Peachjar is a tool that my district and thousands of districts utilize for communication to families. It is an eflyer management system, meaning it sends flyers that were traditionally printed and sent home with students to parents’ email inboxes instead. This leads to less classroom disruption for the students and teacher and more office staff time by not counting and distributing them. It also ensures, by not relying on student transport, the flyers to reach the home. Being digital, it also makes providing a color flyer affordable. Teachers can also be given access so they utilize the system. Additionally, parents can forward the eflyer to friends or relatives and share them on social media. There is a community impact as well. Outside organizations can also send their information through PeachJar. In some cases a district may have had a no flyers policy or spent valuable time vetting flyers by content. In addition, anyone can sign up. This means daycares, retirees, and others can sign up for the school flyers. The community can be informed of what is going on around them.
All this saving of trees and times sounds pretty advantageous. So, are there any drawbacks? Like anything that comes to email inboxes these days, it has less and less of a chance of being read. There are so many stores and businesses sending email offers. It all depends, some people read their emails diligently, others do not. Further, parents might change their email address and not update it in the system. While those are physical drawbacks, I think the most important drawback is that it lacks two-way communication. Teachers should use something that allows for communication of instructional goals, progress toward those goals, and an avenue for two-way communication. This is supported by both National Board criteria and whatever teacher framework (Marzano, Danielson, or CEL5D) your district uses.
Peachjar sounds great for flyers. I think it sounds a like a great way to get communication and details about school and community events to families. I wouldn’t recommend that teachers use it for their regular classroom communication. Teachers need to utilize multiple avenues of communication with families and at least one needs to be two-way.
Image: Lorises. It is peach season. https://flic.kr/p/8bfCxW (CC BY 2.0)