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ParentSquare and AI: Supporting Engagement, Improving Accessibility, and Saving Time

Written by Derek Damron, Sr. Director, Data Science & AI, ParentSquare

Student success is at the heart of ParentSquare’s mission, and artificial intelligence—much better known as AI—offers many opportunities for us to build our platform in a way that positively impacts students and their families. 


At ParentSquare, our guiding principle for AI is to make meaningful engagement between schools and families even easier across our suite of products—all while maintaining our commitment to upholding best practices for data privacy and security.

Our team has been hard at work on developing ParentSquare’s approach to incorporating AI, and we are excited to share two of the upcoming features we’ll be launching soon.

An easier, faster way to add alt text to images

Accessibility has always been a core part of Smart Sites, our website solution for creating customizable, compliant websites for schools and districts. To make websites accessible for visually impaired visitors, Smart Sites requires images to include alt text that provides a description of what the image shows.

image alt text

But while legal and accessibility standards like ADA and WCAG help establish guidelines for alt text, it can be challenging for website administrators to compose alt text from scratch—the “blank page” problem—or consistently write “good” alt text. Our new AI alt text generator makes it easier and faster for anyone using Smart Sites to generate ideas for meaningful alt text.

After an image is uploaded to Smart Sites, the AI alt text generator will provide several recommendations for alt text. You can use any of these options or edit them as needed to make sure your description is as accurate as possible.

Improve post readability for better engagement

ParentSquare educators know that when it comes to family engagement, the ability to share posts with updates and announcements is just the first step. To get families to engage, it’s important to focus on making your communications as readable as possible so everyone can understand and act on the information you’re sharing.

While there are helpful tips and best practices for communicating as clearly and directly as possible, it takes time and effort to concise and easy-to-read messages. Additionally, it can sometimes be challenging to assess the reading level of our own writing, especially from an accessibility perspective.

With AI, administrators and teachers on ParentSquare can spend less time editing messages so they have more time for other priorities. To improve post readability, you’ll be able to use Smart Edit, our AI-assisted editor, to set the readability of your posts to a specific grade level and review them to ensure they can be easily translated into families’ preferred languages. 

Here’s just a sample of how Smart Edit will automatically review and edit posts:

  • Keep sentences short (20 words or less) and to the point. Simple sentence structures are easier for readers to parse.
  • Replace passive voice with active voice to make sentences more direct, better understood, and easier to translate. 
  • Check text for slang and idioms. Expressions such as “You hit that one out of the park” don’t always translate clearly into different languages.
  • Eliminate or spell out abbreviations and acronyms that might not be familiar to everyone.
  • Use the same words consistently to convey the same concept. Families may “reply to,” “return,” or “submit” a survey, but it’s clearer to pick one verb and stick to it.
  • And, of course, spell check your writing.

AI and our commitment to student data privacy

privacy and security

One of our highest priorities is keeping student data private—a stance that has implications on how we’ve approached the development of AI features at ParentSquare. 

First, we don’t use personally identifiable information (PII) to train our AI models. We partner with Google to run our AI models, and Google also doesn’t use any customer data to train their models. Additionally, ParentSquare administrators have control over whether users in their district have access to AI features. 

These are just some of the key AI-related commitments we’ve made to help protect data privacy and security, and you can be confident that the way we’re building AI features is consistent with the standard you’ve come to expect from ParentSquare.

What’s next: Pilot programs and planning

Pilot programs will be starting for both the AI alt text generator and Smart Edit in the near future, and we’re eager to see the impact they’ll make in the hands of real ParentSquare users. We’re also continuing to formalize our roadmap for other AI work, from extending these two features elsewhere in our product ecosystem to working closely with the ParentSquare Advisory Council to identify and scope other use cases.

We’d love to keep you updated on our AI work. If you’re a current customer, you can register for our monthly What’s New Review webinars for the latest updates on all of our features, including AI. Or, reach out to our sales team at to learn more about these features and how our products can help you and your district engage with families. 

We are excited for you to see what we’ve been working on!

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