I recently heard of a new resource for parent communication. It is an app you download to your iphone (Droid version is coming soon, I think) or you can access it from your computer. The app is called Remind101. It allows a teacher to send a text message or email to a parent that has signed up for the notification without giving out the teacher's personal information. The app Remind101 is a free app in the iTunes store. But even if you don't have an iPhone, you can still access this resource from the web. I recently went to the website from my computer - Remind101 - and set up my account. It allows you to have multiple classes within the site in case you wanted to send out different reminders to different classes. The site generates a pdf file you can give your students or parents with directions to sign up for the reminders. The student/parent sends a text message to a number generated by Remind101 with a uniquely coded message. This attaches the student/parent to your class. If they don't want a text message but an email, the student/parent can send an email to a uniquely coded email address that will link them to your class as well.
This will be great to remind students and parents about homework and tests. The communication is only one way though - from teacher to parent or student. If a parent needs direct communication with the teacher, they would have to contact the teacher themselves. Likewise, if a teacher needed to contact a parent about an individual child they would NOT want to communicate this way. Every person signed up for your class will get the email or text.
Currently, the application is free and is in beta right now. The website states they intend to keep it free for teachers. There is a Remind101 FAQ at the bottom of the webpage you can read through before signing up your class.
Parent communication is always an area I can improve upon. I'm looking forward to utilizing this resource and making communication so much more efficient.