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ParentSquare: A New Communications Platform

In August, we’ll be introducing ParentSquare as our new platform for communication with families. These are communications such as the twice-a-month newsletter, operations updates, and other messages that we usually send by email.

For families, this will mean more choice: in how, when, and where you receive our messages and in what languages you read them. It will also offer the convenience of a communications homepage where all our messages and resources, including forms and other documents, can be easily referred back to.

How It Will Work

We will post a message online in ParentSquare (see a screenshot here), and you can be alerted to this message by text, email, or an app notification—or a combination thereof. You can choose to be alerted each time a post is published or through a digest every evening. And you can opt to read posts in Spanish, Amharic, or any one of more than a hundred other languages.

If we send an urgent (e.g., “School is closing early because of snow”) or emergency message, all families will be notified right away by robocall and text, regardless of their ParentSquare settings.

ParentSquare offers a free app for iOS and Android, but a smartphone isn’t necessary; you can access ParentSquare through a web browser, too.

These are a few of the many ParentSquare features that we’re most excited about:

  • Forms that you can fill out, electronically sign, and submit through ParentSquare
  • A direct-messaging feature, with real-time language translation, for contacting staff members
  • The option for you to comment on our posts and for us to reply to your questions in the comments

Getting Started: In August

Getting started with ParentSquare in August will take only three steps: (1) opening an email invitation from ParentSquare and setting up an account, (2) selecting your notification preferences, and (3) choosing your language preference. Downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play is an optional fourth step. We’ll be glad to help with any of this.

If you’re already using ParentSquare with another school, you’ll be able to add Creative Minds to your existing account. You can also combine the contacts from a single household into one user account. We can help with these things, too.

PowerSchool will remain our student-information system and will securely integrate with ParentSquare so that family contact information is always up to date.

Seesaw will continue as our learning-management system, a place for student portfolios and for sharing students’ work with families. Teachers will post their newsletters, other messages, and documents like permission slips to ParentSquare.

User Support

We know that learning to use a new piece of technology can be challenging, so Jenn, our manager of marketing and communications, will be offering one-on-one support for reviewing ParentSquare features and answering questions.

What’s Next

Here’s what’s next for ParentSquare implementation:

  • In August, we’ll send another email that offers more information about setting up ParentSquare and getting support.
  • A few days later, all primary contacts for our students will receive an email invitation from ParentSquare with instructions for setting up an account.

Here’s what you can do now to get ready for ParentSquare:

  • Add “donotreply@parentsquare.com” to your email contacts or safe-sender list.
  • Watch a video that shows what it will look like when we send you an invitation and you set up an account in August. Find the video here.

New can be exciting, but it can also be a little daunting. If you have any questions for Jenn right now, please submit them through this form. She’ll be glad to get back to you with answers.

Over the last year, we reviewed several communication platforms, did a lot of research, and finally settled on ParentSquare.

We like the new choices for families and the options for us to contact families in their primary languages. And with new tools in hand, we’re anticipating a more efficient communications workflow. This means we’ll have more time and resources for focusing on equity and inclusion and making sure that all messages reach all families, including those that don’t use digital technology.

Stay tuned to your email for more information. (That’s a soon-to-be-retired sentence!) We’ll be back in touch about ParentSquare in August.

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