WhatsApp Network

What is a “WhatsApp Network”?

The PAC asks for one “Class Rep” from each division to start a WhatsApp group for his or her division. The chosen class rep then invites other parent’s in that division to join the WhatsApp group (joining the group is 100% optional; there should never be any pressure to join). The class rep also joins a separate group comprising of PAC executives and the other class reps.

The result is a micro-community for each class plus a connected ‘network’ to easily spread key messages around the wider community.

Why are WhatsApp groups useful?

WhatsApp groups allow parents within a division to share information and support each other. Some cases where this can be very useful:

  • You’re running late for pick up and you could use a hand
  • Your kid lost their homework or comes home with broken instructions
  • You’re not sure if photo day is tomorrow or not
  • Coordinating on field trips or about activities
  • There’s a threat in the area or emergency at the school
  • Sharing PAC messages relevant to that division

Do class reps have to share PAC messages?

No. There is no obligation for a Class Rep to share a message from PAC executives. In fact, there may be cases when a PAC message isn’t relevant to a rep’s group (for example, if you represent a primary division and the message only concerns intermediate divisions, you probably wouldn’t share it).

How do I become a Class Rep?

At the beginning of the year, the PAC executive will call out for Class Reps to claim a division. If multiple volunteer to be a class rep, we’ll typically choose a ‘new’ parent to give others the opportunity to contribute.

Oops! I already started a WhatsApp group and now I see another parent is the “Class Rep”. What should I do?

That’s ok! Email chair (at) vanhorne (dot) com and we’ll sort it out. We’ll designate one of you as the Class Rep and add you to the “PAC Exec + Class Reps” WhatsApp group. Note: You do need to be an “admin” of a group to generate a sign up link.

What are the ground rules?

To keep these WhatsApp groups working well and to limit distractions for busy parents, here are some ground rules:

1. School-related: Please keep messages relevant to school life (no spam, no cat videos, no commercial messages, no idle chatter).
2. Permission: Don’t add a parent to the group without their explicit permission. Not every parent wants to join a WhatsApp group.
3. Respect downtime: Be mindful of unnecessary messaging to your group during down times (in the evening or on the weekends).
4.Keep it classy: Keep communication respectful between each other (much like you would if you were talking to each other on the school ground). If a topic turns negative or gossipy, consider processing it through more constructive channels (private conversations, communication with the teacher, contact the Principal).

 

How should I let other parents know about the ground rules?

This is completely up to you, but we recommend sharing what YOU have found useful about WhatsApp groups (e.g. questions like “What’s on the spelling quiz?” or “I’m running late, can someone pick up my child?”) and then setting expectations around etiquette. For example, after starting the group, you could share a message along the lines of:

Welcome to the Division X WhatsApp group! I’ve found these groups very useful and informative for things like:

– Sharing homework details
– Clarifying muddled communications from teachers via students to us parents
– Helping each other
– Coordinating activities or field trips

A note on etiquette: This WhatsApp group is intended for school-related matters only (messages that are commercial, spammy or unrelated are discouraged). “

If I’m a Class Rep, what’s the best way to create a WhatsApp group?

STEP 1: CREATE A NEW WHATSAPP GROUP

Name the group something like “Div X – Grade X – TEACHER_LAST_NAME” (for example, “Div 1 – Grade 7 – Smith)

STEP 2: FIND THE GROUP INFO SECTION

iPhone users: Tap once on your group’s name.

STEP 3: GO TO THE INVITE VIA LINK SECTION

Note: You have to be an admin of a group in order to access the special sign up link.

STEP 4: GET THE INVITE LINK

A link will look something like: https://chat.whatsapp.com/XXxxXxxxxXxxxXxxXxx

STEP 5: INVITE OTHER PARENTS TO JOIN

Once you have the special invite link, you can share it through a few ways:

Ask parents to text you and then send them the sign up link back (this will save you from having to add individual parents to your group)

Invite parents who moved up with you from last year’s WhatsApp groups to join your new group.

Ask the teacher to email the list of parent’s in the division with a message and your special sign up link. For example:

“Hello division X parents,

I have created a WhatsApp group for Division X where we can connect, share and support each other for school-related matters. If you’d like to join, click on this link to be automatically added to the group (you must have the WhatsApp app installed on your phone):

https://chat.whatsapp.com/XXxxXxxxxXxxxXxxXxx

If this doesn’t work, then please email me at xxxxxx@xxxxxx.com or text me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

In my experience, I’ve found WhatsApp groups very useful and informative for things like:

– Sharing homework details
– Clarifying muddled communications from teachers via students to us parents
– Helping each other
– Coordinating activities or field trips

A note on etiquette: This WhatsApp group is intended for school-related matters only (messages that are commercial, spammy or unrelated are discouraged).

Sincerely,

Your Name”


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