The impact of parental involvement upon student achievement is clear. Studies and research findings repeatedly show the strong correlation between the degree of a parent’s involvement with their child’s education and success in the classroom. For a decade now, school administrators and leaders have been using the Blackboard Connect™ platform to facilitate regular communication with parents to help encourage greater involvement with their child’s school or district.

More recently, in 2010, we launched Blackboard Connect for Teachers – a tool that put the power of mass notification in the hands of classroom instructors as well.  The Blackboard Connect for Teachers™ service makes it easy for teachers to reach parents with vital information about a student’s academic performance or classroom behavior.

Today, we are introducing a new release of Blackboard Connect for Teachers.  The new release adopts the streamlined interface of Blackboard Connect 5, and it includes over 1,000 comments for instructors to share with  parents in 23 different languages. The new enhancements in Connect for Teachers can help parents become more aware and informed about their children’s performance through timely phone calls and email messages delivered in their preferred language.

Teachers at Bedicheck Middle School in Austin, TX are using Blackboard Connect for Teachers to help connect with both English and Spanish-speaking parents by delivering regular personalized positive or corrective messages. With 35 percent of students coming from homes where Spanish is the primary language, widespread language barriers further complicate the already challenging task of effectively communicating with parents. In Blackboard Connect for Teachers, the pre-recorded messages to parents have been translated and recorded by a native speaker—not a machine —guaranteeing message accuracy, a critical factor in facilitating clear communications.

Bedichek teachers find that the system makes communicating with parents on a daily basis easy and effective. “I use the system to inform parents about tutoring, make-up work, upcoming tests, and other classroom issues, “says Kathy Keel, sixth grade science teacher at Bedicheck. “My students now ask me if I can send a ‘reminder’ home.” Easier communication with parents has also translated to more available time for classroom prep and grading.

The upgrade of Connect for Teachers is due in part to Blackboard’s move to join forces with Edline – one of the leading education technology companies in K-12 . Blackboard Connect for Teachers combines key elements of its Connect 5 application design together with Edline’s TeleParent Engage Teacher’s impressive library of recorded messages. The new Connect for Teachers product will be offered as a free upgrade to current Engage Teacher clients and the company is already busy developing additional integration between the Connect and Edline product families.

To learn more about how you can improve communication between teachers and parents at your school, visit our website.

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