Communications | News

NYC Schools Deploy Software To Boost Communication

One hundred K-12 schools in one New York City borough have deployed a Web-based software platform to ramp up communication with parents.

eChalk provides tools for the creation of school and classroom Web sites, as well as intranets. It also allows for schools to communicate with parents in a variety of ways, through website, e-mail, social networking, and the eChalk app.

Other eChalk features include:

  • Open architecture framework;
  • An integrated communications system among students, parents, administrators, and teachers;
  • A lesson planner, which allows for development of personalized lesson plan templates under required curriculum standards and sharing of materials;
  • The ability to share homework, grades, calendars, events, class discussions, and teacher resources;
  • Management of students' classwork and activities;
  • Creation of professional learning communities and online classrooms;
  • A homework dropbox and file storage for students; and
  • Emergency text message, e-mail, and website alerts.

eChalk can be used on any device with Internet access, including laptop computers and mobile devices.

Dr. Rose B. English School PS/IS 327 and The Weeksville School in Brooklyn are two institutions that have signed on.

"One of the main reasons we use eChalk is for communicating with parents. School communication with parents has always been important, and it is currently a major theme by Chancellor Walcott. Before using eChalk, we did not have an easy 'back office' way to coordinate and update all the individual teacher pages in a uniform way without having a full-time website manager. When we saw what eChalk had to offer, and what other schools had done with eChalk's services, we jumped at the opportunity. When it comes to communicating with parents and staff, and maintaining a Web presence, eChalk is superior," said Dr. Stephen Appea, principal of the Dr. Rose B. English School.

In addition, The Weeksville School's Learning Environment Survey has shown a parent response rate of 64 percent since using eChalk, up 26 percent.

"We were looking for ways to share our quality review, school survey, and progress report with parents. eChalk gave us a way to display the school data in a parent-friendly format that was easy to understand and use," said Karen Hambright-Glover, principal of The Weeksville School. Since then, the school has used eChalk to further enhance its school-home connection, host a collaborative online learning environment, and support its local parent-teacher association.

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