“I love being able to see and hear what he is doing during the day. The best moment was on the first day of school when I was able to receive a picture of his smiling face. It brought great relief and reassurance that he was doing okay at school.” – Real PreciouStatus Parent on why they love the app

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow and condemned us to another six long weeks of winter (though being in Minnesota, we maybe should have seen that one coming), but that doesn’t stop us from thinking about spring here at PreciouStatus. For us, spring represents renewal, change, and the opportunity for improvement. So it stands to reason that as we start to transition into the spring months, we’re taking some time to focus on ourselves and ensure that the product we’re offering is the best it can possibly be. Our mission as an organization is to provide the most innovative technology on the market, making it intuitive and effortless for you to connect with the moments that matter in your life. And since we value our users above all else, we definitely want to be providing the features that you’re asking for and that will make your experience more meaningful. The result? Our newly updated platform, chock full of new features designed to enrich your life.

If you aren’t familiar with our app, or looked at it in the past and decided at the time that it wasn’t for you, now is a great time to check out how we’ve improved. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know in a nutshell:

  • We’re available for schools, childcare centers, healthcare providers, and military personnel/veterans.
  • Our communications run on a secure, proprietary communication system, allowing the utmost in privacy and security. Rest assured that your data will never be shared or sold.
  • As a result, we’re fully HIPAA Compliant! We’re one of the only communication platforms to achieve this designation.
  • We offer one of the most responsive customer service teams in the country. Someone is always available if you need help with your app!
  • We’re ALWAYS free to try. We offer free thirty day trials to anyone who thinks they might benefit from our app.
  • We can be used on ANY device. No iOS-only apps here! We want everyone to be able to access our platform, so we support all devices and operating systems.
  • Sending and receiving updates is effortless. We also offer two completely different application interfaces, depending on whether you are the update provider or the update recipient. For the provider (in this instance, teachers), sending updates to parents is as easy as sending a text. When you open the app, you will be see a list of every student in your class. You then click on the student or students for whom you will be providing the update, add your message (which can include text, video, photo or hyperlink) and send it off! Similarly, for parents, the ability to view and receive updates is just as easy.

“Celebrating the successes! Since he doesn’t come home and communicate most things that happen at school…this tool is invaluable to us! It helps us engage him everyday when if we didn’t have this tool…it would be much harder to know what’s happening with him.” – Real PreciouStatus Parent on why they love the app.

With the new platform, all of that continues to hold true. Our most beloved features haven’t changed, and as always, we continue to place a premium on user experience. After all, an app that’s difficult and unwieldy to use rather contradicts our core principle of ease of use. What has changed? A host of feature enhancements specifically designed to support and promote the parent/teacher relationship. As we explored in February, parental involvement has been identified as the single most important aspect of a student’s academic success at every grade level – regardless of their race/ethnicity, class, or the parents’ level of education. In many cases, however, we’ve found that a parent’s level of involvement is set by the expectations provided by their child’s teacher. So, it stands to reason that when a teacher is sending more updates that require some level of interaction from the parent, those parents are in turn more likely to become more involved in their child’s academic journey.

The most notable new features of the app include:

  • Two way communication between parents and teacher (parent messaging). Prior to the app update, communications were only able to be sent from teachers, forcing parents to move to different channels, such as email, when they had a question about an update received. Often, this led to parents forgetting to follow-up or dropping an issue altogether, which we felt was counterintuitive to our mission.
  • The activity feed is now interactive. Before implementing this feature, teachers were unable to see if and when parents received an update. Now, similarly to the experience of most social media feeds, parents are given a heart (to “love” an update) and a checkmark (to indicate “got it”) that they can use to interact with content. When a parent gives a post a “love it” or “got it”, teachers are given a notification. This was a feature that we were really excited about, as we feel it most directly impacts the parent/teacher relationship and the parent’s subsequent involvement.
  • Teachers can now send hyperlinks and attachments. Previously, updates were limited to text OR image, which gave parents a sense of what was happening throughout the day, but didn’t allow for the substance of an email or newsletter. Now, teachers are able to send links to photo galleries from school outings or an attachment reminding parents about the project that’s due on Friday.
  • Video capability. Because video is king (and isn’t going anywhere soon), it was about time that we got on the bandwagon. Although a photo can capture a precious moment, it lacks the ability to provide context or demonstrate mastery of a new skill. By having the ability to record and send a short video clip, teachers are giving parents more access to their child’s day. Parents, on the other hand, are better able to experience the update as though it was happening live in front of them.
  • Any update can now be attached with a photo or video. As was mentioned earlier, updates used to be a photo OR text. Now, teachers are able to easily provide context to a shared image, without having to take the time to send an additional text update.
  • The PreciouStatus platform is now more applicable to the K-12 classroom. Let’s face it, eight-year olds exuberantly engaging in crafts are way more photogenic than surly sixteen year olds sitting at a desk and listening to a lecture. We found that the PreciouStatus platform was primarily being used in the kindergarten/elementary environment, but strongly believed that students of all ages would benefit from increased parental engagement (much as the sixteen year olds may try to resist it). Through the combination of two-way communications and the ability to send hyperlinks/attachments, junior and senior high teachers are better positioned to send updates that feel relevant to the type of learning that occurs at that level.

“I can talk with my child immediately when I know about things going on with him or the class. It is helpful to have a pulse on activities and individual progress.” – Real PreciouStatus Parent on why they love the app.

Of course, fancy new features don’t mean a lot if they don’t provide any real benefit to our everyday users. Which is why we conducted two case studies on real teachers who use the PreciouStatus app in their classroom. These teachers (in separate school districts) have both been awarded our coveted “Top 150 Teacher” designation as a result of their engagement with parents, as well as their dedication to see every child in their classroom winning.

In classroom #1, when parents were asked what type of updates they appreciated the most, they gave the following responses:

As the graph clearly indicates, short videoclips were tied with photos as being the most valued by nearly 85% of all classroom parents. When asked why those were among the most appreciated, answers generally fell into two common themes. First, that photos and videos help parents to understand what was being done in the classroom, which then allows them to tailor activities done at home to reinforce learning. Secondly, it helps parents to celebrate learning and ask specific questions about the school day, which helps to bolster their communication with their child.

“It’s a great opening to talk to my child about her day.  Most days she has a hard time remembering specifics of her school day but if I can ask her about the activity I get an update about it helps to remember other parts of her day.” – Real PreciouStatus Parent on why they love the app.

In classroom #2, when asked the same question, parents gave the following responses:

As you can see, photos are still a strong performer, but in this district, reminders and updates were also strong contenders as the most popular type of content. These reminders often prompt additional conversation within the app, which simply wasn’t possible before we implemented the enhancements. As one parent in the classroom notes, with the new features “I can prepare myself in advance for appreciating or disciplining actions.” For others, updates on quarter-long projects, like reading goals, are a welcome change, as they often get lost in the day to day shuffle.

“Our Student’s Teacher sends us almost daily updates via precious status. We also receive a weekly newsletter as well showing what they are working on in the classroom. This is an amazing way for us parents to keep up to date. We are thrilled with our teacher and all the efforts she puts into her students and parents.” – Real PreciouStatus Parent on why they love the app.

Overall, the findings indicate that the application enhancements align with what parents have not only been asking for (we conduct studies like this on a fairly regular basis to ensure that the PreciouStatus app is the absolute best it can be), but what they’ve really been wanting from their parent/teacher relationships. In many cases, the new application features were taken directly from parent and teacher wish lists, which we hope will continue to prompt additional discussion about how we can make the platform more useful. As you may have noticed throughout this article, we’ve included several testimonials from real parents on what their best experience with PreciouStatus has been since the school year began for their child. While the students and districts are different, they all share a common theme: an appreciation for access to more information about their student’s day and the beneficial impact that the information has had on their relationship.

We asked a parent from one of the districts that participated in the above case study what feature was still on their wish list, and their answer perfectly summed up exactly why we believe these parent/teacher interactions are so critical: “More updates and photos please! This is our first experience with public school in Minnesota and we are extremely happy to have him in the Minnetonka School district especially if they bring these types of updates and technology to parents.” For busy parents who work or are juggling volunteer commitments or who simply want to know how their kid is doing throughout the course of the day, our platform offers an unprecedented amount of reassurance and access into what the time that a student spends at school looks like. Given that in many cases, almost a third of a student’s day is spent in a classroom, there’s a lot of time that simply remains unaccounted for, especially when a student is unresponsive to a parent’s efforts to engage in conversation about their day. We firmly believe that parents should know what’s going on in their child’s classroom, and will continue to explore how to best deliver that information.

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