Principal - November/December 2019 - 26

Engagement Across
the

Generations
With at least four age groups
represented in schools, communications
must reach parents in every medium
to be effective
By Dillon Kalkhurst

S

chools are facing real challenges in the way
they communicate with today's younger, busier, and more tech-savvy parents. A 2016 Gallup
study of superintendents found that less than 6
percent feel they have a strong understanding of
how to engage millennial staffers and parents, but
the generational divide doesn't end there.
For the first time in history, there are five generations active in the U.S. economy. In 1910, the
average life expectancy was under 50 years of
age. There were young people and older adults,
but at work and school, communication was generally more straightforward between adjacent
generations. Today, we live well into our 70s, on
average, and we work for 50 years or more, creating "age diversity" issues.
Most of today's K-5 schools have parents and
caretakers from at least four generations. The
majority are millennials (born 1981-1996) and
Generation X (born 1965-1980). There is a
small but growing percentage of Gen Z parents
now entering the workforce (born 1997-2012).
And many principals are welcoming baby
boomer grandparents to school as students' primary caretakers due to life circumstances.

26

Principal n November/December 2019

Changes in Communication

Circumstances have changed a lot since the
1990s. When my son-now 22 and studying
to become a high school special education
teacher-was in elementary school, we checked
his backpack every Tuesday for a folder of important things parents needed to know. Today, if you
want to boost engagement and communicate
effectively with parents, this type of one-size-fitsall communication strategy no longer works. You
have to use multiple tools to engage.
Communication starts on Day One by asking
parents how they prefer to receive information.
You'll be surprised by the variety of responses.
As a general rule, boomers prefer phone calls
and face-to-face conversations. Gen X parents
were the first generation to hear AOL's "You've
Got Mail" and are now masters at managing vast
amounts of email; they also like to text and visit
school websites.
Older millennials-now in their late 30s-are
the heaviest users of Facebook, so providing
"sharable" moments from family engagement
activities works to promote a positive school
culture and attract more families. Younger
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Principal - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - November/December 2019

from the editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Intertwined for Achievement
Planting the SEAD
Making PLCs a Plus
Measuring Up
Look Out for the Leader
Engagement Across the Generations
The Sum of Its Parts
Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Raising the Bar
Principal’s Bookshelf
School Law
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 1
Principal - November/December 2019 - 2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 3
Principal - November/December 2019 - from the editor
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5
Principal - November/December 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - November/December 2019 - 7
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - November/December 2019 - 9
Principal - November/December 2019 - Intertwined for Achievement
Principal - November/December 2019 - 11
Principal - November/December 2019 - 12
Principal - November/December 2019 - 13
Principal - November/December 2019 - 14
Principal - November/December 2019 - Planting the SEAD
Principal - November/December 2019 - Making PLCs a Plus
Principal - November/December 2019 - 17
Principal - November/December 2019 - 18
Principal - November/December 2019 - 19
Principal - November/December 2019 - Measuring Up
Principal - November/December 2019 - 21
Principal - November/December 2019 - 22
Principal - November/December 2019 - 23
Principal - November/December 2019 - Look Out for the Leader
Principal - November/December 2019 - 25
Principal - November/December 2019 - Engagement Across the Generations
Principal - November/December 2019 - 27
Principal - November/December 2019 - The Sum of Its Parts
Principal - November/December 2019 - 29
Principal - November/December 2019 - 30
Principal - November/December 2019 - 31
Principal - November/December 2019 - Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
Principal - November/December 2019 - 33
Principal - November/December 2019 - 34
Principal - November/December 2019 - 35
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
Principal - November/December 2019 - 37
Principal - November/December 2019 - 38
Principal - November/December 2019 - 39
Principal - November/December 2019 - 40
Principal - November/December 2019 - 41
Principal - November/December 2019 - 42
Principal - November/December 2019 - 43
Principal - November/December 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - November/December 2019 - 45
Principal - November/December 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - November/December 2019 - 47
Principal - November/December 2019 - 48
Principal - November/December 2019 - 49
Principal - November/December 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - November/December 2019 - 51
Principal - November/December 2019 - Principal’s Bookshelf
Principal - November/December 2019 - 53
Principal - November/December 2019 - School Law
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - November/December 2019 - 56
Principal - November/December 2019 - 57
Principal - November/December 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - November/December 2019 - 59
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - 61
Principal - November/December 2019 - 62
Principal - November/December 2019 - 63
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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