Struggling To Get Parents Attention At School? efollowr Is The Solution
A new school year begins and with it a new challenge as a principal. Our duty is to be the institution´s name, face and voice so I had to call in for the yearly parents meeting. These gatherings are usually a moment in which I speak a lot, and nobody listens to me because they want to move on with their lives. I go through the basics: explain the school´s rules, goals and aims, inform them of their role as parents and then we come to an agreement to all do our best and help the little ones as much as we can in their first educational endeavor.
Don´t get me wrong, it is a beautiful moment because you get to explain them exactly what you expect from their children and from them as companions; the only drawback is that they do not want to be there because they are usually too busy and see it as a waste of time. That can be a bummer at times because I really do put lot of effort in preparing the meetings. I gather all the info and try to present it in a way that is understandable, useful and interesting for them. The result is usually parents looking at their watches and yawning all the time.
This year it was different, because this year I got to explain them the eFollowr app we are using as an institution. If I was to put it into words, I would say their faces changed drastically, they were suddenly interested in what I was saying.
I began by telling them to take out their phones and downloading the app so I could explain the basics and the most remarkable benefits it would have throughout the year and to my surprise they were finishing my sentences! It was amazing because by the end of the meeting I already had some statistics showing me that all the parents had downloaded the app and were signed in as anonymous users. I mean, the ratio was 100%; that never happened before, they were very enthusiastic about it.
My first emphasis was on SPAM and how to avoid it; I told the parents they wouldn´t get any spam at all like they would if they were to receive emails from us. They opened their eyes and lifted their eyebrows in awe before smiling. People, especially very busy one, get a lot of spam in their inbox which makes it impossible to follow on important stuff; they get lost on the trivial things. With eFollowr, they can just follow the group that belongs to their children´s classes and not get a single unwanted notification of any kind. I took the time to create the groups beforehand and to my surprise, they did it perfectly in the first attempt and each group was populated with the exact number of parents per student that attended the meeting!
When eFollowr was presented to me I was a little skeptical about it because I had been reading about the whole GDPR thing and was scared I was going to get the school and myself into trouble for data handling. As a principal you have to take care of many more things besides educating the nation´s future. To my pleasant surprise, parents can decide to become known or to remain unknown followers and that decision takes the responsibility away from the school. When their children graduate, they can just stop following the school and voilà! No record of them was ever stored.
For the first time in many years, I can say that the meeting was a very productive one in which all the parents paid attention and got a real insight of all the info I gave them. The fact that they can download it together with the teacher is another advantage to be close to the educators who work directly with their children.
From a school perspective, eFollowr platform helped us reduce the budget spent on paperwork also protecting the environment. We closed the time gap between the moment we create the info and the moment it reaches our students and their families because with a simple API the platform is linked to the school´s homepage and every event published in it reaches parents immediately.
With eFollowr I was able to reach out to a new generation of parents who are used to getting notifications on their phones and want to reduce spam in their work-related emails. After all, we are also a more eco-friendly institution and I can redirect funds into activities like procurement of beehives rather than spend them on paperwork. eFollowr is the future in communication and it really works.