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December 5, 2014

SchoolCircle – Improve Parent/Teacher Communications

ss-schoolcircle
Teachers often struggle to make sure their students deliver important messages to their parents — things like notices about class activities, field trip announcements, and upcoming assignments. SchoolCircle is a web-based platform that helps to ensure those messages are received, providing parents and teachers with a way to communicate digitally without the need for lengthy email threads or notes tossed in their children’s backpacks.

As a parent/teacher communication tool, SchoolCircle provides educators with a way to know which parents have read the notifications they sent out. Teachers create “circles” for each of their classes, and can they share messages, pictures, and other types of files within those circles. When a file is shared, everyone who is a member of the circle receives a reminder notification with a link to the notice to view inside SchoolCircle’s online platform. Parents can do things like sign up to volunteer for classroom activities or add upcoming events to their personal calendars without relying on their children to deliver the messages in a timely fashion.

SchoolCircle cuts down on the administrative work that teachers deal with on a daily basis, and it makes it easier to collect things like field trip authorization slips from parents. SchoolCircle also allows parents to control the volume of communication they receive from teachers, and offers features that parents can use to coordinate things like play dates with other parents, as well.

Practical Uses:

  • Send out field trip authorization forms to parents
  • Connect with other members of your child’s school community
  • Let parents know when a substitute will be teaching an upcoming class
  • Coordinate play dates with other parents

Insider Tips:

  • Create new “events” through SchoolCircle
  • Share photos with all the parents in a classroom
  • Set up permissions to limit the amount of content received through SchoolCircle
  • Accept invitations sent by other parents through the platform

What we liked:

  • Teachers can see which parents have read the notices they sent out
  • Parents don’t have to worry that notes from their kids’ teachers are getting lost
  • SchoolCircle provides an easy way for parents to communicate with each other
  • Teachers can create multiple circles for all the classes they teach

What we didn’t like:

  • SchoolCircle doesn’t offer an iPhone or Android app

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: August 2014
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Founded by: Elena Krasnoperova
  • Web site: http://www.schoolcircle.com

Costs:

  • Free for teachers and parents