Expanded Roles and Permissions Increase Effective, Equitable Family Engagement


TalkingPoints is just for classroom teachers, right?


TalkingPoints can actually be used by so many other people in roles across the school building—or even the district—to communicate with families in an instant. Our Expanded Roles and Permissions allow for these other staff members to play a part in the family engagement experience with ease.

What are expanded roles and permissions?

TalkingPoints Expanded Roles and Permissions refers to the list of positions and abilities a non-classroom teacher, or non-rostered staff, can have while still utilizing the platform to communicate in an appropriate way with students and their families.

This varies depending on the type of account we’re talking about.

For example, in a free TalkingPoints for Teachers account, a staff member can sign up and choose their role from the growing list of options we provide on the platform. Many non-rostered staff members need to communicate with families of students from classes throughout the school. Other teachers in TalkingPoints can invite them to be co-teachers in select classes so they can do just that! This way, they can communicate with the families they need without having to create rosters of their own and are represented appropriately by their job title in their account.

Where the TalkingPoints Expanded Roles and Permissions feature truly shines, however, is in school and district-wide accounts. Administrators are able to select very detailed permissions based on the roles they assign each person in the account, including non-rostered staff. Then staff can group subgroups of those students within TalkingPoints flexibly to meet the specific needs they have in their role in schools. It allows for people like school counselors to have access to communicate with every family in the school without having school-wide oversight like the principal would have.

In a few words, this feature allows for effective and equitable access without compromising privacy!

Who does this include?

In understanding that a child has a full team dedicated to their success, we wanted to expand TalkingPoints to provide access to English Language Learning teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, nurses, bus drivers, coaches, psychologists, speech pathologists, and more!

“Every student has a full care team critical to student success, and we want that team to form strong, enduring relationships with families, especially as students face significant social-emotional and academic needs from the pandemic. Family engagement is equitable when all families have access to the many staff resources supporting students, and our platform now allows real-time, two-way communications directly with families in more than 110 home languages.”
Heejae Lim, Founder and CEO of TalkingPoints

Why now?

Although family engagement has long been an essential element in determining student success, the last two years have certainly proven that to be more true than ever. Not only did families become a much more active part of the learning environment overnight, but all adults in the building needed a direct line to those families.

Several school districts, including Tulsa Public Schools, Seattle Public Schools, Elk Grove Unified School District, and Pickerington Local School District in Ohio are using TalkingPoints among non-teaching staff. To date, 88,000 messages have been sent by non-teaching staff this school year.

The pandemic has revealed that all of us in schools are essential workers and, at the same time, shined a spotlight on the importance of communication between our student’s homes and our schools. Elk Grove Unified believes that learning starts at home and continues at school, and the relationships students have with the adults they encounter on their way to school, in school, and after school, all contribute to a child’s overall success.
Lisa Levasseur, Director of Family and Community Engagement at Elk Grove Unified School District


As we’ve learned and grown with you through this pandemic, this is one of the tools we’re very excited could truly help entire schools, and entire districts, prioritize equitable and effective family engagement.

9 Strategies

In response to what we’ve learned in the past 21 months of pandemic-influenced learning, we partnered with district leaders to host an edWebinar called 9 Strategies for Addressing the Unexpected Challenges of This Year Through Family-School Engagement.

Presented by Donnie Belcher Director of Communications, Minneapolis Public Schools (MN) Brooke Beiting Crisis Communications Manager, Cincinnati Public Schools (OH) and Kate Pechacek Senior Director of Partner Success, TalkingPoints

In this edWebinar, we reviewed strategies and solutions districts around the country are embracing to address the top challenges of this moment in their schools—from transportation, attendance, contact tracing, and supporting student mental health, to reaching and engaging non-English-speaking families, and more. As pivots and challenges continue to emerge, districts and schools are finding it critical to enable all school staff, including those who provide vital wraparound support, to connect with each and every family.

Viewers heard perspectives of district leaders who are addressing some of the unexpected challenges of this year head on and leave with strategies and resources they can use in their school communities.

Watch the edWebinar

Want to learn more?

TalkingPoints’ easy-to-use platform, interactive features, and precise translation in over 110 languages can provide game-changing solutions for bridging the home-school gap for teachers, school districts, and families. Learn more about our services here, and contact us at hello@talkingpts.org to learn more about how TalkingPoints can increase family engagement, improve home-school connections, enhance relationships between teachers and families, and support academic and social-emotional growth for every student. You may also feel free to request a demo.

For updates and news on what we’re up to, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Check out our blog for free resources on remote learning and family engagement and see how other teachers are using TalkingPoints to make a difference in their students’ learning.

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