Brooklyn schools select online communications platform

eChalk, provider of school communication and instruction management software, has announced that the company’s software is implemented in more than 100 Brooklyn schools.

Among the schools that use eChalk are the Dr. Rose B. English School PS/IS 327 and The Weeksville School PS 243.

While the schools have web pages through the New York City Department of Education to communicate official information, school leaders wanted to provide an online destination for daily use by students, parents and teachers. The information that schools provide includes calendars, events, grades, homework, instructional resources, and class discussions.

Dr. Stephen Appea, principal of The Dr. Rose B. English School, explains: “One of the main reasons we use eChalk is for communicating with parents. School communication with parents has always been important, and it is currently a major theme by Chancellor Walcott. Before using eChalk, we did not have an easy ‘back office’ way to coordinate and update all the individual teacher pages in a uniform way without having a full-time website manager. When it comes to communicating with parents and staff, and maintaining a web presence, eChalk is superior.”

The school has used eChalk to create online class communities, to enable collaboration among administrators, teachers and staff, and to deploy tools such as “Family Blast” emails and The Principal’s Blog in actively reaching out to parents. eChalk has helped the school increase positive responses from parents and teachers across the board. The school’s Learning Environment Survey showed a 64 percent parent response rate, an increase of 26 percent over last year and well above the city average. Parents responded more favorably to all four areas of the survey (academic expectations, communication, engagement, safety / respect) than last year, and 90 percent felt satisfied, or very satisfied, with how the school communicated with them.

The Weeksville School experienced similar results. Its Learning Environment Survey indicates that a majority of parents feel engaged in an active partnership with the school to promote student learning.

“We were looking for ways to share our Quality Review, School Survey, and Progress Report with parents. eChalk gave us a way to display the school data in a parent-friendly format that was easy to understand and use,” said Karen Hambright-Glover, principal of The Weeksville School. Since then, the school has used eChalk to further enhance its school-home connection, host a collaborative online learning environment, and support its local Parent-Teacher Association.