By GreatSchools Staff
School flyers buried under a squashed peach in your kid's backpack. Phone calls to the classroom that ring but are never answered. Keeping the lines of communication open between parents and schools has never been easy, and as new tools proliferate, it's sometimes even more difficult to know where to go for the latest news. The newsletter? The school website? The curbside in the rain at pickup time?
Hoping to avoid the common frustrations that have long plagued efforts to keep parents informed, school staff throughout the country are turning to new technology to improve parent-school communication.
For instance, School Loop offers a service that lets schools incorporate social-networking-style features into their websites, including a system that lets parents and teachers email each other and multilingual voicemail that can leave translated messages for parents who don't speak English. School Loop has plenty of proponents, but since it costs money, some schools may be less inclined to buy into it in these cash-strapped times.
Some schools have forged ahead and created their own solutions. Albany High in Albany, Calif., recently launched a new "iPhone-ready" website (to replace an older version hosted by School Loop) that includes a prominent link asking visitors to "follow us on Twitter."
Indeed, the popular social network, with its 140-character instant messages, may play a prominent role in solving the problem of parent-school communication. Since launching in 2006, Twitter has rapidly attracted a more mainstream audience. As of August 2010, it had registered 96 million unique visitors, surpassing MySpace in popularity to become the second-most-visited social-media site after Facebook.
Given its newness, many schools have only recently started using Twitter and are still experimenting with the service. For example, Albany High's Twitter posts will be used primarily (at least at first) for a highly practical end: to break news about school emergencies. Several schools, as well as large public school districts in cities such New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., have already leaped into the Twitter fray, disseminating real-time updates about school life.
Danny Silva, the technology coordinator at Le Grand High School near Merced, Calif., uses two separate Twitter feeds to promote the school's events calendar and its daily cafeteria menus. Parents can access the updates on the school's website or on Twitter itself. An early adopter, Le Grand High has been using the service for a few years, and Silva says the updates have been so successful that he has begun giving presentations about the school's use of Twitter to school leaders nationwide.
"Parents have found that it's easy, and so have the students," says Silva. Though the benefits of using Twitter may be that it's fast, instant, and easy to adapt to schools' needs, Silva notes its real advantage in these days of dwindling budgets: "It's completely free."
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.