We had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Arellano, the principal of Commonwealth Elementary. She used Classting in a special education class in the second half of the 2015-2016 school year.
What made you decide to use Classting?
The class that first began using Classting was a special education class where the parents had concerns with the teacher and once we had a sub in place, the parents wanted to build trust and establish a way to communicate with their child’s teacher. Their children had very specific needs and every time the parents came in to observe, it would trigger other behaviors so they couldn’t always come into the classroom. We began wondering, “How else can we communicate?” Communication was key to them, particularly what their kids were doing. So my director suggested Classting and it became a platform for the teacher to be able to communicate with the parents, showing how the kids were doing during the day. At the same time, it became a place where parents could post information and it developed that trust where they knew what was happening in the classroom even if they couldn’t physically go in.
What were some particular problems that Classting helped to ease that were specific to this classroom?
When the teacher posted, he would post images and a caption and what the kids were doing so then the parents had updates throughout the second half of the year. Then, parents actually began posting thank you to the teacher and it created that trust between the teacher and the parent.
It opened up communication even though they couldn’t meet in person. Some students are bussed here so some parents never come to the school site to pick up their kids and they don’t have that daily interaction that other parents might. But through Classting, they were able to see the kids outside in assembly, or the kids doing storytime, or kids working in small groups, which is what the parents wanted; the teacher could show them working side by side or an activity that they did that day.
Another great way he used Classting was to inform parents of different celebrations they were going to have. He would say, “Hey, we’re going to celebrate this, can you bring some items to share?” It would be posted on Classting and parents knew that there was a celebration going on and they would drop off stuff for the occasion.
During teacher appreciation week, the parents felt a lot closer to the teacher because they had been communicating via Classting and they knew that he cared. They brought him all kinds of goodies during that week!
It really made them feel like their kids were safe which was a major concern. It really really made the world of difference for that class.
How would you compare that connection with a previous year of special ed students?
You know what, we’ve never had a tool that we would use to communicate with parents who don’t come on campus so it was a really good tool to use. They’re not here everyday for drop-off or pick-up like other parents.
Any tips or advice to other classes that might be considering using it for similar purposes?
I think it’s really good practice for special education classes to have this, especially for students who are transported back and forth so that there is that communication on a daily basis. Some parents work and are not able to pop in in the morning and the afternoon but you can keep those communication lines open.
Parents are visually seeing what their kids are doing and how well they are progressing, in turn, parents are able to express their concerns and gratitude to the teacher as well, so I think it’s a really good platform.
Thank you, Mrs. Arellano for your time and for empowering your school with Classting!