Page 30 - THE Journal, March/April 2019
P. 30

CTO Kyle Berger explains how social media can affect a student’s college and career prospects in a recent Parent Technology Academy session in his district.
to address them directly.
5. Cater to the languages your parents speak. Although 59
different languages are spoken in the district, Berger has tried various approaches for bringing in at least the top two — English and Spanish. At first, the Spanish speakers were segmented into a part of the room where they could listen to an interpreter. When that didn’t work as well (“I don’t follow my script,” he acknowledged), he would finish the English session then sit down with the Spanish speakers to answer their questions, using the interpreter as an intermediary. “That tended to work pretty well,” he said. “Then we’d provide the material in English and Spanish too in a follow-up communication.” Now he’s considering doing a recording of the session that’s delivered in Spanish and making himself available for follow-up questions after the parents have viewed the presentation.
6. Experiment with formats. This year, Berger ran two virtual sessions, both around lunch time, and at least one of which was attended by some 150 parents. Since a virtual school in the district uses Adobe Connect, that’s what he’s using too. He’s not going to
rush into the use of online presentations, he added, “because I really wanted to do the face-to-face type of meetings and communications to help build that relationship first, before I become ‘just some talking head.’”
7. Remember, you don’t have to know it all. There have been several occasions where Berger was asked questions that he didn’t have answers to. “I’ll be upfront \[and say\], ‘You know what? I don’t know. I’m battling that too.’” That honesty helps the parents understand “that there is no silver bullet,” he said. “We don’t have all the answers. We’re human too. But I’m trying to keep that conversation going. Maybe we can all sort through it together and find out better ways to help our kids.”
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media’s education publications, THE Journal, STEAM Uni- verse and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@ or on Twitter @schaffhauser.
Photo: Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District

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