SchoolCircle – a great way to connect & stay organized
Now it’s easier than ever to stay connected with parents
As a teacher, I know how hard it can be to communicate effectively with parents, on top of everything else you have to do. So I was thrilled to learn about SchoolCircle, an online application that makes it SO much easier for teachers and parents to communicate.
With SchoolCircle, teachers sign up and create private “circles,” and then invite all the parents in the class to be part of the circle. Teachers can send updates, share photos, upload homework, ask for parent volunteers or supplies, and create event reminders – just about everything you’d want to share. Plus, teachers and parents can send private messages to each other easily, without having to look up addresses in a directory.
The interface is very intuitive, and even the least tech-savvy teacher or parent can figure out how to use it in minutes. And I do not have to worry about privacy or security – I see exactly who is in my circle, and I know that all the communication I send will only be visible to members of my circle.
Here are some things I love about SchoolCircle:
It’s so easy to get started
You can get your entire class started with your own private circle in under 5 minutes. Here are the steps:
- Create a free teacher account at com
- Create a private circle for your class
- Invite parents to join the circle instantly
Then you and your class will have a private online circle where you can communicate. What could be easier than that?
It’s easy to communicate with parents
Once you’re signed in, it’s incredibly easy to share all kinds of information with parents – post announcements, upload homework or other documents, share photos, and schedule events. It’s basically a one-stop-shop for everything you want to communicate with your parents. You don’t have to worry about information getting lost, or parents asking you to re-send materials – everything is at their fingertips.
As a teacher, you have a choice of whether you want parents in the class to comment on your announcements, so you are always in control. Allowing comments can be super useful when parents ask clarifying questions and everybody sees the answers – this way, you don’t have to reply to a lot of similar emails from parents.
It’s easy to communicate one-on-one
For more private communication, SchoolCircle also has a feature where you can message one-on-one with a parent, and where parents can message with each other. You don’t have to look up parents’ email addresses in a directory – just click on the parent’s name in your class roster, and start a conversation with them. You can even attach files (like progress reports or photos) to your message. The conversations you have with individual parents are only visible to you and the parent, not to other parents in the circle.
Getting volunteer signups is a snap
As a teacher, I love that SchoolCircle makes it easy for me to mobilize parents to get the help I need with volunteering and supplies. Parents get notified automatically whenever I create a new volunteer signup, and they get reminded automatically before the event, so I don’t have to worry about whether they are going to remember to show up. No more paper signups, or pleading for parent volunteers. And now that the signups are so much easier, it’s no longer just the small core group of parents doing the heavy lifting. A lot more parents volunteer at the school, and I don’t need to tell you how much the kids love seeing their parents help out in the classroom!
The right amount of communication
SchoolCircle has really put a lot of thought into how to inform parents about what’s going on, without it being too overwhelming. We’ve all experienced the pain of “reply all” emails – which makes parents start to tune out to all communications, even the ones I send. With SchoolCircle, unless I specifically request that something be delivered immediately, everything is summarized in one convenient daily digest in the evening, and one early morning reminder email about what is needed today. That way, parents don’t get bombarded by excessive emails, making them more apt to pay attention to the info that I want them to get. No matter how many kids a parent has, or how many different circles they belong to, everything is summarized in just one daily digest email.
I met the SchoolCircle team at a recent teacher conference, and I appreciated their passion for helping teachers get their students’ parents more involved at school. They are constantly improving the product and adding more features to it, while keeping the interface very simple and intuitive.
There are a lot of super cool features in SchoolCircle, and it really makes communicating with parents so much easier. Try it, you’re going to LOVE it!