Capstone Project: Home School Connection


Describe the target audience for this series (grade level bands, parents, community members, admin, other teachers at a conference, museum staff).  

The target audience for this project would be classroom teachers.

What is a topic you’d like to tackle with colleagues that involves technology integration and education? 

The topic is choosing a parent portal that best fits our needs to best communicate with families.

What is the evidence that there is a need or a problem in this area? 

The problem is that our teachers use several different parent portals and that makes it difficult for families who have more than one child in the system.  Our leadership team decided that it would be more effective to use one parent portal throughout the entire school. That way we can provide training and support for teachers and families on that specific portal. 

How will you design the professional development so it is about an idea (digital citizenship, engagement, autonomy, global collaboration) not about a tool?

The professional development will be designed around the idea of family engagement and building community.

Invitation to Learn

Click here to find out more about this professional development series!


  1. Building Relationships Between Teachers and Parents

Watch this TEDx Talk by Megan Olivia Hall to hear about building relationships between teachers and parents.  Hear about how becoming a parent transformed her teaching.

  1. Relationship Building

Watch this video created by San Bernardino teachers on how important parent communication is and for some practical suggestions on how this can be accomplished.

  1. 8 Ways to Communicate with Parents in 2019

Visit this website for tips on how to communicate with parents in today’s digital age.  Learn more about blogs, podcasts, email, social media, communication apps, and more!  

  1. Teacher and Parent Relationships

Watch this TEDx Talk by Cecille Carroll to hear about how building relationships with parents improved her community.  Hear about her perspective as a parent and community organizer.  

  1. 3 Great Ways to Power Up Parent Communication

Watch this quick 3 minute video to learn 3 ways to power up your parent communication.  This video is helpful because it includes a teacher’s perspective.

  1. Power Up Your Parent Communication

Visit this resource to learn more about ways to power up your parent communication.  You will find a helpful 3 minute video and downloadable cheat sheets for teachers on how to be proactive when communicating with families.  

  1. Remind

Visit this website to learn more about how Remind can connect you with families.  Remind is a quick and easy way to send a message to families. You can send a text right to their phone!

  1. Remind Reviews

Visit this website to read reviews on Remind as a way to communicate with families.

  1. ClassDojo

Visit this website to learn more about how Classdojo can be used as a way to communicate with families.  ClassDojo is a great way to document and reward behaviors and it has a few free features including a way to monitor volume and create groups.

  1. ClassDojo Reviews

Visit this website to read reviews on ClassDojo.

  1. SeeSaw

Visit this website to learn more about SeeSaw as a way to keep families connected.  SeeSaw can be used as a platform for assigning activities, posting student work, and communicating with families.  You can also use SeeSaw as a blog to connect with a broader audience.

  1. SeeSaw Reviews

Visit this website to read reviews on SeeSaw.

Digital Citizenship

What are two elements of digital citizenship that you will focus on during this professional development? Please describe why you selected and how you’ll address  them.

  1.  Digital Access
    1. I selected digital access because we live in a community that is growing and changing every day but still need to consider our families who live in poverty.  We can’t assume that everyone has access to a smartphone, desktop computer, or wifi.  
    2. It is important that the parent portal we choose is free and as accessible as possible for families.  
  2.  Digital Communication and Collaboration
    1. I selected digital communication and collaboration because communication is the basis of my entire capstone project.  
    2. It is important to address what kind of information will be shared with families and how this tool will be used.  

Provide at least one handout that you created for your colleagues with regards to your two elements of digital citizenship 

Learn more about Digital Access and Digital Communication and Collaboration here.

Session Design and Delivery

  • Click here for the google form to assess what participants already know.
  • What evidence in the professional development suggest that the learning environment supports andragogical principles?
  • In what ways does this tap into, and extend teacher interest or school goals?
    • Our school is part of the Greater Schools Partnership and communication has been a goal on our action plan for the past three years.  This project would address our communication with families goal.
  • How does the environment and unit offer a variety of ways to explore and express ideas?
    • We will have a shared folder on Google Drive for participants to use.  Participants will have a choice on how they will present ideas within small groups and with the whole group.  I will provide support on how to create a screencast or a short presentation.
  • What structures and tools will you use to enable your learners to work collegially and to contribute to the community of learners?
    • This professional development series will be spread out over five sessions.  During these five sessions we will meet first as a whole group, then participants will meet with a small group who is using the same tool to determine pros and cons, then participants will meet with a small group who are all using different tools to explore other tools, finally we will meet back together as a whole group to report out consider making a decision.  

Instructional Map

How might we best communicate with families using technology?
StandardDescribe the connection
  Leader  Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student                        empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:2aShape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.
This professional development series focuses on determining the best way to communicate with families, therefore  empowering student learning by connecting the most important education stakeholder, their families.  

What  are 2-3 learning outcomes from the professional development? 

Series Learning Outcomes
Learners will determine what is important when communicating with families.
Learners will examine tools for communicating with families.
Learners will evaluate tools for communicating with families.

Outline the Learning

1) Session Title2) Session Learning Outcome3) Steps and resources
IntroductionParticipants will understand why communication with families is important to student success.Participants will determine what is important information to share with families.Participants will meet in a whole group for a presentation.  Home School Connection.pptx
Pros and ConsParticipants will determine the pros and cons of current parent portal.Exploring Parent Portals Session 1
Participants will meet in a small group with others who are using the same tool.  Participants will come up with a list of pros and cons.
Small Group ExplorationParticipants will present the pros and cons of current parent portal.Participants will examine other parent portals.  Exploring Parent Portals Session 2
Participants will meet in a small group with others who are using a different tool.  Participants will share the list of pros and cons.Participants will explore other parent portals by clicking on the links to the website and reviews.

Report OutParticipants will reflect on the different parent portals.Participants will evaluate the different parent portals.Participants will meet again with the small group with others who are using the same tool.  Participants will reflect on all of the different parent portal.  Participants will discuss which parent portal would be the best fit.  

Final ThoughtsParticipants will share final thoughts and rate each tool.Parent Portal Rating Scale
Participants will meet back in a whole group to rate each tool and discuss next steps.  

Instructional Aids & Supporting Documents

Supplemental Slides: Home School Connection

  1. Parent Portal Rating Scale
  2. Tips on Communicating With Parents
  3. Intro to Communication Tools We Already Use

How will you know if your sessions reach the goals? Professional Development Evaluation

Self Assessment

How is this professional development be different than what you would have planned prior to EDT 520? 

This professional development is different than anything I had planned prior to this course because it focused on technology and included videos that I made myself.  As a literacy coach, all of the professional development I was responsible involved reading and writing instruction and was often in the form of a book study.

Outcome 1 Read and synthesize literature and research on educational technology to support personal experiences and deepen conceptual knowledge:  The most valuable reading I did before this project was on andragogy and supporting adult learners.  Adults need to know why they are learning something so I included several videos in the resources section that showcase why communicating with families is so important.        

Outcome 2 Engage with peers and professional learning network through a variety of modalities to lead and contribute to discussions on educational technology to support deeper reasoning:  This was my weakest of the four outcomes.  I used Google Groups to collaborate with group members but did not have a lot of success with it.  I did bounce ideas off of our computer teacher, media specialist, and leadership team. Most of our interactions were face to face and I now wish I had used a google doc so I could share it here.  

Outcome 5 Demonstrate fluency with new educational tools, and articulate the affordances and constraints of such tools to support educational practice:  I researched three different communication tools that I had limited experience with including; SeeSaw, Remind, and ClassDojo.  This project was designed around and for leveraging media. Two of the tools teachers will explore will not only be used by parents but could also be used by students to demonstrate understanding of a lesson.  I also used the checklist for selecting technology for learning when I planned the sessions.     

Outcome 6 Plan for educational experience (of K-12 students or adults learners) that demonstrates the ability to use educational technology, sound educational philosophy, and plan for local context:  I planned this professional development with Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction in mind. I began the first session by building prior knowledge and asking open-ended questions.   I used technology to create google forms, handouts, introductory video, presentation, and a screencast.    

Aguilar, E. (2016). The art of coaching teams: building resilient communities that transform schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Crowley, B. (2019, February 19). Connecting a Classroom: Reflections on Using Social Media With My Students. Retrieved from

LaMotte, A. (n.d.). How to Design Your E-Learning Course Using Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction – E-Learning Heroes. Retrieved from

Pasquini, L. (2019, August 12). Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning. Retrieved from

Published by courtneyrwilliamsmaineedu

Hello! I am a second grade teacher in Maine. I am currently taking a technology course in hopes to further my knowledge on integrating technology in the classroom!

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