International School App
School Comms Transformed At Pick Me Academy
After a period of fast growth, Pick Me Academy in Bucharest, Romania, needed to adapt their school-to-parent communications (school comms). They launched their Piota international school app in November 2018.
Engaging With Parents Using Its App
Pick Me Academy was founded in 2014 as a kindergarten teaching the British curriculum in an English speaking environment in Bucharest, Romania. In just five years since then, owner Denis Popescu has successfully expanded it to nearly 200 pupils on three sites, adding a primary school section, gaining Cobis accreditation and preparing to start teaching for the Cambridge International Examinations.
Coping with such fast growth has required adapting practice and procedures in many areas, one of which was school comms. In the early days, parents would contact Denis directly about all matters. As the school grew, this became too time-consuming to be practical. Pick Me met Piota in mid-2018 and saw the potential for a secure school app to both deliver a better service to parents and streamline communications internally.
School app launch
Pick Me Academy launched it's school app in November 2018 and advised parents it would become the primary school communication tool. The school would stop using email, texts, paper and phone calls wherever possible - instead all school comms would be on the app. By Christmas 2018 the app had been downloaded 375 times (April 2019 update: 530) and has been used at least once by over 300 people every month since. The school now sends out only one routine email per month (parent invoices) and time spent on the phone with parents has dropped by at least 60%.
One Point Of Contact For All Comms
The app is “one point of contact for all kinds of messages, both sent and received” explains school director Tudor Popescu, and “it has had a big impact in freeing up management team time”.
Parents quickly learned to check the app instead of calling about everyday matters such as the lunch menu or their child’s daily schedule. When they do have a personal question, the app channels them straight to the appropriate school contact.
Complaints have dropped because parents can no longer claim they did not receive an email about a trip for instance, when the evidence is on the app that they did. Parents submit optional activities choices on the app, making processing easier.
Feedback is also easier to collate. The school asked parents for feedback on the app about a Christmas present policy, it received over 200 responses in a week, automatically uploaded and summarised in a spreadsheet on the app console.
In summary, the app “helps parents to organise themselves, being easy to use” and instantly accessible on their phones.
“We can’t think what we would do without it now” says Tudor, “It really helps us a lot everyday”.
Denis now plans to extend use of the school comms app by providing more detailed information class by class. Equipping parents with even more information will enable them to meet the school’s vision of empowering children to reach their full potential.
It has had a big impact in freeing up management team time