Tech May Have A Role, But Is Not Cure-All, For Parent Engagement

Web app that links parents to kids’ schools has few takers in Dallas ISD is the headline in a recent Dallas Morning News article.

Here are some excerpts:

The application, called Parent Portal, makes an extraordinary amount of information available to parents. It shows students’ grades, attendance records and notes from their teachers on how they are performing. Parents can exchange private messages with teachers. The information is updated weekly….

However, Parent Portal participation in DISD remains low. Only 13 percent of the parents of Dallas ISD’s 158,000 students have signed up for Parent Portal, district records show. Of the district’s 223 schools, only a handful have more than half of their parents enrolled. The district doesn’t measure how often a parent signs in.

Michelle Rhodes, a teacher at DISD’s Larry Smith Elementary School in Mesquite, said few of her students’ parents use the service, possibly because so many lack computers or smartphones. District records show 10 percent of Smith parents have signed up for Parent Portal.

“That complicates it,” Rhodes said.

Participation in Parent Portal is the highest in the district’s premier magnet schools…

One thought on “Tech May Have A Role, But Is Not Cure-All, For Parent Engagement

  1. We have parent portal in place in our large urban district (110k students, Louisville, KY) and while it is an extremely useful tool for helping families, students, and schools to connect and partner (for middle & HS) it can only be effective if everyone feels it is beneficial. Since teachers are not required to use, you can have a school where some of the teachers utilize & have built substantial relationships with their student’s families and also families that feel completely disconnected. But I do not rely on this as the only way I connect with my schools, and nor should it be. I would say that if this is the only method and it has proven ineffective, the district should reasses how they have marketed it to families: have they encouraged parent groups to offer workshops? Have they partnered with the public library system (which have computer accessibility) to encourage use of the system? Do all the teachers participate or only some? I would say the disconnect occurred prior to the adoption of this program, because the vast amount of information is so beneficial to creating healthy home school partnerships which we all know can increase student success.

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