The next big thing in parent engagement

Some would call parenting the ultimate juggling act. Whether they’re balancing the lunch preferences of three different kids or focused on getting the other shoe on Johnny before he boards the school bus, parents have a lot on their plate.

Families’ schedules are jam-packed these days, and it’s becoming harder and harder to manage it all. From calendars to paperwork to keeping up with admissions, school can be overwhelming for parents.

It’s hard just keeping track of extracurriculars like soccer practice, piano lessons, or Wednesday night youth group in kids’ lively schedules. Add in the happenings of a student’s school day, and tracking becomes even more difficult. Parents may find themselves asking, “What is for school lunch today? Where do I look that up? Is it on a paper calendar that was sent home in Johnny’s backpack?” It’s a struggle to remember it all, and that’s just about school lunch!

Parents often find that making sure their kid has a spot on the yearly field trip is a piece of paper away from disaster. If a form like this miraculously makes it home with their student, it’s one hurdle to get the form back to school, and a totally different hurdle to pay for the trip. As a matter of fact, paying for any school-related event can be a huge hassle and often requires inconvenient forms of payment (i.e., checks) or tracking down a PayPal link in an email.

Email is also becoming more and more of a burden to keep up with. Parents are feeling like they have to be a MacGyver of sorts to stay up-to-date with everything that comes through their inboxes. The myriad of emails that parents receive on a daily basis makes it easy to miss an announcement and tough to stay current on school news.

Staying connected and finding support in the school parent community is so important, but parents often lack the tools they need to truly engage with each other. Typically, parents must either dig through spreadsheets of contact information or make sure they swap numbers with Sally’s mom at cheer practice.

These are just a few examples of how today’s parents struggle to get the school information they need for their kids. We often hear stories of challenges around volunteer coordination, paying tuition, and contacting administration, just to name a few.

Today, parents are able to view grades online, access school closing tweets, and join PTA Facebook groups. But this information is in disparate places and it’s simply a struggle to keep up with. Wouldn’t it be easier to access the school community all in one place?

We at FACTS find that using a mobile platform gives our parents all-in-one access to everything they need right from their phones. Whether capturing their fifth grader’s first goal at the big game or family FaceTime calls with Grandma after dinner, families already feel comfortable in a mobile environment — after all, they use it every day.

Now is the time for schools to start leveraging the one place that all parents and families have in their pockets, on their night stands, and at their fingertips.