March 9, 2023

3 Formats for Asynchronous and Virtual Family Engagement

Part of our series on Family Networking Opportunities

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As we round out our family networking series, remember that a thoughtful event is just the beginning. Consider the foundation you’ve put in place for families to keep connecting between community events. The past few years have shown us that we can be creative when it comes to asynchronous and virtual family engagement. This type of approach helps keep your efforts inclusive of those whose schedules and other commitments make attending in-person events challenging.  Even if you focus on in-person activities this school year, consider implementing one of the following ideas.   

Community Boards  

Community boards help families connect to the community in a fun and relatable way. Instead of a traditional bulletin board, consider going the virtual route. There are many great apps like Padlet or Mural, or you can set something up on your own school website. Each month, set a schoolwide challenge that families can do at home and submit for display. There are many ways to be creative. Invite families to: 

  • Share photos of their favorite places to visit 
  • Post their favorite jokes for April Fools’ Day 
  • Share a favorite recipe (maybe even create a cookbook!)  

Virtual Speed Mixers 

In keeping with the spirit of Community board challenges, host a “speed mixer” event for families. Call it your Quick Connection Hour and ask families to attend a virtual platform where they’ll be put into breakout rooms every 5-10 minutes to meet a new family and share a recipe, book, family board game, or other challenge of the month.   

Community Directory 

It’s important to think about how your families do or do not have access to each other’s contact information when it’s time to connect. Create a community directory, asking families to share whatever information they’re comfortable with in one central place. Ask for consent before sharing information, then enlist the Parent-Teacher Organization to create a set of communication guidelines for families to agree to before submitting their information. Encourage families to connect outside of school to set up carpools, babysitting co-ops, or socialize on the weekend.  

Healthier Generation Is Here to Help 
As you think through ways for families to connect, explore our other family networking activities:  

Stay inspired by new ideas and learn from our catalogue of success stories, tips, and evidenced-based trainings for school staff from Kohl’s Healthy at Home

- By Alexis Lassus, National Advisor, Whole Child Health and Kohleun Adamson, Manager, Culturally Responsive Communications