PTA members and Class Reps are resourceful, organised and persuasive. Above all, highly experienced community builders. Exactly the kind of skill set schools battling with the coronavirus and school closures, need right now. So how can your talents be put to best use?
Many of us who are Class Reps or are on PTAs, are likely to have caring responsibilities which include children, parents and sometimes both at the same time. This implies that time spent on supporting your school community is going to have to be highly focused and impactful. As we have witnessed in the past few days, we need to be super flexible to withstand the ever changing landscape. Fortunately technology can play a role. Tracking how some of our star Ambassadors are using Classlist to reach their parents and offer them support during the coronavirus crisis, we’ve identified three easy ways to help your school community today:
- Connect up locally to volunteer
- Create a support group
- Host a virtual coffee
1. Connect up locally to volunteer
Help will be dictated largely by location. This is where the Classlist map comes into play. Classlist offers a walled garden community for your school. So parents should be comfortable to share their home address or at least a postcode on their Classlist profile. Even temporarily for coordinating grocery or medical supply drop offs for those families self isolating due to the coronavirus. Simply remind your parents in a whole school post or announcement, to add their address and ideally their photograph if they haven’t already. Here is an example post:
“Want to volunteer? Help us match you local families in your school by adding your address details to your Classlist profile. Check out other families in your parent contacts and click on the map icon.”
The arrow below highlights in your parent contacts where to click on the pin icon to access your map.
Signing up to volunteer
Classlist introduced a sign up tool last November. Whilst this has been useful so far for Christmas fetes and fundraising events, it’s proving to be very helpful for recruiting and coordinating parent volunteers.
We suggest you create a ‘helping isolated parents’ community event and then add the following tasks for parents to sign up to:
- I can help with delivering groceries
- I can help with collecting and delivering medicine
- I’m happy to make a friendly phone call
Here is an example what your task list might look like:
Check out our article how parents can sign up to help others today. https://help.classlist.com/hc/en-us/articles/360019473632-SignUp-Lists-Volunteer-sign-up-rotas-for-events
2. Create a Coronavirus Support Group
Many parents and pupils are experiencing enormous anxiety even prior to the latest news about school closures. With all the negative press, parents are connecting in a special group on Classlist or across the whole school community in smaller schools to share how they are going to remain positive during this time. Ideas are flowing, likes and comments are helping parents feel connected. Another way to dispel rumours too, is to invite staff ambassadors to contribute to clarify issues. Staff really benefit by getting feedback on what exactly parents are concerned about. For instance, exam cancellations have been a super hot discussion point in the last 24 hours.
3. Host a Virtual Coffee
The idea of a daily virtual coffee to enable some kind of human contact, albeit through video gatherings, is considered to be effective. It is possible to create a virtual coffee in Classlist. The only additional step you need to do is to create a zoom account. Here are the key steps for setting up your first virtual coffee:
- Set up a Classlist event to let your class or group know about your virtual coffee
- Create a zoom account
- In Zoom go your Profile> Room Management page
- Find the Zoom Personal Meeting ID .
- Put the Zoom ID in your event description on Classlist.
- Invite parents or class.
Once you set this up, the room is open at anytime or day you choose to host a virtual coffee. You can host a session for up to 40 minutes for free with up to 100 guests. Please make sure that your event is private. Don’t allow the opportunity for uninvited guests to join. Be aware of potential privacy pitfalls and try to minimise your exposure by limiting data to the minimum levels.
Anymore help advice? Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Classlist is a free app helping schools build thriving communities.