Building community

How to get community buy-in for a school app

12 June, 2019
Adam Mathew Avatar
Adam Mathew
Parent and Content Contributor
How to get community buy-in for a school app

So, you’ve seen a parent communication app in action, and you want to get your own school in on the action. Excellent!

You’ve come to the right place, because we believe that bringing teachers, parents and students into the digital age is a win-win-win for everybody.

For starters, a well-designed school news app has the power to make communication a cinch. For seconds, phasing out printed school newsletters clears up your fridge door for more important things, like priceless fingerpaintings and A+ exams.

The next conundrum you face as a teacher, parent or P&C representative is how to get the ball rolling with the powers that be. Perhaps they’ve never considered adopting a school app for communication. Maybe they’re actively against one for some as yet unknown reason.

Whatever the case may be, your goals now are threefold. You need to know how to approach your school in such a way as to maximise a successful outcome. You need to succinctly present the benefits to all involved. And finally, with a little luck, the last phase is implementing the selected app in a pain-free manner.

The good news is we can help you with all of these milestones! Let’s break down the steps needed to get the ball rolling and your new adoption ‘appening.

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The pitch: Be clear on the benefits

The first question you’re going to face is why. “If we have a traditional communications system in place that has worked for decades, why change it?” the school decision-makers will say. It’s the old ‘better the devil we know’ argument. Ideally, you need to go in armed with some common reasons to implement new school communication software.

Perks for parents:

Looking at this from a parent’s perspective, the most obvious benefits of a school app are two-fold. Firstly, nowadays we’re spoiled for choice with our modes of communication – Email, Facebook and Twitter are ubiquitous, but not every parent is subscribed to these platforms. A dedicated app puts all comms in one place, engenders smoother information flow and that delivers better collaboration. Tighter run special events and easily finding volunteers are the welcome byproduct here that’s worth mentioning to the powers that be.

School upsides:

Speaking of the decision-makers, the upsides of a school app are many. The most obvious pros are saving time, money and the reduction of printing lowers one’s environmental footprint considerably. Another benefit is an overall increase in newsletter frequency which in turn creates a parent-teacher environment of fewer miscommunications.

Time-saving for teachers:

Superior communication comes with additional positives for those of us in the trenches, thoroughly outnumbered by kids and teenagers. The right school communication platform can improve parent communication and increase transparency by effectively opening a window into the classroom. Sating a caregiver’s curiosity in this way can often prevent the need for fact-finding phone calls and meetings.

Business Manager benefits:

One of the great challenges in many communities is the process of school fundraising. SkoolBag provides the opportunity to better advertise said worthy cause and to increase the effectiveness of a collection campaign.

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Researching the right solution

If you want your adoption of a new technology app to succeed you need to make like a student yourself – do the homework! The logistics aren’t as daunting as one might imagine, providing you follow this simple step-by-step guide to researching and implementing a communication solution…

Validate the problem:

Change is great in the long run, but nobody particularly likes it to begin with. Abandonment of the old ways ought to be justified,.Define a major problem with your school’s existing setup and identify how an app can make life easier.

Survey parents to discover preferences:

Never assume that everybody thinks the way you do. At the very least, put the feelers out and read the room a little. Take the time to understand the communication preferences of the collective by conducting a survey.

Research a proper solution:

Once you’ve identified the naysayers and their particular beef, see if the app can legitimately solve their misgivings. Most school apps allow undesired features to be disengaged completely. There’s also a minimum feature checklist you ought to consider before making your selection.

Take a test drive:

Any platform worth its salt can be experienced as a free trial before you commit to the product. You should be able to easily arrange a demo with key stakeholders, including your Principal, IT Manager and Admin Staff.

3…2…1 launch!

Once everybody is on board, it’s time to incorporate your chosen app into school communication policy. Invite all of your designated admins and staff to take some time to get familiar, and then promote the app fully to the wider school!

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Over to you!

Hopefully, you now have all the info needed to at least start the conversation with the key stakeholders in your school. And the good news is that what happens next doesn’t have to be a risky all-in affair! Most providers offer trialling solutions where you can adopt the technology at the pace you want. It’s easy to ensure you get the best fit for your school.

Once again, as a bare minimum you really ought to compare your prospective app with this SkoolBag app checklist to see if it meets the basic features requirements.

As a general guide, you should be easily able to customise the layout/branding of the app, enact admin permissions, provide parent features and a sensible notifications system.

Last but certainly not least, the app purveyor needs to offer comprehensive training / support, and a competitive pricing plan devoid of hidden fees.

Ready to get started?

Speak to a communication specialist today about trialling SkoolBag for your school.

Adam Mathew Avatar
Adam Mathew
Parent and Content Contributor

Adam is a father, a husband and a long-time entertainment critic. Before joining the SkoolBag team he was a day-to-day user of the app. He hates receiving printed newsletters with week-old fruit break on them.

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