Sunday, January 20, 2013

Connecting With Parents Using Celly

Celly is a free mobile social network through group texting.  It is instant, private, and secure.  There is never an exchange of personal cell phone numbers, yet everyone is connected in the ways that work best depending on the need.   A cell is a mobile social network that works with any mobile phone or device. Members can join instantly with one text and exchange group messages, polls, reminders, and web alerts.  There is a record of all texts sent and received.  

Celly has made a positive improvement for my Parent Accountability Committee (PAC), as they are called in my district.  The PAC meets once per month.  Before Celly I found it frustrating to really provide a picture of what was happening in our school during a once a month meeting.  My solution was to invite them all to join my PAC Cell.  At a meeting I just shared the Celly number and Cell name.  It is so easy to join.  They got out their phones and in the first five minutes of the meeting it was in place.  At first they just responded with logistically input.  For example, it was really easy to set up a last minute Christmas potluck for our December meeting.   Now I send them a quick text almost every day.  I share progress regarding service learning projects, academic milestones, praises for students and staff, struggles, and needs for improvement.  They are welcome, and I sometimes ask them,  to respond and, if applicable, I resend the response text to the group.   We are all communicating often.  During the few seconds it takes me to send a single text they truly become part of the day to day happenings at DOS.  They have shared that this helps them do their job better, look more forward to meetings, and be able to truly advocate for our school.  I feel good about keeping my PAC up to date and informed with the praises, growth, and challenges of DOS.  Next year I plan to invite all parents to be part of a Cell.  I’m already in the habit of sending my PAC a “take-away” from each day.

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