District news — Phone, email, text, mobile app, social media and student information will be integrated into one communication system

When Ewing Young Elementary School officials decided to let students out early due to heavy snow last year, it was essential to get the word out to parents.

For district communications coordinator Claudia Stewart and school staff, that meant sending out emails, updating the website, texting alerts, posting to FlashAlert and doing several other tasks, all individually. By the time the automated phone call could be initiated, 20 minutes had passed and children were just about to board busses home.

Stewart and other school staff, however, won’t have that problem this year, as the district has streamlined all parent communications — including checking grades, attendance and homework online — into one system called ParentLink.

“Instead of going to four different sources — to social media, to send an email, to send a text message, to call everybody — we can go ahead and do this at one time,” Stewart said. “It is really faster and easier. The goal of this is really to strengthen that home-school communication. People are excited about using it.”

Last year the district transitioned to a new student information system, Synergy, but was asked not to integrate any third-party programs for one year.

The district did contract with ParentLink provider Parlant Technology to create a mobile app, which contained links to Synergy’s parent and student information portals, ParentVue and StudentVue.

Those portals will still be available through the web and mobile app, but ParentLink will have its own portal for parents to view their children’s academic progress. Parent Link also offers some additional features, like customizable thresholds for parent notification, that ParentVue doesn’t.

“We were absolutely delighted with the mobile app product,” Stewart said. “We were very happy with the support and the service of the company, but we were also aware they offered these other products, so we were kind of keeping an eye on that.”

The district was still on contract last year with One Call Now for some of the services that will now be provided by ParentLink. The former email service for school announcements will also be dropped.

Parents can currently sign up to receive emails from any or all schools in the district at and will receive instructions from the district on how to connect with the student information system in the future.

“The ability for parents and students to be checking on grades and assignments is absolutely terrific,” Stewart said. The data shows that the secondary parents are really happy with that and they’re checking that a lot. This ability was already integrated into this product and it has some value added to it that made parents’ eyes light up.”

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