The Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program Selects ParentSquare as a Vendor Partner for School-Home Communications

Santa Barbara, CA — Dec. 15, 2021— ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home communications platform for K-12 education, has been named a vendor partner by the Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP).

The ILTPP is a statewide cooperative created by Illinois’ Learning Technology Center (LTC), Regional Offices of Education (ROE), and Intermediate Service Centers (ISC) in 1998. Its goal is to provide a voluntary purchasing program that combines the purchasing power of Illinois school districts and other eligible educational entities to offer competitive pricing on technology products and services.

Approved vendors undergo a rigorous evaluation before obtaining ILTPP’s approval for partnership. The program researches the reliability of each vendor by contacting three educational facilities that have purchased their products within the last year. In addition, an advisory committee consisting of LTC, ROE, and ISC directors and Illinois State Board of Education officials assesses the vendors’ pricing and products.…Read More

How to ensure your district networks are safe and secure

COVID closed in-person classrooms and also gave a boost to cyberthreats to school district networks. As data security breaches–including ransomware attacks, phishing, and unauthorized disclosures–show no sign of slowing, K-12 IT leaders need to be ready.

IT teams understand how important cybersecurity measures are, but many struggle to pinpoint where to begin when their resources are limited.

Threats to K-12 education networks will never be eliminated, but there are strategies to successfully defend sensitive school district information. Want to learn more? Join a conversion with fellow edtech leaders and experts as they share best practices on both the technical aspects–software and services–and the human aspects–professional development and community education–of keeping your district networks safe and sound.…Read More

Kajeet Education Solutions Now Available to UScellular Customers

MCLEAN, Va. October 1, 2021–Kajeet®, a leading provider of wireless connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver safe and controlled internet access, today announced it has expanded its relationship with UScellular, making it the first carrier enabled to sell Kajeet’s solutions directly. Together, the two organizations are making it easier for K-12 education customers to monitor, secure and control internet connectivity and connected devices using UScellular’s fast, reliable network.

“Teaming with Kajeet builds on our commitment to deliver connectivity services to our education customers and offer additional capabilities that empower them to take greater control of their data” Tweet this

Through this new agreement, K-12 administrators can now purchase Kajeet Sentinel® and Kajeet SmartSpot® directly from UScellular, with all data and service fees consolidated into a single statement.…Read More

New ParentSquare Community Groups Feature Helps Districts and Schools Extend Reach to Community Members

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. SEPT. 24, 2021—Community engagement is an important part of K-12 education. To make it quick and easy for districts and schools to reach all interested community members, ParentSquare Inc., provider of the premier unified school-home engagement platform for K-12, today announces a new Community Groups feature.

Community Groups allows interested community members to sign up for various communications offered by districts and schools. Community Groups web pages can be enabled at the district or school level, or both. With this feature, family and community members who are not parents, guardians, students, or staff can sign up for communications in as many categories offered by the school or district as they desire. In addition to making it easier to communicate with a wider audience, this new feature reduces the need for schools or districts to subscribe to a separate mass email distribution service, saving staff time and money by having all contacts and communications in one place with ParentSquare.

With Community Groups, districts and schools can extend their reach to generate greater awareness and involvement. Community members can now keep up with activities and announcements based on their interests, such as fundraisers, afterschool programs, sporting or alumni events. When combined with ParentSquare’s existing social media and website sharing capabilities, community contact is multiplied.…Read More

ParentSquare Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Unifying School-Home Communications and Strengthening Family Engagement

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. SEPTEMBER 10, 2021—For decades, districts, schools, and teachers used different tools to communicate with families, making it confusing and difficult for parents and guardians to keep up. In 2011, parent and computer engineer Anupama Vaid set out to build a solution to engage every family with school communications—and all in one place. That solution, ParentSquare, now celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Since the company’s founding by Vaid and her husband Sohit Wadhwa a decade ago, ParentSquare has become the premier unified school-home engagement platform for K-12 education. The Santa Barbara-based company now serves almost half of all schools in California and has expanded to 44 states.

“When I was working, I was getting so much information from so many different sources at my child’s school, it was nearly impossible to stay on top of it all. When I transitioned to be a stay-at-home mom and volunteered as a room parent, I realized that being involved with school is like a full-time job, and I experienced a big difference in how connected I felt with our school community,” said Vaid, ParentSquare Co-Founder & President.…Read More

5 skills for future success–and how to help students develop them

From the classroom to the district director level, and eventually my own desk in the principal’s office, I have served in many different roles in K-12 education.

However, in the midst of my career, I left public education to spend 2 years in corporate America.  That experience, working in what some call the “real world,” has given me a somewhat different perspective from many of my peers.  By working the corporate world, I’ve seen the connections between what is taught in the classroom and how that knowledge is applied in the workplace. 

Perhaps more importantly, I believe I have pinpointed five abilities all students need to develop before leaving K-12 schooling behind and moving into the world we call adulthood. …Read More

5 necessary tools for classroom SEL

Classroom SEL (social and emotional learning) has become a cornerstone of K-12 education, because it helps students regulate their own emotions and teaches them to respond kindly to their peers.

SEL helps students build intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. When students cultivate important social and emotional skills, such as self-management and social awareness, they can improve their success along with the school climate.

SEL focuses on five core competencies: self-awareness to help students recognize emotions, thoughts, and behaviors; self-management to help students successfully regulate emotions, thoughts, and behaviors; social awareness to help students take the perspective of others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures; relationship skills to help students establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse people and groups; and responsible decision-making to help students make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions.…Read More

6 necessary steps to move K-12 education forward in 2021

Six key K-12 education trends, including teachers and parents becoming more open to new ways to teach and learn, and finding value in technology to stay connected, will be necessary to move education forward in the coming months.

According to new data on how the pandemic impacted K-12 education, student engagement became the leading metric of student success, with 92 percent of educators calling it the most important factor. The data from Instructure, the makers of Canvas, also underscores challenges in areas like equity, with low income households more than twice as likely to report difficulty in helping their children remain engaged.

“Our school communities persevered through incredibly challenging dynamics this past year, but overall we came through it more adaptive, open to new approaches and deeply focused on student engagement,” said Trenton Goble, VP of K-12 Strategy at Instructure. “At the same time, there is a lot of hard work ahead. About half of educators and parents feel students have significantly fallen behind due to COVID-19. We know technology will remain pivotal, as the pandemic shifted its role from a nice-to-have to an essential service that connects teachers, parents and students with the entire learning journey.”…Read More

Beaverton School District in Oregon Selects ParentSquare for its School-to-Home Engagement Platform

Santa Barbara, CA — June 23, 2021— Research on the effects of parental involvement has shown a consistent, positive relationship between parents’ commitment to their children’s education and student outcomes and—thanks to its adoption of a new technology platform—Oregon’s Beaverton School District will be making it easier than ever for parents and guardians to stay engaged in their child’s education. ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-to-home communications platform for K-12 education, will now be available for the district’s staff and the families of its 41,000 students to use for the 2021-22 school year.

ParentSquare is the only fully unified technology platform that engages every family with school communications and communications-based services—all the way from the district office to the classroom teacher, and all in one place. With ParentSquare’s intuitive, two-way communications platform, Beaverton district and school officials can now involve all families and help overcome language or socioeconomic barriers, while maintaining the highest standards of privacy and security.

ParentSquare offers translation to more than 100 languages, and app, email, text, voice, and web portal access for equitable communication district wide. It also features extensive integrations with student information and other critical administrative systems, and single sign-on capabilities.…Read More

What should educators teach? Computational thinking

The way we approach problems in the workplace has changed drastically because of technology.  Therefore, it is imperative that we set students up for future success by teaching relevant skills and modernizing the curriculum. 

As we work to realign K-12 education to better meet the needs of today’s Information Age society, I implore my fellow educators to embrace teaching research-backed skills like computational thinking across curriculum. By doing so, we will benefit our students and our world.

Why computational thinking?

Today’s employers are seeking problem solvers. Computational thinking is an appropriate way to teach students quantitative and qualitative thinking. Computational thinking practices equip students with problem-solving skills, such as analyzing data, in order to make inferences and break problems down into manageable pieces. This transdisciplinary mode of instruction ensures learners can pair critical thinking with creativity to think through challenges and identify potential solutions.

…Read More