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Symposium Aims to Help Schools Reach Digital Parents

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School administrators will learn how to communicate more effectively with today's digital parents during an online symposium this month.

The Symposium on Parent Engagement, which will be hosted by Schoolwires on Oct. 22, will explore the myriad of digital platforms available to actively involve parents in their children's education.

Schoolwires, which is based in State College, Pa., provides technology products to more than 1,500 K-12 school districts and schools in the U.S. and China. Symposium presenter Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow, a California-based nonprofit, said in a release that too many school districts depend on "one-way information," with parents.

"Digital parents have different expectations when it comes to the effective use of technology in the classroom and school-to-home communications," Evans added. "These expectations are driving change in the way school districts engage parents to support student success."

Joining Evans as a presenter at the online symposium will be Karen Mapp, the director of the Education Policy and Mangement Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who will discuss how schools can develop successful family engagement strategies. Bernie Rhinerson, the former San Diego Unified School District chief of staff, will examine how districts can reach out to their tweeting and texting digital parents.

In addition to the symposium, Schoolwires teamed up with Project Tomorrow to develop the "Administrator's Guide to Reaching Digital Parents." The guide provides administrators with best practices that can be implemented to boost parent involvement and improve student achievement.

The guide also includes findings from Project Tomorrow's 2012 Speak Up National Research Project that surveyed the use of emerging technologies to meet the needs of students, parents and educators. The survey found that 26 percent of school and district administrators believe that effectively communicating with parents continues to be a major challenge.

See our full coverage of parent empowerment issues.

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