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ERIC Number: ED514357
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 100
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 80
School/Home Communication: Using Technology to Enhance Parental Involvement. A Project for the Illinois Century Network and Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
Center for the Study of Education Policy
The research is clear that parents' involvement in their child's education improves outcomes in areas such as learning, attendance, behavior, and graduation rates. Although almost any parent involvement brings improvements in student outcomes, parent involvement with their child's learning at home is most helpful in increasing student learning. Increased and meaningful communication between home and school enhances parent involvement. Illinois schools are using various forms of technology to increase school/home communication, including voice mail, e-mail, school and classroom websites, and web access to individual student information such as attendance, grades, and student portfolios; however, this use is not consistent or widespread. In February 2003, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich called on all Illinois schools to adopt the National PTA standard for parental involvement to ensure that communication between home and school is frequent and meaningful. The Illinois Century Network (ICN) provided funding to the Center for Application of Information Technology (CAIT) at Western Illinois University to develop applications and the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University to survey schools across Illinois to determine the extent of the use of technology for communicating with parents of students in Illinois schools. The major findings are presented in this paper. Based upon the findings from the literature, state data, cost study, surveys, interviews, and focus groups, seven recommendations are given: (1) Improved school/home communication would benefit students, their families and schools; however, multiple communication methods and formats are needed to meet the varying capacities and communication needs of Illinois families; (2) Illinois can promote cost-effective solutions that build upon the variety of existing student information systems, parent communication tools, and grading systems already in place rather than mandating a one-size-fits-all system. The State should seek to provide communication solutions that meet interoperability standards and are compatible with as many current school communication systems and vendor products as is feasible; (3) Illinois should make use of the existing ICN infrastructure to provide a menu of support services from which schools may selectively choose based upon their priorities, capacity, and needs. Steps toward implementation include assuring a basic level of access and capacity for all schools; providing services to support the activities for which technology is most useful to increase parental involvement; and helping schools share best practices related to school/home communication; (4) State-sponsored school/home communication initiatives must recognize the current financial constraints under which Illinois schools are operating. To address cost issues, the state could provide financial support through targeted grants tied to specific goals that seek to increase the frequency of school/home communications from current levels; (5) School/home initiatives will need to address issues related to personnel time for training and implementing home/school communication systems. Support will be required for schools to train personnel and parents in order to accomplish reasonable goals to increase the frequency and extent of school/home communication; (6) In collaboration with parents and families, schools should establish policies and practices that establish a framework for school/home communication related to student academic performance and development to ensure consistent expectations. Explicit policy goals would also help schools identify budget priorities; and (7) Any new statewide program/initiative must recognize the cultural and economic differences in the schools and homes across the state and the potential for technology to widen the digital divide rather than close it. Appendices include: (1) School to Home Survey; (2) Cost Study; (3) Parent Focus Group; (4) Principal Interview Sets of Questions; (5) Technical Representative Interview Script; (6) Resources for Schools; (7) Hardware and Software Requirements; and (8) Software Vendor List. (Contains 14 tables and 9 figures.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the Illinois Century Network.]
Center for the Study of Education Policy. Department of Educational Administration and Foundations, College of Education, Illinois State University, 320 DeGarmo Hall, Campus Box 5900, Normal, IL 61790-5900. Tel: 309-438-2399; Fax: 309-438-8683; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Illinois State University, Center for the Study of Education Policy
Identifiers - Location: Illinois