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10 Things I Learned at SquareCamp

Our first national user conference was a success! With over 480 attendees from across the country, the ParentSquare team learned that our customers are hungry for knowledge and passionate about supporting their schools. Attendees enjoyed over 60 sessions at SquareCamp, including panel discussions, workshops, skill sessions and three inspiring keynotes. We had over 40 team members in attendance, so customers were also able to get one-on-one support throughout the conference. Check out our event video!

But what did attendees learn during their time at SquareCamp? We’ve spent hours poring over hundreds of comments and session ratings to bring you the top 10! 

1. “I love that ParentSquare welcomes feedback and drives its product based on data.”

Customer feedback is the core of our innovation and we are proud to say that it genuinely drives our plans for future development. Some of our most beloved features came directly from user feedback, including Confidential Groups, Virtual Phones, and many of our minor enhancements and regular improvements. Anupama Vaid, our founder, was a parent struggling with school communication and engagement when she dreamed up ParentSquare. She wanted a better way, and that culture continues in our team today. We strive to make a better platform every single day for our customers.

“It was great to see how engaged Anu was with the users and how all support personnel at the conference exhibited a strong desire to gather ideas to improve the system to better serve the end users.”

2. “Canva + ParentSquare = 🤩!” 

This summer we launched a partnership with design powerhouse Canva for Education. We love their mission and passion for supporting educators, and felt that we could help our customers by collaborating with their team. At SquareCamp, our customers were delighted to learn more about using Canva in ParentSquare to create visually engaging content and meet with a Canva team member. (Learn more about our partnership with Canva on our blog: ParentSquare and Canva for Education Collaborate to Enhance School-to-Home Communication!)

“I did not know how well Canva works with ParentSquare. I will definitely be using graphics in the future to enhance my communication and make our messages stand out.”

3. “I loved hearing tips and tricks for user groups.”

ParentSquare groups serve as a valuable tool for schools to foster better family engagement, streamline communication and create a more inclusive and personalized educational experience for students and their families. 

  • Static Groups: Choose from public, private or confidential settings to craft tailored communities.
  • Auto-Update Groups: Effortlessly maintain up-to-date groups with automatic member management.
  • Community Groups: Extend your network by creating open-to-all groups, fostering collaboration beyond your immediate school community.

“I learned about the type of groups and how I can manage all of them. I’m pretty excited to share with my team about the static and auto groups. We have a lot of after school clubs and field trips that will benefit from this tool; communication will be great.”

4. “The entire ParentSquare team is awesome!” 

At ParentSquare, we strive to create and maintain an internal culture where all team members feel welcomed, safe and have room to grow. We pride ourselves on investing in some of the brightest and most talented minds in education and edtech today! Beyond the internal culture, our leadership team puts a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction and making sure customers feel heard. To achieve our 99.4% retention rate, our team consistently and genuinely engages with customers every day. 

“I have admired the culture of ParentSquare from the great support I have received over the years from the team. Seeing and meeting many of them in person just reinforced that it is a powerful, ever-evolving product built by people who care. It was not lost on me that the founders took time to meet, greet, LISTEN, and explain. Humble and classy. I’m a huge fan.”

5. “I’m excited to take it back to my team!”

Another common point in the feedback we received was how excited attendees were to take knowledge back to their schools and districts. We know that the resources may not be available to send every member of your team to conferences like SquareCamp – that’s why we designed our sessions to better enable sharing. And after 13 years of launching our platform at schools and districts across the U.S., we know that it takes team effort to find success. We encourage our customers to share their ideas and best practices with our team and with other users. One such opportunity is the ParentSquare Educator User Group on Facebook, where administrators, educators and staff of all experience levels come together to share tips and insights on seamlessly integrating ParentSquare into your school community. It’s your safe space to ask questions and connect with fellow users.

“I enjoyed the ‘Utilizing Multiple Communication Channels To Drive Engagement’ session. Brian gave examples of how he manages his district communication and changes he made. I want to go back to our school and engage and empower teachers with his suggestions for communication.”

6. “Virtual Phone – family engagement is critical to student success and sometimes written communication just won’t get the message across.”

Earlier this year we also launched our latest innovation thanks to customer feedback – Virtual Phone! A phone call can make all the difference when conversations with families are needed around student absenteeism, parent-teacher conference follow-up, academic performance check-ins, or behavior issues. But those phone calls need to be documented and safe. Instead of sharing personal cell phone information with students or families, each school staff member receives an exclusive Virtual Phone number for making and receiving calls via ParentSquare’s computer interface or its mobile apps. Calls can be handled a lot easier with a centralized communication and engagement platform instead of on standalone desktop phones or personal cell phones.

“I think [Virtual Phone] could be a powerful tool for our teachers. Being able to talk to parents at the teacher’s convenience, rather than only when a desk phone is available, will be so helpful. During COVID shutdowns, teachers used Google phones. This is so much better. Also love the fact that calls are recorded. This feature blew me away. I didn’t even realize we needed it until I saw this.”

7. “I learned about notification reports and how to access them to identify top users.” 

By now we all know that family engagement is essential to student success. But how do you know if your efforts are making a difference? That’s where ParentSquare reporting and dashboards come in! In particular, the Notifications Activity Dashboard offers unparalleled insights, enabling district and school administrators to monitor communication efficiency and volume. By tracking posts, direct messages, alerts and secure document sharing in real-time, schools can optimize engagement and ensure critical information reaches every member of the community effectively.

“I learned how one district uses notification reports to identify the schools and staff members who post/send messages the most. They used reports to reward the top posters. I think it’s a great idea and one that is easily applicable to my district.”

8. “Soooo excited to hear about the MyVRSpot integration with ParentSquare.”

In a 2022 national survey about the future of school-home communications, school and district leaders said they would like to add more videos to improve communication with families. To meet this need, we partnered with MyVRSpot, a video and digital media management service, to extend its video messaging capabilities to the ParentSquare school-home engagement platform for K12. We were honored to have the MyVRSpot team join us at SquareCamp and host a session, and customers loved learning more! (Read all about our partnership with MyVRSpot on our blog: ParentSquare Partners with MyVRSpot to Enhance Video Messaging to K-12 School-Home Engagement Platform!)

“Now that we are 99.9 percent sure our parents are receiving communication, I’m most excited about getting creative [with MyVRSpot] for more engagement!”

9. “The AI session was great. It was nice to hear the thought that was put into it and the possibilities.”

Artificial Intelligence – it’s on everyone’s mind these days. What can it do for us? Is it safe? How do we use it in our schools? We’ve been thinking about it, too. ParentSquare is advancing its AI capabilities with goals to enhance efficiency, develop new school solutions, and ensure security, privacy and reliability. We’re currently developing features and researching innovations such as an Automated Attendance Advisor and a Post Creation Assistant, to empower schools and educators with state-of-the-art communication tools.

“ParentSquare’s goals for AI and the AI-powered features that ParentSquare is researching and building to empower customers was mind blowing. Highly anticipated for this to launch.”

10. “I learned how Smart Sites can elevate your district brand with an integrated school website solution.”

In January of this year, we merged with the school website pros at Gabbart, who have been creating engaging websites for K12 since 2003. With an easy-to-use interface, powerful permissions and beautiful designs, Smart Sites unifies your website and communications tools. The website tool integrates with ParentSquare’s family engagement platform, creating a single platform for all communications. Publish media-rich posts and urgent alerts to multiple channels simultaneously, including website pages, social media, email, app, sms and voice.

“I learned about the features of Smart Sites and decided to talk to my Superintendent about making the switch. It will be so much easier to use and keep up to date which will be great for our families.”

We’d like to thank all of our customers that attended our first user conference and for the valuable thoughts they provided. A huge thank you to our team that attended the event and those that supported us from a distance – we couldn’t have done it without our amazing team! Their hard work and attention to detail made our inaugural user conference a success and we are so proud to have them in the ParentSquare family. 

Interested in learning more about future ParentSquare user events? Let us know by tagging us on social media! LinkedIn Facebook Twitter/X Instagram

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