In collaboration with Pikmykid
As educators prepare to head back into their classrooms, there are many areas that we need to focus on. Most important, is getting to know our students and their families. Building supportive relationships that help families and students feel comfortable and safe in our schools is essential. Being able to connect with the members of the school community in a timely and consistent manner is important. At the start of the school year, there needs to be a greater focus on procedures and communicating this information to families in a reliable and streamlined way.
Procedures regarding student transportation, sharing information about changes in the school schedule, and knowing how to communicate efficiently when there is an emergency or time-sensitive event. With the right platform, parents, teachers, administrators, the school community, and even students will feel more comfortable and secure in our schools. The procedures and tools that are in place will provide a safe, secure, and supportive connection between home and school as students are placed in our care during the school day.
School schedules and important information
There are always adjustments that teachers and families face at the start of every school year. One of the biggest is with transportation and in particular, school dismissals. Figuring out when and where to drop off and pick up students, how the timing works, and if there will be any delays can be a challenge. Depending on the school community and the surrounding area, with many cars and buses, it can be dangerous for students. Whether students are walking to specific pickup spots or waiting close to the streets for rides to or from school, making sure they are safe is key but can be tough to manage. However, with an option like Pikmykid, families and the school staff are able to keep track of when students arrive and when they need to be dismissed. Pikmykid also offers different ways to provide information to parents.
In my school district and other similar small school systems, many students may walk home from school while others are waiting for a ride or for the bus. Some students may stay after school to participate in activities or work with teachers. Without anything in place, it is hard to know where students are and when and if they have left school and safely returned how. Knowing where students are and when they have been safely picked up and returned home, is critical. Having school dismissal software enables teachers and families to work together to make sure that students are arriving and leaving school safely. More than that, it provides a way for schools to share information in addition to totally streamlining the process of school dismissal.
The challenge of dismissals
Rather than sending students to school with a note and papers getting lost in the shuffle, parents are quickly able to share plans for transportation using the school dismissal software. They can schedule the pickup and make quick updates using their app rather than sending an email, writing a note or calling the school. Using the app eliminates the extra time and other steps or applications that might be used instead. It also fosters real-time communication, making it more efficient and secure. Teachers know where the parents are and when the students have been safely connected with them.
- The use of one comprehensive platform saves time because you know exactly when parents are arriving and students have been picked up.
- It provides more opportunities for teachers to work with students and have more instructional time available.
- It can be managed from within one space, where real-time communication can happen and changes can be made quickly without losing time by calling the office.
- It helps in the event of any type of emergency situation. Being able to send a message directly to parents without needing to make a phone call, or call the office, makes a difference.
- School staff and administrators are in better able to keep records of notifications, dismissals, parental communication, and student information including absences.
- With features like a silent alarm, teachers can alert first responders without the use of loud alarms or causing extra panic in an emergency situation.
The Pikmykid platform enables multi-channel communication which means messages can be sent through email, text, or voice message. Families can choose based on their preferences. As students leave, their information is reported directly into the dashboard and is available within the parent app. Pikmykid is browser-based which means you don’t need to have any specific software installed or any other types of devices made available.
Think about times during the school year when students have needed to be dismissed from your class or any class. Loud announcements are made that interrupt classes, phone calls coming in, or emails that may be missed. All of these impact instructional time, cause unnecessary delay, and can definitely lead to concern. For parents, waiting for their children at the end of the school day, or not knowing that students may be delayed in leaving class, for example, can cause worry. Having a tool that meets the specific needs and interests of all members of the school community makes a difference. Especially today when we know that our school days may be impacted by events happening in the world or just within our own schools, we need to rely on effective tools. Parent and family engagement increases with the use of a platform like Pikmykid because they are connected with what is happening in the school and informed in the event of emergencies. As we see different needs in our schools when it comes to information and connecting with families, having reliable communication tools that enable us to be flexible in what we provide is key.
Building relationships and having a consistent, unified, real-time way to communicate with families is essential for our schools. While some schools may choose to use a variety of tools to help with arrival and dismissal, tracking student absences, sending information, or notifying about emergencies, everything is made available within the Pikmykid platform.
About the Author
Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, and Speaker. Rachelle is the author of seven books about education and edtech and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915.
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