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Mr. Jim Kallieris is Principal at Oak Terrace Elementary school in Highwood, IL. He recently spoke with us about parent interaction issues Title 1 schools like his face, and how his school approached the problem with a mobile-first solution.

Q. Hi Jim! Can you introduce your school?

We (Oak Terrace in Highwood) are a very unique school in that we are the only Title 1 school in the affluent Highland Park area, a Chicago suburb. 73% of our students come from low income families and most come from Spanish speaking homes.

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THE MANNER IN WHICH WE COMMUNICATED—PAPER, VOICEMAILS AND EMAILS—WERE INEFFECTIVE.

Q. What has been your biggest challenge in communication with parents?
The biggest issue was the manner in which we communicated--paper, voicemails, and emails--were ineffective for parents, teachers, and school administrators.

Smartphones are a great equalizer. Our parents may not have a computer at home, but they all have a smartphone. Most importantly they were already using them, and there is no learning curve, anyone can just pick up the phone and with a few clicks have all the information at their fingertips.

Sangha is the way of the future: one parent interaction platform, instead of having multiple tools.

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Q. How did you come to know about Sangha and why did you go with them?
I didn’t know anything about Sangha. I received an email from Sangha and signed up after a demo. I signed up immediately because it’s so user-friendly and every parent can access it from their smartphone. It's a one-stop place for schools, teachers and parents to organize and act on all information. It’s the way of the future: one parent interaction platform, instead of having multiple tools

Q. Did you look at other solutions?
We have experience with different tools for web site hosting and emails. We looked at other software. They are weak on mobile, have minimal features, are hard to use, and are expensive.

The app is very easy to use, like using a simple calendar that supports many beneficial options for teachers and principals.

Q: What’s your feedback on the app so far?
It doesn't take much work from a school or a teacher’s end. It’s just like using a calendar that you would normally use. It’s a simple calendar that has multiple options built into it that are beneficial to a classroom teacher and principal. The calendar supports not just simple reminders or tasks but also supports parent-teacher conferences, e-signature forms, volunteering, material requests and RSVP signups. It’s a good app that a lot of schools are going to catch on to.

Simplified onboarding with self serve signups for parents.

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Q: How has the launch process been?
The launch process was very smooth as Sangha helps with every step of the launch. Everything my teachers need is there in the system by the time they access the app. Sangha did a training workshop prior to the launch and our teachers are using the app. We plan to do a quick training session for the rest of the teachers before parents start asking them.

As a school, the only challenge we faced was that we didn’t have parent emails and collecting them took some effort. Since then Sangha simplified parent on-boarding by allowing parents to self onboard securely.

Q: Any parting comments?
It’s a one-stop app for all parent interactions and the price is definitely right. I am happy to volunteer to talk to any other principal who may have any questions about it.

If you are looking to transform your school parent interactions, sign up for a quick demo meeting.