Timing

What’s ample time to you isn’t ample time to me. Plan your events early enough & notify parents. Parents want to participate.

Photo of Worokya Duncan
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Photo of Worokya Duncan
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Hi Nancie. I think the application of design thinking requires cultural and economic nuance. Your post highlights the use of apps to coordinate schedules, when analog participation can be as simple as being around when breakfast is being served in a cafeteria. Parents can send notes to teachers asking if they can read to an elementary class, make copies for a middle or high school class, or bring snacks to a community wide event. Perhaps some parents think they’re not participating, when they actually are, because their input is offline and free/less-expensive than what we often now deem as participation.

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Team

It's true, parents do want to participate ...but how can we apply design thinking to solve this conundrum?
I frequently advocate for more interdepartmental communication around calendaring and also external communication to address the reality of simply not being able to be in multiple places at once (without judgement -- we do not actually have that superpower and yet do our very best to get to as many events as possible). As a parent, it is a top source of stress to try to figure out how to attend (or at least transport children to) academic, performing arts, athletics, and club activities/competitions/events at two different schools every week and often on weekends. Right now, I receive text reminders through two different apps (Remind and SchoolDeets), two event summary emails from two schools per week, and there are online calendars at both school websites which are updated only to varying degrees. Critical deadlines for things like exam signups and schedules get lost in the shuffle (AP/SAT/ACT, etc). None of the communications merge electronically with my online calendar and the only way to track everything is by manually entering each activity. Technology, in this case, does nothing to make it easier and only serves to hurl more information at me than I can process by hand. There is definitely a strong need for problem solving around this issue.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Yes! It baffles me when schools wait to the last minute to communicate events etc. (especially those that have been on the internal school calendar for MONTHS). People need time to plan, make switches, work out their life so that they can participate as part of a school community.

Photo of Worokya Duncan
Team

Exactly! What I've also noticed is the difference in the conversations/narratives/beliefs about parent participation in public schools vs. parochial or independent schools. There seems to be a lack of recognition of all the nuances of parents' lives in public schools, while there seems to be a customer-service oriented approach in independent schools. Parents care. There are many, however, who unable to participate in the way schools are designed at the moment. My dream is to create something different.