Great Parent Teacher Relationships Start With Positive Communication

Parent-Teacher Relationships

In addition to educating, disciplining and caring for children, teachers have the added responsibility of communicating with the parents of their students. As many teachers soon learn, this could be the most difficult part of their job. Parents can be hard to reach and when you do, it is often even harder to get them to commit to a face to face meeting. To get around this, more and more educators are turning to technology to help them get parents involved in their child's education.

What many teachers are finding now is that parents are more responsive to phone calls, text messages and emails then they are to notes sent home. We have all become accustomed to communicating this way, and teachers are learning to use these new methods to their advantage. Try these ideas to help build a strong line of communication with your student's parents:

Start the School Year Off on a Positive Note

A positive message sent home at the beginning of the term will help set the tone for the entire school year. At the end of the first week send out a welcome announcement highlighting how excited you are about the new class of children and some of the projects you have planned during the school year. You can use a school notification service like DialMyCalls to accomplish this easily.

Once you create a DialMyCalls account, load the contact information for each child into the web-based service. Be sure to include the numbers for both mom and dad, as some children may be coming from single parent households. You now have a choice to send a voice message or text, but for that first message a phone call would better relay your enthusiasm. The added bonus is that the message will also be sent to the e-mail address that the parents provided giving you added assurance that it will be received.

Let this first message be simple, friendly and upbeat. Mention that it has been a pleasure getting to know all of the new students and how much you are looking forward to meeting the parents as well. Include your own contact information in case they do want to speak to you one on one. This is not the time to ask for volunteers or boxes of tissues for the classroom, but rather the time to open a positive line of communication that will set the tone for the entire school year.

Invite Feedback

After your initial welcome message, ask the parents what is the easiest way for them to keep in contact with you. DialMyCalls has a phone polling feature which will allow you to track the parent's answers in a detailed report. For example, you can offer options such as text message, voice mail or email. They make the choice by pressing the corresponding number on their phone. Many parents have very busy work schedules and will appreciate your flexibility in offering them these choices.

Encourage Participation

With easy school notifications set up, you can now invite parents to participate in classroom activities. Use the polling method again to invite feedback about ways to make the curriculum more interesting for the kids or how to get them motivated to do homework. When there are upcoming events where extra hands are needed invite parents to volunteer. The more you include the parents in the class the more they will appreciate your time and will make the extra effort to help out when they can.

A teacher's role is not an easy one, and any tool that can help save you time and improve the quality of your students education should be taken advantage of. Implement excellent lines of communication with the parents from day one, and you will find that you, the parents and especially the students all benefit.



Landlord Tips: Creating a Sense of Community Inside of Your Apartment Complex

Landlord Tips

A community by definition means a social group who share a common locality. As a landlord it is to your benefit to promote the social side of your community. This helps to build strong ties that bind the residents together and keeps your rental turnover low.

The Decline of Community

Technology has had a strong negative impact on physical communities all over the world. People have become more accustomed to building strong ties online, while forgetting about the person living right next door. You can use this trend to your building's advantage by setting up a social network page where your tenants can begin to get to know one another in an environment they are already comfortable with. 

Signs of a Strong Community

When you enter an apartment complex you can tell almost immediately when the residents are cohesive. In a community, the residents smile and greet each other and the premises are kept clean and orderly. People in a community environment tend to take more pride in their surroundings, which will show in the overall appearance of your building.

What Can a Landlord do to Help

To begin with, you should take on the initial role of the community leader. Even if you live off premises, make your presence known inside of the building as often as possible. Be friendly and make introductions between tenants when circumstances arise. Start a dialogue about the building and what improvements could be implemented. Once tenants realize that they do share at least one common interest, they have a foundation on which they can begin to develop stronger ties.

Besides Facebook pages and small introductions, you also need to consider holding monthly or bi-monthly community events. Start with one that is building oriented, such as a tenant meeting to discuss emergency planning or changes in building policy. Again, it should be themed around something you already know is important to them, which is the environment in which they live. Keep the actual meeting portion short and the refreshment portion long to encourage tenant interaction.

In order to get as many tenants as possible to participate, you will need to bring the details of your meeting to their attention. Through the DialMyCalls community reminder system create a voice message that invites your tenants to participate. Stress the building details you will be discussing in your meeting and encourage them to bring the whole family.

Give at least a weeks notice for the first event and follow up with a text message reminder two days before. Using the two-way texting feature in your DialMyCalls account, you can ask that they respond back yes if they are planning to show up. For those who don’t respond, you still have a day to talk to them personally and compel them to the meeting.

Follow Up

Soon after the initial meeting, plan an event that is geared towards improving on the building. If you have a courtyard or garden area, host a clean-up party and provide flowers and shrubbery for the tenants to plant. If not, find another space in or close to your building where tenants can regularly convene to socialize. You could consider converting a part of the basement into a social area or even the rooftop if circumstances permit. The key is in getting the renters to be involved in setting it up.

Once you get the community ball rolling encourage other events like bowling nights or softball leagues. Anything that you can think of that will interest your tenants and keep them working together. Use the DialMyCalls telephone polling feature to allow the tenants to give their own suggestions and be sure that you broadcast the event with the date, time and location a week in advance.

Building that sense of community may take some time, but in the end it will be well worth your effort. You will start to see a change in the way tenants interact with one another and how they are willing to help their neighbors in need. Your rental turn-over will improve as the tenants relationships with each other does.



Keeping Your College Funded With Timely Tuition Payments

Automated Tuition Reminders

It is nice to think that your students and parents non-payment of tuition was just an oversight, with busy schedules causing them to forget that the tuition was due. Yet the reality is that it should not be acceptable for any educational institutional to have to wait until it is convenient for the parent to pay the expected tuition fees. 

The money collected for student tuition is used to cover all the costs related to educating children and young adults. Most likely already earmarked for expenses such as utility bills or new books, schools are dependent on those fees to stay in business and continue education programs. To ensure prompt payments try implementing policies and procedures that will help to keep the needs of your school at the forefront of the parents and students minds.

Be Firm

As much as you may want to be understanding of a families sudden financial troubles, the truth is everybody could tell a true tale of financial woe if they wanted to. As a college administrator you need to be firm and expect payments on time. As much as you want to be flexible, allowing one parent or student to be late could open the flood gates for requests of extensions. 

Remember, on top of all the other costs your school is subject to, you also have a responsibility to pay your staff. Every time you are asked to extend a tuition deadline ask yourself if your faculty would accept their paychecks a month late if you asked.

Clearly Defined Payment Policies

Before enrollment a package should be sent out to parents and or students outlining the expectations for tuition payments. These points should be reiterated during enrollment so that there are no misunderstandings. Stress the importance of timely tuition payments, the impact late payments have on the school and what penalties will be imposed if any.

Gentle Reminders

For some people, it does come down to just not having the right amount of money at the right time. To prevent this from affecting your school, remind parents or college students a week before the due date using DialMyCalls' school notification system. The message should be upbeat and understanding, but not apologetic. A simple "Hi, this is Tina from the admin office at Test University. I know everyone has been busy this month so I wanted to remind you that tuition is due next Friday the 31st." The message is friendly, unobtrusive and quick to the point.

Colleges and universities should use tuition payments as an opportunity to develop a sense of fiscal responsibility in their young student body by directing the message to them, not the parents.

Even though your schools main objective is to educate, you do need some form of funding to do it effectively. Be clear of your expectations of payment, enforce your policies and combat expected late payments with an automated tuition reminder and your job as collection agent should become unnecessary.



Church Growth Tips: Building a Bigger Congregation By Being Involved In The Community

Church Growth Tips

The quality of the message being given cannot be measured by the amount of people in the pews, but the sense of community that the church is offering can. It makes no difference what type of social interactions are being offered on the internet, people need others in order to thrive and your church is the perfect venue to nurture that growth. Take the time to grow your congregation and you will be helping them as well as your church.

Make a Great First Impression

Nobody likes that new kid in the class feeling. Assign the task to a regular member of your church to look out for newcomers at the door and make them feel welcome. A warm smile and handshake from a stranger will work wonders at making the new member feel at home. Have your welcome wagon set up to get the new members name and contact information and hand out a special package that is especially for newcomers. Include important church information inside the gift plus something unexpected like a mug with your church's name printed on the side.

As the pastor, you should be positioned at the exit at the close of each service. Here it is up to you to also offer a warm welcome, ask them about themselves and invite them to the next service.

Plan Open Events For the Whole Community

To build a rapport with the entire community and encourage them to attend your church you need to hold all inclusive events. Start a summer softball league or hold a holiday party where everyone is invited. In addition to posting these events in your weekly bulletin, use DialMyCalls to send the details to everyone in your congregation via phone call, text message or email. In this way members who may have missed a few services will still get the details.

Automated church calls allow you to record a personalized message and then have it sent to all of your contacts at the same time. DialMyCalls will help make this easy for you by storing your contacts and sending the message. You only need to login, add your contacts and record the message, DialMyCalls takes care of the rest. Relaying your church news in this way helps to ensure that even members who have strayed away know of your upcoming events.

Make sure to include that guests are welcome at the event to encourage your congregation members to invite friends from the community who may not yet be a member of your church. Promote it in a lively fashion with an emphasis on having fun and getting to meet new people.

Cater to the Kids

In order to encourage new families into your church you need to have an impressive children’s program in place. This starts with an on-site facility that is child friendly and safe. Remodel one of the rooms in your church or an area in the basement that is inviting for children. Organize events that will appeal to them or hold weekly youth group meetings. The children are the future of the community and investing in them now will benefit your church for years to come.

It isn't easy to pull people away from their active lives and get them to spend time in your church. You need to take the time to build relationships and show that you are invested in making a positive difference in people's lives. Once you start taking that active role, you will find that parishioners will begin to flock to you.



Small Business Solutions Using Voice Broadcasting

Just a heads that it is important as a business to follow all the FCC and your state laws regarding sending automated phone calls or texts. You need to make sure your customers have opted in to receive any kind of message from you, and never send any kind of unsolicited message. For texting you can have your customers opt-in to a list via text message, for example text COMPANY NAME to 80123 (our short code), which will opt them in to receive alerts from you. For phone calls you need expressed written consent from them agreeing to receive your messages.

In order to survive in the small business world owners have to be quick on their feet to think outside of the box. Competition is fierce and in order to retain your customer base you have to be able to offer them something that nobody else, or at least not as well. One example of this is developing an over the top customer service experience that is friendly and informative, yet non-invasive and an excellent way to do that is with a voice broadcasting service.

Every imaginable type of small business should be communicating with their clients and customers. From service based industries like hair salons and HVAC companies to retailers both online and face to face, active communication will help keep you at the forefront of their minds. Look at a few ways different small businesses can use automated calling to retain strong ties with their consumers.

Service Based Small Businesses

Voice broadcasting services such as DialMyCalls are perfect for the small business that is providing services to consumers. Hair and nail salons could send promotional information in the form of a phone call to their valued clients offering a reduced price when they keep an appointment or a special gift on their next visit.

HVAC companies and auto mechanic shops could use it at the beginning of each season to remind their customer base to schedule maintenance calls. The great thing about DialMyCalls is that with each voice message an e-mail is also sent. This serves as a second reminder to existing customers that they need to make that call.

For on-going services like home alarm system companies DialMyCalls can act as an automated payment reminder system. With the majority of consumers using online banking methods to pay bills you can do away with mailed invoices and send a monthly call reminding your clients that payment is due on the first. Your contact list can be arranged by service type, ensuring that separate services and payment amounts are sent to the right customers. This type of system is simple to set up and even easier to use.

Small Retailers

It should make no difference what you are selling, small retailers should always have a customer appreciation program in place. This starts at your check-out counter where you ask for contact information. From there you can build a customer service experience that the larger retailers cannot compete with.

Of course promotional information and sales can be mass communicated using DialMyCalls but you can take that a step further and make existing customers feel special by letting them know when new shipments of favorite items arrive. You can also use their telephone polling service to find out how your customers rate their experiences in your shop and what improvements you can instill to make it even more appealing. Consumers love to know that their opinions mean something to you. Part of your DialMyCalls service includes a detailed broadcast report which will keep track of the responses for you.

Large franchises and retailers make competition fierce for the small business owner. The best way to beat them is to offer the one thing that their large size makes impossible, personalized customer service delivered in a friendly, convenient manner via DialMyCalls' automated customer reminders.



Putting a Stop to the School Bully

Stop Bullying

Being bullied at school is a threat to a child’s mental and physical health as well as their self-esteem and ability to learn. Their sense of security is threatened as one of the few places where they are supposed to feel safe is now fraught with fear and anxiety. In order to turn this around, children who are the victims of a bully need be able to regain some control over their life.

In the last few years, school bullying has turned from stealing someone’s lunch money, to harmful physical violence. This escalation in the severity of bullying calls for drastic measures on the part of school officials, police officers and parents.

The problem that officials and parents are facing is the reluctance of children to report a bully. It is suggested that this is due to a lack of confidence that the adult will intervene on the victims behalf.  Other reasons cited for not reporting a bully included:

  • A fear of retaliation, not just by the bully, but by his or her circle of friends
  • Shame at their inability to protect themselves
  • A fear of not being believed
  • Not wanting to involve their parents
  • Lacking confidence that by reporting the bully change would take effect
  • Not wanting to be considered a snitch or a tattle tale

While an adult may see these as poor excuses, for a child who is lacking in self esteem from bullying, these are legitimate concerns.

How to Help Overcome This Fear to Report

Despite efforts of officials and parents to encourage children to report a bully, the problem still exists. One of the most effective ways that schools are finding in putting a stop to bullying behaviors is by having an anonymous reporting system in place.

This can be done in a variety of ways, either at the school or off of the premises. One such way is with a school setting up a toll free number that allows a child to report a bully or bullying incident without being detected doing it. A phone service like DialMyCalls can help a school or even entire district set up a toll-free bullying hotline.

Using a vanity number that is easy for a child to remember, they simply call and leave a message reporting the incident. They regain some control as it is entirely up to them how much information they divulge. This is a better choice for a distraught child then a perceived interrogation by adults, wanting to know every little detail of the incident.

Since most kids are now equipped with cell phones, the call can be made from anywhere inside of the school or outside. School officials can even opt for an instant SMS program that allows children to send a communication via text message. With this two-way texting, a teacher or counselor can immediately respond to the child.

Student witnesses are also reluctant to report any bullying that takes place around them. The toll free hotline and SMS text messaging program will also work towards bringing them forward and reporting incidents.

Bullying has become a widespread epidemic affecting campuses all over the country. Once believed to be a harmless rite of passage, it is now well established that being the victim of a bully will have a lasting negative effect on a child’s psyche. In light of this, school officials and parents should be implementing as many programs as possible in order to protect the children who are being hurt by bullying.

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