We are hosting guest blogger Karen Brooks, Parent Council President at Manhattan Day School (MDS). In September 2013, MDS started using Ringya as their school-wide system of mobile communication.
By Karen Brooks, Parents Council President, Manhattan Day School
As president of the Parents Council at a busy elementary school in New York City, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve and streamline communication for parents and our administration. For as long as most parents can remember, we’ve had a paper booklet listing contact names, numbers and addresses for all families. But we all felt the need for an additional tool that was more 21st century. Ever try to stay on top of the changes in a directory that includes over a thousand contacts? It’s almost a full-time job!
When a neighborhood friend suggested Ringya, a new app that instantly turns your paper directory into contact lists on your smartphone, we were intrigued. O.K., some of the less tech-savvy among us were a little wary, too. But when we heard that all of the information would be completely secure and could not be shared with those outside the school, we decided to give it a try.
This past September, our administration provided an up-to-date student directory and we emailed it to Ringya. Within minutes, the app had built a detailed contact list, called a “ring,” of all our students. That’s hundreds of families and over a thousand contacts shared with all relevant parties.
Here’s the best part: We can update their contact information and that change is immediately shared with all other members of the “ring.” No one has to update a paper directory. It’s all done automatically. You can also create smaller class or club “rings,” including just those parents you need to contact on a regular basis.
Since going live with Ringya, our school’s overall communication has changed in ways we could never have imagined. Ringya makes it easy to contact members of your “ring” in many ways. You can call, text or email.
Our families also like it because it makes it easier to set up play dates and invite classmates to parties. Each time you search for a contact, you get contact information about the rest of their families. So, if a student wants to get together with a new class friend, it is no trouble at all to have mom or dad locate the friend’s parent on the “ring”, give them a call and make a play date. And with the special Ringya caller ID feature, you always know who is calling and how they are connected to you, before you even pick up the phone.
What else can I say? Ringya is a little technological tool that helps make a big difference in school communication. It makes keeping in touch fast, stress-free and even kind of fun. As a mom and Parents Council president, that’s the kind of thing that makes me smile.
Pictures: Courtesy of MDS