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National Heritage Academies’ Secret Ingredient to Successful Parental Partnerships

Haley Brink  |  August 28, 2020

Parental partnership is one of the four pillars National Heritage Academies (NHA) is built on, along with academic excellence, Moral Focus, and student responsibility. A successful learning experience would not be possible without the partnership and dedication of our students’ parents, and there’s a team at NHA dedicated to ensuring parents feel supported and find answers to any questions they might have. This team is called “Parent Relations.”

Parent relations specialists assist parents with a plethora of needs each and every day, and they’re essential to ensuring our parents have somewhere they can go to find answers. NHA strongly believes that open communication between school and home improves the quality of the educational experience. Judy Wilder became a parent relations specialist at NHA two weeks before the order to work from home came through, and she’s learned a lot since then.

Prior to her current role, she was a parent relations associate for 13 years at NHA. In that role, she assisted other specialists and worked in the call center. Now, in her new role, she collaborates with deans, principals, and directors of school quality to ensure parent needs are met.

She functions as the parent relations specialist for 15 NHA schools. “My role is to maintain communication flow with parents and serve as a liaison between parents and school leaders,” said Wilder. “My team makes sure that parents have access to the Parent Poral, answers general questions on school web chats, emails, and phone calls, assists with the enrollment process of new schools, and so much more.”

Wilder came into her new role at a unique time during the pandemic, and her role has shifted to meet the varying and ever-changing needs of school communities. Now, her team has jumped right in to support NHA students and schools by listening to parent concerns and making sure that they have the tools they need for remote learning. “It’s rewarding to know that I can be that extra support to parents by listening to their concerns or by giving them the tools that they need to stay connected in their child’s learning journey,” said Wilder.

NHA recently started offering a Chromebook to each student, and Parent Relations has been a helpful resource for families during this time. “Our team has currently taken on the challenge of being a source of tech support to parents and caregivers getting their students logged into Chromebooks and Google Classrooms, as well as helping them navigate how to find and enter assignments,” said Wilder.

Her favorite part of her job is getting to work with an amazing, hard-working team with supportive managers. When reflecting on the impact she has on the lives of NHA students, she mentioned that her team bridges the communication gap between school leaders and parents, and they work to make sure needs are met so each student receives the best quality education that they deserve in a safe environment.

Wilder knows firsthand how important a quality education is, as she proudly sent her own three children to Walker Charter Academy. She now also has a second-grade granddaughter attending Walker. And, before coming to the NHA Service Center, Wilder even helped out with the Walker lunch program.

Keep up the great work, Judy!