Tips and Tricks for Communicating with Parents and Students

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During this time of remote learning, what are some best practices in the ways you communicate with your students and their parents? In this webinar, we’ll explore examples and tips for communication, specific tools and resources to aid this process, and lessons learned from applying these practices.
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As the 2020-21 school year begins, most students and teachers are experiencing a start to the school year that is like no other. Whether you find yourself starting the year with in-person instruction, using a hybrid model, or teaching completely online, communicating effectively with parents and students is an important part of a teacher’s job and something that you may find to be more challenging while teaching remotely. 

So as we transition back into teaching and learning this fall, we thought it might be helpful to revisit a few of the Learning Continuity webinars that we recorded earlier this spring. This webinar, in particular, will give you strategies that you can implement right away! 

In the webinar, “Tips and Tricks for Communicating with Parents and Students,” Stacey Schuh (Michigan Virtual’s director of professional learning), Alex Rogers (kindergarten teacher at Holt Public Schools), Sam Sicilia (English teacher at Waverly High School), and Kristin Koch (senior ASL instructor at Michigan Virtual) discuss several different topics related to communicating with students and parents. 

We hope you enjoy watching the webinar as Stacey, Alex, Sam, and Kristin explain and discuss the various resources and tips that they have in store for you, as well as what practices they find to be both effective and ineffective. 

We have outlined the topics and tips below as well as linked the resources for you to make the content easier to refer back to and use! Enjoy! 

Examples of means of communication

Tips for communication

  • Consider including parents in email communications with students
  • Stick with what means of communication you have already established
  • Build upon what has already been used 
  • Keep it simple and consistent
  • Make sure students have opportunities to see you face-to-face

Lessons learned

  • Be flexible and understanding
  • Remember to connect with students on a personal level
  • Try to simplify and/or minimize communication so as not to overwhelm parents
  • Establish tools and strategies that work when learning is in the classroom or from home

Suggestions for educator support

  • Keep it light and be consistent
  • Make a daily schedule for yourself 
  • Maintain connections with students
  • Make sure students know you are there for them and available to answer any questions

Resources for communication

  1. Voicethread
  2. Loom
  3. Google Meet
  4. Remind
  5. Google Classroom
  6. Flipgrid
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Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.