ParentEdge Blog

Everything about SchoolEdge Mobile and ParentEdge.

What to do if your ParentEdge message reveals that you have a test tomorrow?

Nobody likes to do it but sometimes cramming for a test is simply unavoidable.  You put off studying, didn’t look at the review guide, and waited until the night before the test to even think about preparing.  Though I obviously would suggest that you not make this your normal strategy for test studying, if you do find yourself in this precarious position there are a few things you can do to help yourself out:

1. Figure out what to study – When studying on a limited time budget you need to make sure you aren’t wasting time.  Your first priority should be to figure out what exactly will be on the test and stick to only studying that information.  Look at the review guide, look at your notes, and think about what has been talked about in class.  Pick out the most important concepts from there, perhaps the ones that are mentioned the most, and focus your studying on those. Don’t waste time on something if you think it won’t be on there or if it will only be in one question.

2. Don’t get overwhelmed – This is huge.  Do not let yourself get overwhelmed by anxiety and nervousness when thinking about everything you are going to have to study in a short amount of time.  Simply take it one minute at a time, focus on the problem or concept you are studying only and then move on.  Stay positive and focused.

3. Don’t burn yourself out – There will come a point at some during the night where you simply need to be done studying.  No amount of energy drinks is going to make that extra hour of time you want to put in at 4:30 a.m worth it.  Get some sleep!  Even if it is only a few hours, it might make the difference for you on the test.  Even if you cram everything into your brain the night before by staying up the whole night, it won’t do you any good if you are too incoherent to even write your name on the test.

4. Focus on the study guide – This goes along with #1 but it needs to be said again.  The study guide given to you by your teacher is the best place to focus when studying.  It was obviously designed to make you aware of the problems and concepts that will be on your test.  Use it!

5. Don’t bother asking teacher for help ­ - Just to save you some time, don’t bother emailing your teacher or professor at 11:30 p.m, or even 7 p.m, the night before a test.  As a teacher I can tell you that more than likely they aren’t going to respond to you.  Why? They probably aren’t too concerned with the fact that you waited until the very last minute to start studying for a test.  Don’t waste your time waiting for a reply.

6. Do ask your friends for help Generally you know a few people in the class and they might be studying at the same time you are.  Perhaps they are even trying to cram everything in just like you waited to do.  If so, give them a call, text them, get in contact with them somehow.  They are going to be far more willing to help you.  My only suggestion though, don’t rely on them solely for help.  You have to figure it out yourself.

7. Don’t just look at solved problems, do them yourself – Don’t solely rely on looking at problems that are worked out for you, especially in math and science.  Trust me, you need to practice doing them yourself.  Simply looking at the solution isn’t going to cut it when it comes to you working something out on a test.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had students say they looked at the solutions over and over again without trying it themselves.  They then are shocked that they didn’t get that question right.  Try it yourself!

8. Use the Internet – If your friends have abandoned you for sleep and you are just stuck on something turn to the Internet for help.  Obviously, you have some hook up to it if you are reading this.  Use it.  There are an incredible number of resources out there that can help you out.  YouTube is a great place to look for educational videos that explain every concept under the sun.  If you are confused and need help, just search for it on the net.  Trust me.  The answer to your question is out there, you just have to find it.

9. Move around, don’t just sit there – There is nothing worse for learning than sitting still at a desk for 6 straight hours.  If you want to make your time spent studying more valuable, move around a bit.  Every hour take a 5 minute break to walk around, get a drink, do a few jumping jacks, or basically anything that gets you out of your chair and moving around.

10.  Eat breakfast in the morning – I know this is obvious or at least sounds obvious but do it anyway!  Eat before you leave for school or go to class.  It will make a difference.  If you just spent your entire night studying, you need to eat.  Your brain and test score will appreciate it!

I hope these tips help in your cramming session. Next time, print a little note out reminding yourself to study before the night before!

Summer Update!

Hi everyone!  We hope you had a great summer / are continuing to have a great summer!

The ParentEdge® team wants to let everyone know that we are as excited as you are about the upcoming school year.  Maybe more so realistically since you know, we have air conditioning for August and September.  I realize some schools do (like my wife and her rather fancy classroom that comes with a thermostat) but I  know a lot don't.  So, our sympathies.  

Anyway, we're really excited to begin working with all of our new schools and to continue working with  our existing schools.  Its been a great couple of years so far and we have no plans to stop.  Lets keep getting parents involved and homework done.  

EdCon 2015!

The ParentEdge team had a great time at EdCon 2015!  The ParentEdge application with automated homework text messaging was a hit!  It was really nice speaking with everyone we met.  The experience was top notch.  We would like to thank MASSP for putting on an incredible show that allowed for us to connect with many different educators from around the great state of Michigan.  It was especially a pleasure speaking to people from around the metro Detroit area where we are based out of.  It is our hope that ParentEdge will soon become a household name in the state of Michigan.  You can see some of the pictures from our experience.  Everyone loved the cookies!  Thanks again to everyone we spoke with.  We will be in touch soon about ParentEdge and how automatic homework text messaging can help your school communicate with parents. 

Common Questions From Administrators About ParentEdge

We get quite a few questions from administrators asking us this or that about ParentEdge.  In an effort to try and make life as easy as possible for our user-base we are going adding a common administrator section question to our blog / website.  Here you will be able to see many of the same questions you might have and what our usual answer is to them.  Of course this is by no means definitive or our way of saying don't bug us.  We would love to hear any questions you might have!  We just hope this makes your life a bit easier if you do need a question or two answered quickly...

What is the full process for setting ParentEdge up?

We require a simple export from your student information system with specific data fields.  Those data fields vary based on the grade level of the school.  Elementary and secondary schools have slightly different requirements.  Once we have the data we then import it into the ParentEdge system.  Teacher and parent accounts are automatically created and linked together based on a student's schedule or teacher (depending on grade level). 

Teachers are notified through email of their username and password and given instructions on how to login.  Parents are notified through email of their username and password and given instructions on how to login and change their contact information. 

The messages are sent out beginning on the day the principal wants.  Each day from there on messages will be sent out automatically at a time chosen by the principal.  This time can be changed whenever needed.

What are the specific points of data required for the export?
Elementary School Data: Student first and last name.  Parent phone number.  Parent email.  Student's teacher.  Teacher's email address.

Secondary School Data:  Secondary schools require to simple exports one for student information and one for teacher information. 

Student: Student first and last name.  Parent phone number.  Parent email. Student schedule including course number, section number, and period number for each class.

Teacher: Teacher first and last name. Teacher Email. Teacher schedule of courses taught including course name, course number, and section number.

How do we make changes to student information once setup is complete?

Each school is provided with a production login that allows them direct access to the student database.  Using this schools can add or delete students, change contact information and change schedule information for each student.  We (ParentEdge) can also take care of any changes if you simply notify us.

How do we add new students?

New students can be added using the production access as explained above.  However, the easiest way to add new students to the ParentEdge system is directly through the ParentEdge website.  Parent of new students can simply go to and fill out a form to be added automatically to the system. 

How many phone numbers and emails can be associated with each student?

1 phone number and 3 email addresses per student.

When are messages sent out?

Messages are sent out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  No messages are sent on days when school is not in session.    Messages go out at the same time each day.  That time is chosen by the school's principal. 

Will the data ever be shared with anyone else?

No, school data will never be shared with any party for any reason unless subpoenaed by law enforcement. 

How are parents notified?

Parents will receive a welcome email containing login information and a detailed explanation about ParentEdge and its functions.  Parents can use the login information to access ParentEdge and change their contact information and opt out of receiving messages.  Parents also receive a welcome text messages stating: You will be receiving homework updates from your child's school.  Std messaging and data rates may apply.  To opt out simply reply STOP to this message.  We also have handouts that can be given to parents.  Full sheet letters explaining ParentEdge along with half-sheet handouts etc…

Where does the text and email actually come from?

The text message will be sent from a virtual phone number specifically created for your school.  It will have the same area code as the school.  All emails sent from ParentEdge come from the address: 

What exactly do teachers have to do each day?

Secondary Teachers: All teachers need to do is login, enter their homework information and click save.  A secondary teacher would only need to enter homework information for each unique course they teach, not each individual section of the same class.  That's it.  Most teachers seem to prefer logging in on a Monday and entering homework info for the entire week.  They can do so without ever having to navigate away from the initial login page. 

Elementary Teachers: Basically the same setup as the secondary teacher.  However, the elementary teacher will have more space to enter information as they are the only teacher on a student's schedule in the system.  They login, enter their homework or parent notification message and click save.  Done.  Most elementary teachers prefer to put in all their info for the week on a Monday and save it as well. 

Do teachers need to set anything up or enroll students/parents in the system?

No, teachers do not have to do anything beyond entering homework information. 

What happens if a teacher doesn't enter information for a day?

At the secondary level, that teachers class is not included in the messages sent out.  At the elementary level, no message is sent out that day to the teacher's class. 

How is teacher training handled?

The ParentEdge interface is very, very easy to understand and requires minimal training for teachers.  There is a short 5 minute video on our website, one for secondary and one for elementary schools, that usually is more than enough for teachers to get a very good idea of how the system works.  In addition, we have documents of varying length and detail that can be provided to teacher as well to be used as a quick reference sheet or a detailed walkthrough of ParentEdge. 

 Can teachers send messages to one single individual parent?

No, ParentEdge doesn't, at the moment, allow for a teacher to message an individual parent in the classroom.  Whatever the teacher enters into the system is sent to all students in that course. 

Can administrators see what teachers are entering for homework each day?

Yes, administrators will be provided with a login that allows them to see what homework teachers have entered for the week.  This account lets principals see who is using the system and what they are entering for homework. 

What other features does ParentEdge currently have for administrators?

The administrator account allows for principals to generate a weekly homework report for the building.  This report shows what all teachers have entered during the week.  Finally, administrators also have the option of checking out daily and yearly statistics to see how many messages ParentEdge has sent out to parents during the school year.

Can administrators send messages to individual parents or group messages to the school population?

Currently that feature is not in place.  It will be added at some point during this school year though with the capability of individual parent messaging and group messaging.  Our thinking is that it will be particularly useful for counselors and other administrators needing to contact parents regularly.  The major feature will be allowing administrators to have a real-time text message conversation with parents through the ParentEdge system.  

New ParentEdge Updates!

We are pleased to announce several new features that are being added to our ParentEdge homework texting platform.  

The biggest new addition with this update is a change to the structure and delivery of text messages and email messages.  In short, parents will no longer receive homework texts from ParentEdge with blank class information.  Prior to this update the message would show every class a student has, regardless of whether a teacher had entered homework for that class or not.  This took up space and created a less than appealing look for the message.  

Now messages will only contain and show classes where homework has been entered.  It will save space and it will make the messages far easier for parents to understand.  If a class doesn't show up, the teacher didn't enter any homework.  It is now as simple as that. 

The other smaller change we are making with this feature update is for parents and has been requested multiple times.  Parent users will now have the ability to change their password to whatever they want.  It sounds simple but it will make using ParentEdge even easier for our thousands of parent users!  

If there are any other features you would love to see please let us know!

What makes ParentEdge Different?

We sometimes get the question asked “what makes ParentEdge different from other messaging programs out there?”  With that in mind we decided that explaining the differences here would be a good idea.  We’ve addressed the 3 biggest questions related to this below:

Why do other text messaging programs out there not work on a wide scale? 

Other messaging applications and programs work in a very simple and somewhat lackluster way.  Their basic functionality allows for a text message to be sent out to a presubscribed group of users such as parents or students.  While handy in theory these applications fall flat in actual utility due to the requirements placed on the parents, students and teachers. 

For a message to be successfully sent out the following steps are required:

1.       They require teachers to create an individual group for each course they teach. 

2.       The teacher must then distribute sign up information to parents and students. 

3.       Parents and students must then send a text message to the application with that specific code in place. 

4.       Teachers then must create the message and schedule it to be sent at the time they would like. 

5.       For each teacher a student has this entire process must be repeated. 

Anyone with experience in education and parental communication knows that every step required to make something happen exponentially decreases the chances of it happening.  First, these programs are not a requirement for teachers to use.  They are meant to help but they are optional.  Teachers are obviously busy professionals who work very hard.  Asking teachers to setup a new program and create a group for parents to sign into is not going to be well received by every teacher.  Once you get past that step imagine the average busy parent of one of your students.  They have a million things to do and now are being asked by 6 different teachers to send 6 text messages with 6 unique codes and then to keep track of which teacher is which in their phone.  Not many parents are going to follow through with that and actually keep track of it.  The few that do will randomly receive 6 messages (if all the teachers actually use it in a given day) at different times all formatted in different ways. 

Now, look at the paragraph above and realize just how much is required for any other homework text messaging program to work in a school.  It just doesn’t happen.  The first failure is that most teachers simply will not use the system since it requires setup and more work on their end.  Then out of all the parents in the school only a few will actually sign up to receive the homework text alerts.  Sadly, the parents that actually do sign up are more than likely not going to be the parents you really wanted to receive the messages in the first place. 

As you can see in reading the above several paragraphs truly attempting a school wide communication programming using any sort of text messaging application other than ParentEdge is setup to fail.  None of the steps or descriptions above are exaggerated or embellished either.  It truly takes that much effort and time to make those programs work and in schools today that effort and time simply does not exist.  That is why they fail and end up being a waste. 

ParentEdge was designed to address the issues faced by these other programs and fix them.  There is no setup required by teachers.  We handle the entirety of the setup by importing data directly from the school’s student information system.  Teachers simply login with the username provided and enter homework information into the system.  The template was designed to take no longer than 30 seconds each day for teachers. 

Parents aren’t required to sign up for anything.  Their contact information is already on file with the school so ParentEdge simply imports it from the SIS.  Parents don’t receive 6 messages in wildly different formats at random times throughout the day.  They receive one nice and easy to read message containing homework for all of the student’s classes throughout the day.  The message arrives at the same time each day and it formatted the same every time. 

Administrators have complete oversight over the entirety of the system.  They can control and change contact information if they want or add and delete students if necessary.  They can also monitor homework added to the system for all teachers in the school, generate a report containing a weekly homework breakdown and view messaging statistics. 

In short, ParentEdge just works.  It removes every step where other messaging programs fail.  It simply allows for teachers to communicate easily with parents on the one device they are never without, their phone.   (It sends out emails automatically too!)

Most of my teachers have websites that they regularly update?

The biggest challenge with teacher websites is that no one checks them except the same 3 or 4 parents on a regular basis.  As a teacher you could have a professional level website that is updated daily with valuable information and it will still be those same 3 or 4 parents checking the website.  This can vary a bit based on the academic level of the class but the idea remains the same.  If you ask a parent to do something the number that actually follow through and do it is very, very low.  They might all check that website the first day and some might even check it the second day of school but once you get to that 2nd or 3rd week of school those websites are long forgotten. 

ParentEdge fixes this by getting the information to parents on their phones at the same time each day.  In doing this it removes any extra steps required by parents and simply tells the parent their child’s homework.    There is nothing to check, it’s just there.

Why not just use email?  Our SIS allows for the emailing of parents, why doesn’t that work?

Email is a great way to communicate with parents.  That is why ParentEdge sends a homework email alert everyday as well.  Even in a perfect world where every parent has an email address and checks it regularly there are still issues using an SIS or simply emailing parents in the class.  Requiring teachers to email individual classes of students daily is something that just will not happen on a regular basis with the vast majority of teachers.  Even if they do parents are then receiving 6 or more emails a day and at different times.  It just isn’t practical and it just doesn’t work; especially since we don’t live in a perfect world. 

In the real world email is not checked every day by many parents.  In lower income families (where there are more likely to be at-risk students in need of more parental involvement) many parents don’t even have access to email or a computer.  However, most (at this point it seems to be almost every single adult in this country) do have a cell phone and the ability to text.  Sadly though, these phones are usually not “smart” and thus cannot receive email.  

Hopefully this helps to clarify some of the reasons ParentEdge just works when compared to other less user friendly messaging programs out there.  It is designed to work in schools today and remove all barriers to success.  We've got some great stuff on the way in the near future so stay tuned and give ParentEdge a try in your school.  It will help more than any other communication program you have ever tried. 

Thank you for the great year!

So as the school year comes to an end (or already ended) for our partner schools we just want to say thank you!  It has been an amazing first year for ParentEdge and it would not have been possible without the support and belief of all the schools who used ParentEdge this year.  

A special thanks goes out to the administrators who had the vision to try ParentEdge.  We know how hard it can be to implement a new program, especially one that involves contacting parents on a regular basis, in a school of any size.  So we extend our sincerest thank you to all of the principals and technology directors who realized ParentEdge was going to help and who made the effort to make it happen.  We truly hope your students benefited from ParentEdge being in place and we hope they will continue to for many years into the future.  We would obviously be nothing without our clients and it is our sincere hope we have served you well.  

Thank you for a great year and we can't wait to get the next school year started!

ParentEdge Official Update Plans 2014-2015 School Year

We are now finalizing our plans for this summer’s updates to our ParentEdge messaging platform.  At the moment we have two current feature updates planned and in the works which will greatly improve ParentEdge’s usability for teachers and parents.  These two updates were the most requested on our Parent and Teacher surveys from earlier this year.  In addition, we have a third update that we are considering however we will be seeking feedback on the necessity of it from teachers and parents:

1. We will be lengthening the amount of characters teachers can enter for the text message portion of each day for secondary schools with multiple class periods.  Currently there is a maximum of 15 characters.  We will now be increasing the number to at least 30 characters.  Depending on the number of class periods your school has daily the number may jump all the way to 70 characters.  The idea behind is this to greatly improve the teacher's ability to communicate details to parents.  (This was far and away the number one requested feature by all stakeholders so we are thrilled to be putting it in!)  

2. We will be replacing the period numbers  (1, 2, 3, etc…) in the text message with the first 4 letters of the course name in secondary schools.  So instead of a parent seeing the number 2 for 2nd hour they would potentially see MATH or ENGL and so on.  Hopefully this will lead to far less confusion for parents who are less familiar with their children’s class schedule when they receive the text message.  (This was the second most requested feature by a wide margin so we are again very happy to implement it!)

3. We will be adding an extra information section for only the email message to the elementary teacher interface.  This way elementary school teachers who wish to convey more than the current limit of 155 characters available will be able to do so.  The text message will not change but the email parents receive will now contain all of the information the text message does along with any extra information the teacher includes in the email only section.  This update is in the initial development phase however we need more feedback on it to move forward and implement it.


New Referral Program Announced

We are now officially announcing our new referral program for schools currently using ParentEdge.  The program is quite simple and designed to provide a valuable incentive to current schools for sharing what they know and love about ParentEdge with others. 

As a school currently using ParentEdge you now have the ability to receive a 50% discount on ParentEdge service for an entire year.  

How?  For every new school* referred to us purchasing ParentEdge for the year you get 50% off the price of ParentEdge for the year (basically half a year free).

The best part: you can do this more than once. 

What if you refer two schools that purchase ParentEdge? 

You get an entirely free year of ParentEdge homework texting and email service for your school!

What if you refer more than two schools that purchase ParentEdge?

We will keep adding free half years onto your ParentEdge service contract until you run out of people to call!

In short, we want you to tell your friends about ParentEdge and we want to make it worth your time to do so.

To make it happen just make sure the principal from the new school tells us that you referred them.  We'll keep track of it from there!

*The only small print we've ever had on this site:

The school you refer must be, at minimum, within 300 students of your school's enrollment size.  Bigger is obviously totally fine.  For example, if you have 600 students and you refer a school with 400 students you are good to go.  However, if you have 600 students and you refer a school with 100 or 200 students it wouldn't count.  The discount will be credited once the school you referred provides a purchase order for the year.

That's it.  

Full Teacher and Parent Survey Results!

We have surveyed hundreds of parents and teachers asking for their thoughts and experiences with ParentEdge.  Let us share some of those results with you:  

We asked teachers:

Do you think ParentEdge has helped students in your class specifically?

78% of teachers said: Yes.

22% of teachers said: No.

Do you think ParentEdge has benefited your school as a whole?

86% of teachers said: Yes.

14% of teachers said: No.

Is the ParentEdge interface for teachers easy to use?

98% of teachers said: Yes.

2% of teachers said: No.

How much time per week does it take you to enter your homework or other reminders into ParentEdge?

18% of teachers said: 0-2 Minutes.

58% of teachers said: 3-5 Minutes.

20% of teachers said: 6-10 Minutes.

4% of teachers said: More than 10 minutes.

We asked parents:

Do you like receiving the ParentEdge homework text messages daily?

82% of parents said: Yes.

18% of parents said: No.

Do you like receiving the ParentEdge homework emails daily?

88% of parents said: Yes.

12% of parents said: No.

If not already would you prefer to receive ParentEdge homework texts and emails for all your children in school?

90% of parents said: Yes.

10% of parents said: No.

Do the ParentEdge homework updates help you to better know what your child's homework is for the day?

76% of parents said: Yes, Very Much!

19% of parents said: Yes, Somewhat.

5% of parents said: No, Not Really.

In short how do you view ParentEdge overall?

79% of parents said: A Very Helpful Tool!

12% of parents said: Somewhat Helpful!

9% of parents said: Not very helpful at all!

So in short:

Does ParentEdge help students succeed?


We are very excited about these survey results.  In the near future we will be posting the comments we have received from parents and teachers about ParentEdge.  Basically, what they like and what they don't like about it.  The feedback we have received will go a long way in guiding our update plans for ParentEdge.