Saturday, June 6, 2020

Getting My Mojo On: How ClassDojo Transcended Time, Space and Buildings

The 2019-2020 school year has been full of surprises...some good...some...not so great.  So, while COVID19 put an abrupt end to a year in "bricks and mortar," one small green superhero stepped in and saved the day!

Our small school district was mandated to close on March 12th, and less than two weeks later, we were back up and online with all students in grades PreK-12!  This small green guy and his crew of superheroes at ClassDojo were instrumental in keeping the communication between home and school rolling the entire time.  And...quite frankly, I think that without this amazing and FREE resource, we wouldn't have had the success we experienced.  Seriously.

You see...while this Tech Integrator worked with her fellow Tech Integrators and administration to pull together the resources needed to successfully launch a virtual learning platform, teachers throughout the school district were reaching out to families through ClassDojo to check in on send out messages of love and support in a very unstable and unsettling assign activities to keep our students busy...

ClassDojo proved to be such a useful tool from the beginning.  It wasn't hard to "sell" my colleagues and administrators on using this tool to leverage communication between home and school in order to form strong partnerships with our parents.  The "texting-style" messaging system appealed to our parents and met them where they were from the very beginning.  

Parkview Elementary has been using ClassDojo as a school for the last four years.  Our teachers have grown along with Mojo and the gang.  As Parkview launched new SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) standards, ClassDojo remained that "perfect fit" for us...with outstanding resources that fit "just right" from the very beginning!

Our parents have, as a whole, appreciated the level of communication.

As a ClassDojo Ambassador, I felt that the time was right to advance Mojo and the gang on to the next level:  Junior High School!  

Why junior high?  Well...quite a few parents were out on social media, complaining about the level of communication coming from our junior high staff members.

What was missing?  Why could parents count on great communication at the elementary level, but then find information short at the next level?  Weren't we all working for the same school district?  Why the discrepancies?

The answer was clear.  The elementary teachers were comfortable working with ClassDojo.  At the junior high and even at the senior high, ClassDojo was viewed as a bit "elementary."  Mojo, Katie and the rest of the Dojo characters were a bit too "cartoony."  Would anyone actually take ClassDojo seriously at the junior high level?

A couple of meetings with the principal and junior high staff answered our questions.  Parents were already used to ClassDojo and welcomed information from the junior high staff.  Teachers found it was easy to connect staff members to their classes and parents were responding.  Connections were being made and the staff was enjoying the benefits of a higher level of communication and parent satisfaction.

Parents were commenting on how much easier it was to connect with staff.  The staff was becoming comfortable with the ClassDojo platform.  Even students were reacquainting themselves with familiar friends.

While ClassDojo's use had changed a bit...staff decided not to use the behavior point system at the thing remained the same: high-quality communication between home and school was once again "the norm."

COVID19 brought our year to an early end...but ClassDojo did the "heavy lifting" and I remain optimistic that 2020-2021 will give all of our staff members the opportunity to continue to grow strong communication between school and home.  

Mojo would remind us all that "The Power of Yet" is important here.  We may not be there "yet," but were are definitely on the path to awesome communication!

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