Is it really too much to ask that I get reminders/invitations to events online? I have now had three years of collecting papers, nearly every day, from whatever school my daughter attends often to find that I have missed an event, needed to provide something that I didn’t know about, or some other important thing.
I think that especially in the city of Microsoft, Amazon, RealPlayer, and SO SO SO many tech startup companies, this would be a no-brainer. But sadly, no. It seems if anything, the opposite is catching hold and it’s more popular in the parenting circles to go the Waldorf or Ludite way and reject technology completely, which in my opinion is not going to help the “problem” of our jobs going overseas…if anything I think it will worsen it, and that if anything we need to be embracing technology, and teaching our children to use these tools if doing so makes sense.
I have tried now at 2 schools, in Seattle, which I think of as a tech savvy population, and I have failed to implement the PTO 2.0 system that I feel would dramatically increase the ability of parents to be active in the schools that **claim** that they want it. I say **claim** because I strongly feel that if they really wanted this there would be more of an effort, not only from the school but from the parents wanting more help, to communicate in ways that are more conducive to getting a response. The schools that I have tried to implement this are both Seattle Public Schools, one in the south end and the other in the north end of town, one a very diverse neighborhood school, the other an option (alternative) school.
I even get papers, regularly, promoting things like our facebook group, various google groups/lists, SPS site, and a ridiculous number of sites that would be IRRELEVANT if PTO 2.0 was implemented and had active participation. Add the public blog, independent rogue groups formed out of frustration and it is a full time job just trying to figure out what site to go to.
In PTO PTO 2.0 I talk about things like parents being able to be kept up to date in a way that is accessible at all hours. This means that moms like me with younger kids, as well as working moms who are busy at their jobs, can access information on the website (including conversations between parents about the various happenings/decisions/needs/etc.) to keep themselves aware of what is happening and jumping in if there is a need that is in line with what they are capable of providing.
I am writing this specifically after getting a paper this morning, that I’m just now reading, that my daughter pulled from her backpack before we left to go to school. It was a stack of papers about seven pages that consisted of projects, valentines, pictures etc.. I didn’t think much of it and went about my morning doing the things we do on this day like taking one off her siblings to gymnastics. Then I got home, and saw that OMG my baby is presenting today on her favorite pet/animal!! I would LOVE to have seen that!! So I frantically looked all over the paper…no time. So then I called the school, and got connected to the classroom so I could ask the teacher when this was happening. A student answered who told me she would call me back, and that those presentations are happening RIGHT NOW. That means that I MISSED IT.
I would have absolutely LOVED to have watched my lovely daughter talking about one of her pets or her favorite animal. I’m so frustrated that I missed it, particularly when I KNOW that if the PTO 2.0 system was being used as I implemented it and recommended it be used (parents entering information as they get it so that there is no over dependency on me or anyone else to enter it) and inviting the relevant groups of people, I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN A NOTIFICATION ABOUT THE EVENT.
My husband said that I’m just at a “higher consciousness” regarding these things, but I don’t buy it. I receive evites from parents, see facebook participation, and so much more evidence that parents, schools, volunteers, and just about everyone is able to “get this”.
I’m frustrated that my presentation of how this would ease our communication and increase participation at the schools was obviously such a failure. I have shut down the site as I was paying for it all near with nearly no participation…So frustrating.
I’m also somewhat questioning my application to another school recently as I know their technology is less than impressive…
If you know of a school in Seattle, (aka land of Microsoft, Amazon, & so much more), that communicates electronically with parents, at least entering all of this information on a website somewhere, please let me know. Or if you believe your school has any ounce of interest in implementing a system like this that I can help with…I would love to, so let me know. Just know that I will charge for my services, because my previous attempts to do this just to be “nice” and because it “makes sense” were not appreciated.
Enough trees are dying from all this damn paper that gets sent home too late/not enough information/WASTED.