Communication Methods

In the Virtual Teaching & Learning Environment

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Creating a Communication Plan

Creating a communication plan in the Virtual Teaching & Learning Environment (VTLE) is crucial to student success! It can be challenging, though, especially when many students and families lack the necessary technology to thrive in the VTLE. So, what do we do? We create a communication plan with these barriers in mind. Here are some steps you can take to create a communication plan that will reach more students and families:

  1. Collaborate with grade-level colleagues and administrative staff to brainstorm communication strategies and platforms that are district-appropriate.

  2. Send out a survey to determine families’ preferred method of communication.

  3. Ensure you have the most up-to-date family contact information.

  4. Use a consistent platform to post weekly agendas and announcements. Using your district-chosen platform, such as Google Classroom and Canvas, will ensure students and families know where to look for important information.

  5. Have an administration-approved backup plan to follow up with families who do not respond to virtual methods of communication and/or students who may not be attending virtual classes. Some suggestion might include:

    1. Phone calls

    2. Home visits

    3. Face-to-face conferences

Communication Tools in the VTLE

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Tips for Communicating with Families & Students

  1. Provide virtual tutorials to help students and families learn how to access and navigate online communication platforms.

  2. School leaders and teachers should also consider hosting virtual office hours either by phone or online so that their staff, students and families can reach out with questions, comments or concerns

  3. “Creating Google phone numbers that are set aside just for students and parents only is also a nice way to set some boundaries while being communicative. It creates an alternate number for you that will go straight to your phone but also doesn't force you to give out your personal number”

  4. Use websites and resources to help translate correspondence into students and families’ native language. Here is a brief tutorial showing you how to use Google Translate :

Using Google Translate

How Do We Reach Families with Limited and/or No Technology Access?

We keep trying! If one method hasn’t worked, try another.

Districts and schools should work with community outreach programs and government agencies to meet the needs of these students and families. The Youth.Gov website houses numerous resources to help families during the COVID-19 crisis: Resources to Support Youth and Families During the Coronavirus COVID-19.

Additional Resources

  1. Resources to Support Youth and Families During the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak: This government website, organized by topic, houses myriad resources for families.

  2. How Educators Can Reach Out to Families While Schools are Closed: This Teach for America article provides suggestions and strategies for building more positive communications with families.

  3. Engaging Families Virtually: Publication put out by The New Teacher Project

  4. A free translation platform.