TAS Implements Two New Parent Communication Initiatives

By Lindsey Kundel, Director of Communications

All three divisional administrators, central administration, parents, and others have been working hard with the TAS Communications team to review, analyze, and streamline existing communications channels as part of the school's larger Strategic Plan.

After months of behind-the-scenes work and meetings with (quite literally) hundreds of community members, TAS is thrilled to introduce to you two new important initiatives that we believe will streamline and strengthen parent-school communication at TAS.

The Parent Zone

With help from current parents, faculty parents, and past parents, we've completely re-thought and re-structured the parent portal, renaming it the Parent Zone. The Parent Zone is a one-stop shop for all TAS parents for easy access to PowerSchool, the lunch menu, calendars, announcements, and more.

The homepage of the new Parent Zone is open to allow access even when a parent is not logged into their account, something which many parents say will help their experience. 

According to Head of School Dr. Grace Cheng Dodge, "We heard from many parents that one of the reasons they did not use the current parent portal often was that it was cumbersome to log into the portal, especially on a cell phone. In an attempt to address this, we've chosen to move to a mostly open model so that all information is both easy to find and easy to access." 

The Parent Zone home page is also intentionally designed to work in synergy with our second initiative.

The Parent Post

The school had also received clear feedback that many parents were tired of receiving multiple emails from the school each week. 

"We want to make sure that EVERY message helps to maintain and strengthen the school-home relationship," said Dodge.

To that end, and in alignment with the School's larger Strategic Plan, the School is moving towards a once-a-week announcement digest that will contain all announcements from the school in that week. Every announcement will also be archived for easy access on the homepage of the new Parent Zone.

Every Friday, parents will receive one (and only one) KA-12 message from the school containing information that you need to know for the week ahead. 

However, in order to make these two initiatives work seamlessly, the school does have one request of parents. "Please make sure to read all posts within this new approach to school communication or you will miss out on important events and announcements," said Dodge. "These two new projects, designed to meet the feedback and needs of parents will only be successful if people do click through to read the various announcements at their own convenience." 

In other words, if it's in the Parent Post, it isn't optional reading for parents - at least not if they want to stay fully abreast of current TAS events, forms, and other information about students.

"We look forward to partnering with you to continue to improve the look, feel, and experience of all parent-school communications," said Dodge. "I look forward to seeing the positive changes that this new initiative will usher in for our community."

The TAS Communications Office worked in partnership with hundreds of community members to make this dream a reality. It was designed in collaboration with the school's website host, Finalsite, and has already been selected as a case study for Finalsite and was featured in the company's recent Finalsite University conference as a best practice for school communication initiatives.

The Parent Zone went live on April 29, and the first edition of The Parent Post will reach TAS parent email inboxes on May 6.

These two projects are a continuation of larger school communication streamlining goals, in alignment with the Strategic Plan. Earlier this year, the Communications Office launched a new TAS app (available for iOS and Android) and conducted a thorough parent communications audit. The eventual goal is for the new Parent Zone, Parent Post, and TAS app to be linked together with push notifications, although that step will take additional time and research to enact in accordance with best practices. The app is and will continue to be available throughout this new launch!

If you are a current TAS parent and have feedback on either the Parent Zone or the Parent Post (including both positive and critical feedback), please reach out to Director of Communications Lindsey Kundel.