that aggregates information and allows access to a variety of resources and services that are relevant to the person seeking them. For parents this would include the ability to connect with information and services relevant to their child’s learning and activity at school, through any computer connected to the World Wide Web. With the explosion of communication technologies, there is an opportunity to construct a model of engagement that honours parent voice, that leverages technology in the learning environment and the home, and that builds a positive connection between home and school.

References
back to top


Parent Voices: Sally's, George's and Alicia's stories







Other comments from elementary school parents:
  • I want to know what my child’s homework assignments are and the due dates.
  • I want to know my child’s teachers better. What is their approach? What does success in their classroom look like?
  • I want to know how well my child should be doing. This year when she entered high school, Allison’s marks dropped. Is this normal? Or should I be worried?
  • I want to connect online with other parents – from discussions and support, to coordinating travel and child care plans.
  • I want to help students and teachers use technology in school. Where do I start?
  • How can I be sure that teachers know my child, and that she’s not just a number or a “bum in a seat”?
  • Where can I learn about the approach to learning in this school? Do all the teachers teach the same way? Do all the teachers mark the same way?
  • Can I have a say in what goes on in the classroom?
  • Can I see ahead of time what my children will be taking in school this year?

Other comments from middle school parents:
  • It just seemed to me that the younger your child is the more the school wants you involved, and as they got older it got less and less. I wanted to stay involved. I wanted to keep lines of speaking open. I was willing to receive notes, letters, phone calls or emails from the teachers. It was very hard to get teachers to answer me when I had a question or concern. I think it would benefit the school, the student and the parent if the schools would be more open to parents in higher grades.
  • I’m finding that in the middle school the teachers are less accessible because they don’t see the same children all day and work with many different classes.
  • I want to connect online with other parents – from discussions and support, to coordinating travel and child care plans.
  • I want to help my children with their homework but I don’t know where to get books or lessons for extra help. I’m not familiar with what they are being taught in math or social studies.
  • Where can I find out what cultural activities are happening at the school?

References
back to top


Teacher Voice: Jon's story




Other comments from teachers:
  • I want to post homework assignments and due dates so that I’m sure parents know what’s expected and students can’t claim they weren’t told.
  • I want to use email to talk to parents. Telephones are great but not if you have to leave messages back and forth.
  • I want to know how to involve parents in a more positive way.
  • I want to conduct surveys with parents on different topics and at different times.
  • I want to showcase student work where just parents can see it. Other times I want to showcase work for everyone to see.
  • I want to invite parents to participate in different learning activities.
  • I want parents to give their feedback on their child’s learning progress.


References
back to top


Principal Voice: Genevieve's story



Other Principal comments:

  • I’m really challenged to get parents out to the Parent Council meetings. We’ve tried newsletters and website announcements. I worry that some parents think it is cliquey, that they won’t fit in.
  • I want the teachers in my school to be comfortable in working with parents as partners in their child’s learning. I’m hoping that connecting online will strengthen the face-to-face communications.

    References
    back to top

Trustee Voice: Donna's story



    • Parents should be able to easily find the information they need online.
    • I want to be able to survey parents.
    • Parents should be able to contact their child’s teacher or principal online.
    • Parents should be able to pay fees online.
    • Parents should be able to register for school and activities.
    • I want to use the Internet to deliver messages, information, and announcements to parents.

References
back to top

District Staff Voice: Karl's story



    • Online payment by parents could reduce error.
    • A connection with the tax system would let us automate the xx and/or rebate process.
    • It would be great if parents could post questions that we could answer online for everyone to see. Parents could also identify what kind of information they would like to see.
    • Unlike a regular website, the portal should be an interactive space that parents can customize to their own needs and style.
    • Responses to parent questions should be automated using intelligent adaptive software.
    • In central office we have limited contact with parents. I want to be able to learn about parent’s needs and interests through the portal.

References
back to top

References


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portal
Williamson, R. D., & Johnston, J. H. (1998). Responding to Parent and Public Concerns About Middle Level Schools. NASSP Bulletin, 1998(September), 73-82.



Welcome to Parent 2.0