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4 ways school districts can provide equitable communications access

When a school district in Oregon went fully remote in 2020, it discovered a communications challenge impacting about 8,000 of students who came from primarily Spanish-speaking homes. The district’s IT department lacked enough bilingual personnel to keep up with inbound questions and concerns about devices, so the district recruited bus drivers and other staff to help. 

This was a creative solution to help meet the needs of students and families in the moment. But many school districts across the country continue to face challenges due to limited resources and staffing shortages. 

At K12 Insight, we help school districts across the country break down language and technology barriers to open the lines of communication and create equitable access to services and resources.

As you’re exploring ways to reduce barriers and increase access to services in your district, here are four ways you can create an equitable customer experience in your school district: 

Communicate through more than one channel

Not every family uses the same channels for communication. For example, while email may work for some families, other families may only have access to texting or may have language barriers that prevent them from getting information.  

Meet your families where they are by offering shared information through the channels they use. This could be via website, text messaging, or a chatbot, or a combination of all three.

Once you identify the channels your families use for communications, Let’s Talk! makes it easy to capture communications across multiple channels in one location — allowing families to communicate with your district 24-7 from any device using texting, a mobile-responsive web form, or a chatbot.

Reduce language barriers through translation 

Language fluency can make it challenging for staff to connect with families who prefer instant communication channels. You can foster inclusivity in your district by providing communications access in the languages your families prefer to use. 

Let’s Talk! helps school districts be more inclusive by providing translation tools within Let’s Talk! forms and the chatbot in a variety of languages — including Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and more.

See how Providence Public Schools District uses Let’s Talk! to support multilingual learners and their families

Analyze data for an inside look into your community’s experiences

Going beyond anecdotes can help you understand the experiences and challenges faced by the families in your district in order to address systemic inequities, build trust, and improve the customer experience.

Let’s Talk!’s real-time dashboard and data analytics engine gives district leaders insights into the perceptions and experiences of the many diverse communities within their districts. 

Data from the dashboard can be used to inform decisions, engage with school board members, and invest in resources to confidently address persistent inequities experienced by students and families in their districts.

Using surveys to drive continuous school district improvement

Provide 24/7 customer service

Customer service doesn’t end when the school bell rings. Families often have questions after school hours. Let’s Talk! Assistant and Let’s Talk! Knowledge Base help districts provide answers to commonly asked questions around the clock. 

Let’s Talk! Assistant and its Spanish language capabilities provide families with fast, efficient, and equitable access to important information, whether school is open or closed. The bilingual chatbot and translation tools offered by Let’s Talk! make it possible for every family to receive the same high-level service, regardless of language barriers.

Let’s Talk! Knowledge Base makes it easy for districts to create and share articles that help support staff through access to standard, consistent information and ticket deflection. 

Improve equity in your school district. Request a demo of Let’s Talk! today.

About the Author

Emily Weinberger
Emily Weinberger is a Client Success Manager at K12 Insight. She previously served as a curriculum content writer and special education teacher. Emily earned her master's degree in special education from James Madison University.

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