NWSD to boost parent-teacher communication

by Derek Cornet

With the start of a new school year this week, the Northwest School Division (NWSD) wants to provide parents with a way to keep closer tabs on their child’s progress.

Earlier this month, NWSD began updating its websites for individual schools across the division. Kaitlin Harman, communications officer for NWSD, said the changes will make it easier for parents to check on their child’s daily homework assignments and upcoming events at their school.

“Parents will be able to know what’s been assigned for homework,” Harman said. “Teachers will be updating information on the sites.”

Harman said the new sites will also allow teachers to communicate amongst themselves more efficiently, which should prove useful for administrative duties or creating group plans.

The school division also recently launched social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Harman said NWSD has been seeking ways to be more visible and approachable in the communities it serves. She noted social media is a powerful platform for delivering a message because it can be accessed on many devices.

“I imagine most of our older students, as well as many of their parents, use Facebook,” Harman said.

Many school divisions in the province have already made an effort to reach out to its student body and community via social media. Harman noted those efforts have been successful at bridging a gap in communication.

Building on improvements from previous years, NWSD director of education Duane Hauk said no big changes will occur this year that would affect students. He noted literacy will continue to be a priority in all schools.

“We’re going to do our best to raise literacy rates,” Hauk said. “Last school year, 82 per cent of students in Grades 1 to 3 were reading at the proper grade level.”

To increase student literacy, the division has several methods it hopes will help improve matters. Among these are identifying individual students by test scores and creating a personal plan to get them back on track.

“We have a responsibility to track students so we can help them grow through their school life,” Hauk said.

The process will also benefit parents by showing their child’s performance in greater detail. Hauk said NWSD is piloting an outcome-based report system in four schools, which will boost communication between teachers and parents.

Overall, Hauk’s excited to see these changes implemented and said he’s looking forward to the new school year.

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