ParentSquare is a digital communications platform that is designed for education institutions and parents or guardians. The idea is to keep family contact clear and simple with direct lines of open dialogue.
This can make it easier to involve parents in the journey of their child at the school by staying informed of everything they need to know. That should make it simpler for both parents and teachers to communicate without wasting a lot of time.
At point of publishing, this system is used by a massive 23,000 schools across the U.S. Lots of glowing reviews on the company's website sing its praises on how easy it makes the lives of teachers.
This guide aims to offer up everything you need to know about getting started with ParentSquare to see if it's the right fit for your school.
What is ParentSquare?
ParentSquare is a digital communication platform designed to make the exchange of information between educators and parents or guardians as easy and as clear as possible.
ParentSquare works across devices so it can be easily accessed in school, to share information, as well as from personal devices by guardians and parents of students.
Crucially, this is all about streamlining the communication between families and school staff so as to save everyone time, while keeping everyone well-informed. Thanks to a selection of communication tools it can help to keep everyone on the same page more easily. An integrated school calendar, for example, simplifies the process of seeing what's coming up for all those concerned.
How does ParentSquare work?
ParentSquare requires the school to sign up for a package in order to get the system setup ready to start communicating. This works with a Student Information System (SIS) so it can integrate with the current school platform with relative ease.
ParentSquare is purpose-built specifically for preK-12 on a school- and district-wide basis. It is designed for users in the U.S., only and can serve single schools with 400+ pupils as well as larger districts with 100,000 or more pupils.
Once setup, this system allows school staff to plan events, send notifications and mass email, organize fee payments, setup sign-ups, track volunteer hours, and plenty more.
Since this can be used by teachers and admins alike, it can help to streamline the process inside the school as well communicate those outcomes to families. A dedicated admin dashboard can be used to help direct communications to the right party for maximum efficiency.
For example, the admins can get RSVPs or completed waiver forms, without the teachers needing to deal with any of that. And on the flip side, teachers can have direct parent contact without needing admin time if it's not necessary.
What are the best ParentSquare features?
ParentSquare offers a multi-channel communications platform that is very effective, and since it relies on school-wide adoption, it can be useful inside as well as outside the school.
This platform also provides some great ways to communicate, including mass communications via email, SMS, voice, and app, as well as across social media and with the ability to share documents securely.
Automation is helpful with attendance notifications and personalized auto notices, such as lunch balances, for example. The ability to post polls, health screenings, event planning, and two-way messages, all make for a wide range of possible uses for this communications tool.
In the premium version you can even send smart alerts to parents and guardians, which means voice messages or urgent alerts. It will also automatically translate so it will arrive in the parent's or guardian's native language on their device.
It's worth noting again that events integrate with the school calendar, making it very easy to use and share as needed. The ability to create a shared directory can allow guardians to message staff directly, if activated. They can also upload and share photos if that feature is activated.
Usefully, there is rich data available to admins that shows how users are interacting with the platform -- helping them see what works to engage parents and what doesn't.
How much does ParentSquare cost?
ParentSquare is charged on a fee system that takes into account the number of users. It works on a quote basis, so it will be specifically tailored to suit the scale of the institution's needs.
Pricing starts at $3,600 per year for up to 600 students enrolled, for example. Bundles can be customized to add or remove tools which may or may not serve the school's needs.
Whatever option you go for, usage is not capped, so there is unlimited communications.
ParentSquare is an allowable use of stimulus funds as outlined in the American Rescue Plan.
ParentSquare best tips and tricks
Save time on communicating events by adding these to the calendar and relying on parents to see on their own devices.
Share images of progress from school with parents and encourage them to do the same with projects, events, and more that kids do outside of school.
Contact guardians directly to open lines of communication so they know you are there too, should they need to contact you.