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School community trends

Here at Classlist we are astonished by the speed of change happening right now. Each day the government is announcing changes in policies that impact our daily lives in both a professional and personal capacity.

At the same time, we are heartened by the extent that school communities are working together to help each other. How creative solutions are being developed to ensure inclusiveness for school communities and beyond the school gate to their extended families.

Below is a summary of the week’s latest trends happening in Classlist school communities.


Video recording
Headteachers and staff are learning fast how effective video can help homeschooling and community building.

Video is the new normal

Video for school communities has become the new normal. Both recordings from Headteachers and class teachers comprising daily updates and lessons. Plus live video meetups for PTA planning or class virtual coffees. Even after schools re-open we are confident this new habit is here to stay. Video offers both convenience and potentially inclusiveness. More effective in reaching those harder to reach parents (all you need is a smartphone). More efficient than the informality of the school gate.

In light of this, here at Classlist we have made it much easier to share videos from youtube and links from other sources to your parent community. Just look out for the Classlist icon and select the class you wish to share with.

Virtual PTA Time

PTAs are adapting with many arranging virtual PTA meetings this week. A key challenge for many committees is recruiting new members to join or shadow existing committee roles. Now more than ever – key criteria for recruiting will be digital communication and marketing skills. A good way of identifying this is by reviewing those parents that are responding to posts from others on Classlist or other social media. Those parents who are volunteering to help out. Who are assiduous at reading all the comms the school sends out and helping the rest of us to remember what we need to complete, fill out and generally overcome school administration mental overload.

Those job descriptions you may have used before for your committee need to be updated to reflect this new skills gap.

Local business
Parents are supporting fellow parent businesses in their school community

Local businesses needing help

A key trend spotted this week – are parents coming together to support their local business often run by a parent in their school community. To help support these efforts we’ve added further fields to the parent profile page where parents can add their business website, social media pages. There is also an about field where you can describe anything – including your business or services. According to our observations – if parents know about you and your business the community will do what it can to step in and help.

Profile page on Classlist

Parents can now set up a promotional campaign directly on the website https://business.classlist.com. If you give us the heads up about these businesses we will give 25% to back to your school.

Online fatigue

A big trend that isn’t happening compared with this time last year are face to face events. Welcome picnics for new families, leavers parties and summer fairs. If your school needs some help supporting newcomers here is our recent blog. Feel free to pass to your headteacher. https://blog.classlist.com/5-tips-new-pupils-lockdown/. In the meantime join our Ambassador Circle and get more ideas from other Ambassadors who are coming up with innovative ways of integrating new parents.

Sadly, the frustrations around homeschooling is dominating conversations instead of discussions about fun events! The statement below pretty much sums up.

Homeschooling
Virtual quiz nights are taking off across the country

Virtual Quiz Nights

Some schools are returning this week to a new kind of schooling: reaching out to pupils using a whole host of platforms from Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts – the list is long. Maintaining engagement is a challenge and parents are juggling with extracting their children from more tempting digital distractions.

Counterbalancing the downside of this, is the upsurge in virtual quizzes occurring in school communities along with the rest of the nation. Our Classlist school ambassadors are expert quizmasters, regularly running successful school wide events each year, raising money for their schools and local charities. Drawing on this expertise and knowledge we have written a guide how to run a virtual quiz night for your school community.

Plenty of Easter Creativity

Pupils helping out the NHS

After the incredible 750,000 volunteers who signed up to help the NHS it is not surprising that many of us are still waiting to be assigned a task. In the meantime lots of school communities are getting stuck in: either running virtual fundraising events, collecting food and household item donations or creating PPE gear. Asking children to do errands at home and donate their earnings to the NHS is certainly going down well with parents.

Leavers Hoodies and Year Books

It will certainly be a different right of passage for this year’s cohort of leavers. No exams for the more senior years. Possibly no final discos or leavers balls. Although we are crossing fingers that they might still happen…. Plenty of reminders about last call for Leavers Hoodies orders. Plus contributions to year books.

A final gathering even if virtual can alleviate some of the stress during this time of transition. If you would like to learn more about how to host a final “Leavers Wave Rave” click here to book your place.

Happy Easter!

Plenty of Easter craft sessions ranging from sharing Easter themed photos, decorate an egg competitions to Easter bonnets.


home learning google search trends
Google search trends

Homeschooling

Last week we detected online learning as trending but home learning and homeschooling are becoming the phrases of the moment: Google search queries of the terms have basically gone vertical (see chart above). Likewise, on Classlist headteachers and staff are using announcements to distribute course work: adding in youtube links to daily videos and links to zoom class gatherings.

If you are looking to help your headteacher in reaching out to parents we suggest that you use the Classlist community events feature and add your links into the event description. This way parents will get prompted about the live event and be able to access the link to join more easily.

virtual coffee
Adding a zoom link into the Classlist events tool

Online safety

Social media channels are battling to prevent the monetisation of the word coronavirus. Amazon, Google are no longer allowing bidders to bid on coronavirus as a keyword in search. This is to prevent the spread of misinformation.

Schools are informing parents to watch out for scams relating to free school meals and not to share any banking information with anyone.

Schools are readily adopting enterprise video conferencing and document storage software such as Teams, Zoom and Dropbox. But Heads are recommending guidelines should be issued prior to usage as there have been cases of children behaving not so well towards each other. Hosts can record events and transcribe conversations. So participants are placing a great deal of trust in them.

Here are some further helpful hints on how to protect your privacy on Zoom. https://www.consumerreports.org/video-conferencing-services/zoom-teleconferencing-privacy-concerns/

More informal video software such as Houseparty has seen a surge in downloads. Whilst it’s easy to sign up to and use there are some security issues and it isn’t ideal for the under 16’s according to National Online Safety They have issued guidelines “What parents need to know about Houseparty” In addition to the concerns highlighted by National Online Safety, we would like to make parents aware that Houseparty holds all your child’s data in the USA and is not subject to European data protection and privacy requirements.

Virtual childcare

Working parents have set up a virtual childcare system, where one of the group tends to the others’ children online while the rest get on with their work. We look forward to hearing more how this is working!

Online programmes that are giving parents a brief respite include Joe Wicks 9:00am PE Fitness, David Wallam 11:00 story time, and NiiX.fitness 3pm 15 minute kids exercise class. Lots of teachers are setting gardening and outside play projects to help children get away from screens.

In the case of teenagers, getting them out of bed seems to be main challenge……

Contact us support@classlist.com if you would like to receive your school community’s insight report. He is a link that explains the key metrics tracked for achieving a thriving school community.


Top trends this week: online learning, volunteering and virtual fitness.

Online learning

This week’s headline trend is all about online learning. Teachers are coming onboard Classlist to distribute homework and interesting materials to keep them engaged in the subject to hand. A whole range of tools are being used: Google classroom and links to youtube videos. Teachers are becoming very adapt at recording their classes. For the younger years, reading stories to their class. The older kids, teachers are setting fun quizzes.

Teacher recording a class

Volunteering for the NHS

Volunteering discussions are still super active. Perhaps not a surprise that over half a million people volunteered to help the NHS this week.

NHS Doctor request for volunteers

Virtual fitness

Parents are also discussing online fitness for their kids. Joe Wick’s free morning workout is proving to be very popular with our members. Dogs are also getting more exercise, a more popular chore than clearing the dishwasher.

We are delighted to announce one of our business sponsors is now offering a FREE 15 minute session for kids starting at 3pm, if you have managed to stick to some kind of school timetable for the day. Go to https://www.instagram.com/niix.fit/?hl=en to take advantage of these fun sessions.


Here we will share with you some of the wonderful ways that Classlist Ambassadors are helping their school communities. Here are the top three trends for this week:

Grandparent talking to another grandparent from their grandchildren's school.
Grandparent talking to another grandparent from their grandchildren’s school.

Looking after grandparents

Years ago we built in grandparent membership for the obvious reason that many grandparents are involved in regularly caring for their grandchildren, especially school pickups and drop offs.

Another trend we observed, was that a sizeable number of our members were the ‘sandwich generation’, responsible for looking after younger children and their parents at the same time. We saw grandparent coffee mornings being set up to enable grandparents to meet each other and make friends around their common interest – their grandchildren.

Face to face meet ups will be a challenge for this group in the next few months. Classlist is helping however to identify those grandparents living locally by encouraging them to share their location when they join Classlist. The landline is a lifeline for this generation. The Classlist contact list that displays phone numbers offers familiar ground. We’re taking this a step further with a gentle nudge to [encourage grandparents to call each other during this time of prolonged isolation].

Here is a video link showing [how to add grandparents to their school community on Classlist]

COVID-19 Q&A Groups

An opportunity for communities to ask questions of its leaders is good practice, essential when the landscape is changing so rapidly. Setting up a group on Classlist in which parents can post questions for school leadership to answer is an effective way of curbing the rumour mill propagating untruths on unreliable WhatsApp groups.

A group that is accessible to the school community but not linked up with other social media is an effective way of addressing parent concerns.

Arranging volunteers

Signing up volunteers is an essential role parent associations carry out. The peak season for needing helpers is usually at Christmas at the fete or in the summer term for the Christmas fair. These organisational skills are now being put to use to help support those families in the school that are already self isolating. We are seeing parent associations suggesting to those families in isolation to create on classlist events a ‘wish list’.Here is a list of the kind of things featuring:

  • Virtual playdates
  • Virtual happy hours
  • Virtual homework sessions for specific subjects
  • Dog walking rotas
  • Offers to take pictures or capture videos of school events that are still continuing. Music concerts for example.

Here is a link to [some kind of resource or video to help set up help]

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