While scrolling through my class rosters two years ago at the start of the year, I noticed that some of my students did not have family contact emails. I did not give it much thought at the time—perhaps parents didn’t want to give out their email and wanted to rely on phone for school communications.

A critical realization, though, came when I used our district’s gradebook system to send messages home about projects and classroom activities. As I prepared to send out an email about an upcoming project, it struck me again that not all parents would be reached. At that point, I went back and took a closer look at which households did not leave email contacts, and it soon became obvious that many of these were my Latino students.

At my district, Beaverton Schools outside Portland, Ore., we teach over 40,000 students, and 24 percent are Latino/a. Even when combined with collection efforts at Back-to-School Night, many of my guardian contacts could not be notified through our email. Some parents and guardians had never created an email address, while others had created one briefly but rarely used it and didn’t put it down in their contact information.

I have always maintained that involving parents in the educational process is essential to building a strong classroom culture. However, our school’s digital culture and my own lack of awareness meant that a significant number of families were being frozen out of critical and empowering information. This was a problem of practice that needed to change.

Read the full article about empowering Latino parents through technology by Matt Hiefield at EdSurge.