5 Great Tips for Informing and Engaging Parents on Transportation Issues
published on July 25, 2017 by Sonia Mastros
Parents need to know what is happening with their children once they leave their home and are in the custody of their district. Here are just a few things you can do to ease their concerns.
1. Have multiple forms of contact
Don't rely solely on telephone, email or the postal service for parent notifications. You can’t know which method a parent prefers or checks most often. The more ways you have to communicate with parents, the more likely it is your message will get through.
And if you find out that a method of contact is no longer viable, take steps to update your information right away.
2. Connect with them on social media
There's probably no better way of keeping parents engaged with school activities than connecting with them on social media.
A Facebook page that parents can follow is a must, but don’t underestimate the value of Twitter and Instagram. Even if the service doesn't allow for long-form messages, like Twitter, you can still include links to key materials online.
Instant messaging platforms are another good option, particularly when you have news that only affects a small number of people.
3. Don't abuse words like "important" or "critical."
There’s a “boy who cried wolf” effect to words like “important.” If you use them too often, people tend to ignore them. Parents see terms like “important” and “crucial” overused in advertisements and news stories, and can quickly become desensitized to them.
So, don't use these terms unless you need to let parents know about something truly important, such as a school closure or bus route change. Make your headlines\subject lines informative and to-the-point without hyperbole.
4. Personalize messages whenever possible.
The more you can do to make a particular message as personally relevant to the recipient, the better.
Or, to put it another way, don't send mass messages about something that only affects a small group. If one bus route out of 15 is changing, there's usually no need to email people on the other 14 routes. This will keep parents from ignoring your messages after getting too many things that weren’t relevant to them.
5. Work with parent groups like the PTA.
The most involved parents are almost always those you can convince to show up to events in person. If you have particularly important transportation-related news, work with the PTA or other parent groups to make the announcement in person. These parents can often get the news out to other parents who don't attend.
Likewise, "Parent Nights" at schools are another great opportunity to connect with parents, give them the information they need and get them interested in school bus transportation issues.
BusBoss Can Help You Connect to Parents
BusBoss transportation planning software isn't just a great route-planning and analysis tool, it also allows you to quickly look up students\parents based on their bus routes, and find their contact information and other crucial data. This makes it easier than ever to get news out to the parents as quickly as possible. Facebook and Twitter postings have never been easier.
What are some great ideas on how to keep the parents of your students happy? Your feedback is greatly appreciated.