School communication with families- an easier way?

There seriously HAS to be a better way.

I cannot be the only parent on the planet who lives in a constant state of “what in the world am I forgetting today” throughout the school year.  There is SO MUCH PAPER that comes home from school daily.  And, after I’m done triaging the small forest of trees that appears rumpled at the bottom of a backpack (or 3), I sit down at my computer.  To put all of the important dates I need to remember on my calendar.  Then, I check my email.  And, what do you know? Even more “stuff” from school. I have emails- from various teachers- a newsletter here, a note about an upcoming project there, and a note about a classroom that would be grateful for more pencils and kleenex.  I don’t receive email from all of the teachers, but definitely the ones who are uber good and diligent about communicating with parents.  And, if the forest in the backpacks and the emails from teachers and/or coaches wasn’t enough (because I’m already drowning in school communication), there is even an eFlyer or two.  Something the school wanted to alert the parents about- sign ups for a team or a clinic.  Yet another form of media to manage for information that I don’t want to slip through the cracks.

And, my favorite?  The 6 email reminders I have from my school district to please follow them on Facebook.  Are you kidding me? No!  I am NOT following you on Facebook, school district!  Another spot to check for information?  My youngest isn’t old enough to be on Facebook and I won’t allow my other 2 to have Facebook accounts, so unless the Facebook is a spot where the whole family can be included, I’m not adding my kids’ schools into my social network.

I don’t have a personal assistant to manage all of this and record everything appropriately on my calendar.  Oh – and not just my calendar.  My ex-husband’s as well, because he also needs to be aware of all of these ‘events’ and due dates.

And, how about this scenario?  If you have a child on a sport team or in an after school club,  you’re going to jump up and want to ‘high five’ me:)  Are you ready for this?  Sitting down? With a glass of wine? Yep- practice or meeting gets canceled.  And you are sitting in the middle of a business meeting when you receive a text from your daughter that practice was canceled after school, so she thinks it will be fine if she gets a ride home from her friend who’s had her license for 4 days now. No!  It’s not!  School can kill a forest of trees every year, send out random emails and eFlyers, and there isn’t a way to notify parents and kids at the same time that practice was canceled?  And, I’m not suggesting Twitter here (lots of parents don’t want to be on Twitter) or Remind (it’s only one way communication and doesn’t address the totality of the issue at hand).

To be fair, I want to point out how grateful I am that most schools are that good about getting information out there.  This, in many ways, is a nice problem to have.  I love that teachers and coaches want to collaborate with parents.  I love that schools do everything possible to make families aware of events and opportunities for extracurricular activities.  The core issue is that there is so much information coming at parents from so many different vehicles of communication that I find myself spending a lot of time making sure I haven’t missed anything!

OK.  Hopping off my soapbox now.  I’m not alone with this line of thinking.  I know, because I’ve laughed and joked about it with many of you!  There is a simple answer. I think.

What if there was a single private group networking platform- suitable for families – where all of this school communication with families (including meetings, and practices and game schedules) could reside?  And, what if teachers could put assignments on their class calendar or reminders about pajama day and they would just automatically populate on your calendar?  And, what if coaches needed to cancel practice and could just make that change on a calendar that would trigger an email notification to all members of that group (both parents and kids)?  And what if instead of notes home and other disparate forms of communication- all communication could come through one vehicle unless you needed to have a private conversation with an educator through email or on the phone?

Yeah.  That would be awesome.  I’m pretty sure we’re onto something.  Stay tuned….we might have this problem solved…