Classroom Insights / Jun 22, 2023

The Five Steps To Building A School Improvement Plan Focused On Family Engagement

The Five Steps To Building A School Improvement Plan Cover Image

Are you building a School Improvement Plan (SIP)? Including parent engagement can drastically improve student achievement, and we have 5 simple steps to get you there!

But before diving in, it’s important to emphasize the significance of assessing your current practices.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses by developing targeted strategies for your family’s unique needs and preferences. There are many ways to collect this needed information, including:

  • Creating and circulating surveys
  • Hosting focus groups
  • Asking for teacher feedback
  • … and gathering existing data, and analytics 

Pro Tip: When developing a school improvement plan, remember it should be regarded as an evolving living document. It should provide a strategic view of the future, broken down into achievable aims that align with the school’s overall vision and mission.

Read on for our step-by-step guide on successfully creating and implementing your SIP this year. In addition, download our template below to create your SIP as you read!

Download Our Free School Improvement Plan Template

Read this article to learn about common School Improvement Plan goals and challenges.

TL;DR for “The Five Steps To Building A School Improvement Plan”

The five steps to follow are:

  1. Assess current family communication practices through surveys, focus groups, teacher feedback, existing data, and analytics.
  2. Set clear goals and objectives aligned with improving family communication.
  3. Develop strategies such as multi-channel communication, workshops, two-way communication, language accessibility, and partnerships.
  4. Create a detailed implementation plan with timelines and responsibilities.
  5. Evaluate and adapt communication strategies regularly, gathering feedback from families and staff.

Successful administrators implement SIPs by:

  • Using a centralized platform (like ClassTag) to streamline communication.
  • Providing information in multiple languages and formats.
  • Fostering meaningful engagement through workshops, parent academies, and family events.
  • Delegating tasks and establishing baselines and timelines for effective implementation.
  • Following requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education for SIPs.

3 Modified

Step 1: Assess Current Family Communication Practices 

Firstly, while building a SIP, assessing existing practices to build a school improvement plan focused on family communication is crucial. Analyzing the collected data will help identify strengths and weaknesses, guiding the development of effective communication strategies. 

Suppose you are looking for quick and easy ways to collect and analyze data. In that case, we suggest you use surveys, focus groups, teacher feedback, existing data on file, and analytics of your communication channels with parents.

Pro Tip: Think outside the classroom. The improvement plan may include extra activities like after-school programs and teacher mentoring programs to enhance the learning environment.


Design a comprehensive survey that covers various aspects of family communication, such as preferred communication channels, frequency of updates, satisfaction levels, and suggestions for improvement. 

You can distribute the survey through online survey platforms. Ensure that the survey is available in multiple languages to accommodate diverse families.

Pro Tip: Anonymous surveys can help you gain insights in a way you otherwise might’ve been unable to get. Consider creating an anonymous survey at least once a year to request feedback on areas for improvement.

Focus Groups

Organize small focus groups consisting of parents and caregivers to facilitate in-depth discussions. Use open-ended questions to encourage participants to share their experiences, challenges, and suggestions. 

Pro Tip: Consider hosting separate focus groups for parents of different grade levels or diverse backgrounds to gather diverse perspectives.

5 Modified

Existing Data

Analyze data such as attendance records for parent-teacher conferences or participation rates in school events. Existing data can provide insights into the current level of engagement and help identify patterns or areas for improvement.

Pro Tip: Gathering and analyzing consistent data remains the heart of the school improvement plan, even after it is set in practice.

Teacher Feedback

Gather input from teachers who regularly interact with families. They can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of current communication practices, challenges faced, and suggestions for improvement.

School Website and Social Media Analytics

Utilize analytics tools to gather data on website traffic, engagement rates, and social media interactions (if applicable). This data can indicate the popularity and effectiveness of existing communication channels and content. 

Pro Tip: Use a Parent-teacher communication platform like ClassTag. The engagement data you can find there is often a big help.

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

Collaborate with the PTA to gather feedback and insights from parents actively participating in school activities. They can provide valuable perspectives on communication practices and suggest improvements based on their experiences.

Once the data is collected, analyze it to identify common themes, strengths, and areas for improvement. This analysis will be a foundation for developing targeted strategies to enhance family communication in the school improvement plan.

The Five Steps To Building A School Improvement Plan Image Blog 02 01 Copy 3

Step 2 of the School Improvement Plan: Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Secondly, creating a comprehensive school improvement plan that enhances family communication is essential for setting clear goals, outlining strategies, and establishing accountability. 

Here’s an example of Amazing Elementary School’s Improvement Plan.

  • Goal: To improve family communication to enhance student success and engagement. 

Their goal statement could therefore be: “By the end of the academic year, Amazing Elementary will strengthen family communication to promote active involvement, collaborative partnerships, and support student learning.”

  • Objectives: The school sets specific objectives that align with the goal. These could include:
    a. Increase parent participation in school events and activities by 20%. 
  1. Improve satisfaction levels of parents regarding communication practices by 15%. 
  2. Enhance collaboration between teachers and parents to support student learning and progress.
  • Strategies: The strategies Amazing Elementary School identifies to achieve the objectives include:
    a. Implement a multi-channel communication approach
  1. Provide workshops and training
  2. Foster two-way communication
  3. Enhance language accessibility
  4. Strengthen partnerships with PTA, community organizations, and local businesses to foster partnerships that enhance family engagement.
  • Implementation Plan: Create a detailed timeline and action steps for implementing the strategies. Assign responsibilities to staff members or committees to ensure accountability and progress monitoring.

Sample Plan for Amazing Elementary’s Parent-Teacher Conferences


To create a successful and engaging parent-teacher conference that fosters effective communication and collaboration between parents and teachers to support student learning and development.


Planning Phase: Weeks 1-2

  • Organize Committees with all stakeholders, and define objectives and desired outcomes (see the box below).

The goals Amazing Elementary set: 

  1. Increase parent engagement and participation in conferences. 
  2. Enhance communication and collaboration between parents and teachers. 
  3. Improve parent understanding of their child’s academic progress and areas for growth.
  4. Gather feedback to identify strengths and areas for improvement in future conferences.

The benchmarks they chose: 

  1. Increase in conference attendance by 10% compared to the previous year. 
  2. 90% of parents report feeling well-informed about their child’s academic progress after the conference. 
  3. 80% of parents express satisfaction with the overall conference experience. 
  4. 70% of teachers report improved parent engagement and active participation during conferences.
  • Identify key topics for the conference and determine potential formats, date, times, and locations.
  • Create a family communication plan, including logistics, dates, and ways to schedule conferences.

Preparation Phase: Weeks 3-4

  • Assign committees with tasks (content development, logistics and tech, and registration/scheduling).
  • Create presentation materials, comprehensive agenda, and resources.
  • Give teachers training and materials around conferences and conference procedures; test out tech.

Conference Phase: Week 5

  • Set up and assign staff and volunteers where additional support is needed.
  • Facilitate open and constructive dialogue between stakeholders.
  • Collect feedback from stakeholders through feedback forms or surveys.

By following this detailed implementation plan, assigning responsibilities, and conducting ongoing evaluation and monitoring, you can ensure accountability, progress, and continuous improvement for the parent-teacher conference.


Develop a plan for ongoing evaluation and monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the strategies. Set benchmarks to measure progress toward the objectives and make adjustments as needed.

Evaluation Phase: Weeks 6-7

    • Analyze feedback for strengths and areas to improve.
    • Assess effectiveness– were objectives met? Compare to benchmarks set in the planning phase.
    • Share the evaluation results with the committees, admin, and relevant stakeholders.
    • Develop a plan for ongoing evaluation of parent-teacher conferences moving forward.

Pro Tip: Mapping out key objectives using the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-framed) provides a clear roadmap for progress. Identifying costs, timescales, and necessary resources is also important for achieving the targets set out in the SIP.

6 Modified

Step 3 of the School Improvement Plan: Implement Effective Communication

Next, you can use a variety of communication channels to engage families effectively. From email, newsletters, social media platforms, and parent-teacher conferences, various communication channels will allow you to reach every parent easier.

Read here for detailed tips on Reaching Every Parent, even those that don’t seem to care.

Pro Tip: Implementing a centralized platform like ClassTag can streamline communication and ensure channel consistency. 

Pro Tip: It is essential to provide information in multiple languages and formats to cater to the diverse needs of your families. Many platforms offer automatic translation, including ClassTag.

4 Modified

Step 4 of the School Improvement Plan: Foster Meaningful Engagement

Following, creating opportunities for families to participate in school activities is key to building solid partnerships. Workshops, parent academies, and family events can facilitate meaningful engagement. 

Schools should provide resources and support to empower families to stay involved in their child’s education. By nurturing a collaborative environment, schools can benefit from the collective effort of educators, families, and the wider community.

Read here for easy tips to make parents partnerships at your school and in the classroom.

7 Modified

Step 5 of the School Improvement Plan: Evaluate and Adapt Communication Strategies

Finally, regularly evaluating the effectiveness of implemented communication strategies is vital. Teacher leaders should gather feedback from families and staff through surveys or meetings to gauge their satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.

Pro Tip: In order to evaluate for effectiveness and determine areas for improvement, it is to collect and consider multiple sources of data for weak points, including: 

  • Family Surveys
  • Reach and connectivity data for your families with the school and teacher
  • Open rates of communication to families
  • Engagement data around attendance at events and meetings
  • … and communication audits/documentation for the school year 

Learn about ClassTag Connect for a solution to do all of this at once.

Amazing Elementary’s Sample Communication Strategy Adaptation

  1. Feedback Analysis: After collecting survey responses and conducting meetings, the teacher leaders analyzed the feedback and found common themes and areas for improvement. They learned some parents felt the translated materials were not easily accessible or consistently available.
  2. Revised Approach: Based on the feedback, the school took the following steps:

a. Improved Translation Services: The school explored options for enhancing translation services, such as partnering with professional translation agencies or utilizing technology-based translation tools. They ensured translated materials were readily accessible on the school’s website and other communication platforms.

b. Clear Communication Channels: The school reviewed and clarified the communication channels used to reach parents. They streamlined the process by focusing on a few key channels that were easily accessible and widely used by parents, such as email, text messages, and a centralized communication platform.

c. Enhanced Language Accessibility: Recognizing the diverse language needs of their parent community, the school improved efforts to provide translated materials in multiple languages based on the preferences indicated in the surveys. They sought assistance from bilingual staff members, volunteers, and community resources to ensure accurate translations. 

d. Ongoing Evaluation: The school is committed to regularly evaluating the revised communication strategy. They continued to gather feedback through surveys and meetings to monitor satisfaction levels, identify emerging issues, and make further adjustments.

How Successful School Leaders Implement Effective School Improvement Plans

In many cases, the responsibility for implementing school improvement plans falls solely on the principal’s shoulders. Error number two! When school leaders take on everything and micromanage, they may have overwhelming workloads and need more effective support. 

Delegate, delegate, delegate. As a principal or school leader, you can delegate tasks once you set up the framework. Just take care not to delegate immediately without setting up responsibilities, baselines, and timelines, as you will likely have fragmented results.

For further guidance, the U.S. Department of Education sets specific requirements for school improvement plans. In general, they highlight that policies implemented must address improvement and promote equitable outcomes for all students. The plan must establish benchmarks and measurements of effectiveness and should prioritize increasing parental involvement in students’ schooling. 

Pro Tip: Assign your School Leadership Team (SLT) to break down the 45-day goals into manageable one-week mini-goals. Then decide where to have a visual representation of the current status, either physically or on a virtual teacher to-do list. 

Pro Tip: Consider weekly stand-up meetings for updates and discussion time around specific actions, blockers, and outcomes from the classrooms.

The Five Steps To Building A School Improvement Plan Image Blog 02 01 Copy 5

ClassTag’s Bottom Line on School Improvement Plans

Effective family communication is a cornerstone of successful school improvement plans. To build your own, start by assessing current practices, setting clear goals, implementing effective communication channels, fostering meaningful engagement, and evaluating strategies. 

The next step is to turn your attention to effective implementation. Various communication channels, including email, newsletters, text messages, and voice calls, help you reach every parent. Schools can create a supportive environment that enhances student success by involving families as active partners in education. 

To conclude, implement a centralized platform like ClassTag that streamlines all the channel communication into one spot and ensures translation to multiple languages and formats to cater to diverse family needs.

Share this

Related Posts

Parent And Child Reading Books Together In The Library.
Reach Every Parent / Sep 05, 2023

International Literacy Day 2023 – Mak...

What books do you read to your class during the first weeks back? Share pictures of your…

by Sam 4 min read
Mental Health In Schools Image Blog
ClassTag Connect / Aug 29, 2023

Mental Health In Schools: A Guide To ...

Mental health in schools needs more attention and support. Although mental wellness is not a new concern,…

by Sam 4 min read
Why Every District Leader Image Blog
ClassTag Connect / Aug 22, 2023

Why Every District Leader Needs to Ma...

As a school leader, why should you make data integrity your priority? Even though they share a…

by Sam 3 min read
App Store

Parent Teacher Communication Made Easy With Our Free & User Friendly App

Your students deserve the ultimate tag-team. And we’re here to support amazing teachers like you. Let’s make it happen!