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ParentSquare's success is contingent upon active teacher and administrator involvement: cultivating useful communication with parents, adding events to the integrated school calendar, and sharing photos and files of student and school activities with parents. Teachers can also engage parents through interactive polls and allow them to RSVP for events or sign up to bring things to the classroom. Parents can participate in fundraisers, fill out forms (beta), and pay fees for supplies, field trips, and more using the secure Payments feature. Both parents and school personnel can benefit from increased paperless communication, saying good-bye to the days of forms and paperwork crumpled and buried at the bottom of students' backpacks.
Administrators will get a good deal of information from the site by using the administrator usage dashboard, where they can view how many users they have, see how many users are engaging on the site, and analyze the reach of emails, text messages, and the app. Administrators can measure efficacy by looking at the percentage of emails that are read, how many text messages are received, and how many app users are notified. This information can be used to better mold communications throughout the year to boost parent involvement.Continue reading Show less
ParentSquare is a one-stop shop for school happenings, improving communication, organization, and engagement between home and the school community. There's no shortage of communication options -- from event notifications to photo and file downloads to fee payments and more. School administrators and teachers can post polls and use two-way messaging via the web, email, and text messages. Smart Alert users (at an additional cost) can send voice messages to parents, communicate urgent alerts, and have messages automatically translated. The administrator dashboard provides data on parent engagement and allows school personnel to ask for items, request volunteers, get RSVPs, or even fundraise.
Events are integrated into the school calendar, making it easy to view school happenings at a glance. Parents can even download photos from the site and post comments, if enabled; also, if schools choose, they can allow parents to upload photos into albums for others to view. Schools can choose to provide a directory of staff and families, allowing parents to direct-message educators and administrators through the site. iOS and Android apps make ParentSquare mobile, and schools can enable other add-ons, including fund drives, archives, a registration app, volunteer hours, and an alumni database.
ParentSquare boasts many useful tools for fostering consistent, streamlined communication. The site prioritizes social interaction and community, encouraging parents and school personnel to connect with one another to foster partnerships and collaborative initiatives. It also gives administrators valuable data about how parents are engaging with the content, so they can better achieve outreach and foster more productive, active school communities. The rich feature set offers a much-needed transformation away from traditional newsletters and inconsistent paper-based or even digital communication methods, providing more opportunities for engagement than pure messaging apps. Administrators should be vigilant about monitoring messages and communicate clear guidelines to avoid the likelihood of negative or excessive parent interaction. Teachers will want to encourage parents to set only the notifications they want to receive in order to avoid over-communication, which can lead to disengagement.
Because it lacks student voice and input, however, there's still room for ParentSquare to grow. Students need to learn skills that will foster a sense of responsibility, even from a young age. Building in a gradebook or an assignment system, or even a space where students could have a role in transmitting needed class information to their parents would be a welcome addition; this could bring students into the conversation and help foster student accountability while providing flexible, regular communication between schools, parents, and students.