Saving time: Vincent Radwinsky’s story

I grew up in Long Island and moved to the city right after high school. I’ve been here more or less, ever since. Originally I had always wanted to be a teacher, it was one of those “dreams deferred,” if you will, always on the back burner, and I went in different directions. Then I came back a little later and I started subbing, just to see if I would like it. I realized that not only did I enjoy it, but teaching was incredibly rewarding. Deciding to teach was the best decision I ever made.

Before Kinvolved, attendance was sort of antiquated. As a new teacher I tried a lot of different methods for taking attendance. I had a Delaney book—I was going to take attendance that way. It was a very old fashioned punch card system, pre-computer. We had a seating chart where you would bubble in the number for the corresponding dates. That lasted about 10 minutes. Either you’re really into it or you’re not.

With each new method I tried, I realized how difficult it was to aggregate data and spot trends. You can see what’s going on, but it’s tough to really dig in. Parent engagement was very difficult too, very challenging, especially for a new teacher, especially trying to corral all of the numbers—who’s got an email, which parent has the phone number, the preferences. It was really, really difficult.

Kinvolved saves an immeasurable amount of time in terms of just the effort to streamline the process. It makes parent outreach infinitely easier, especially just keeping parents involved in what’s going on in the classroom. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the negative stuff: “your student’s late.”  Instead, you can communicate about things like: “we have a research project coming up,” “parent teacher conference is Thursday,” and “I wanted to tell you what a great job your son/daughter did today, they’re more engaged lately.” Messages like these are important, and it’s definitely easier and more streamlined to send through Kinvolved.

It’s so much easier to click a box and send a message than it is to hunt down the contact information that may or may not be valid or up to date. The fact that Kinvolved and our administration is updating that information and keeping only the freshest contacts is huge. That’s probably one of the most important things—that it’s organized for us. If it wasn’t, it would be a dramatically different situation—if you had to ask every teacher to input their student information I don’t think we would have the type of engagement among teachers. So that goes a very long way.

When parents are involved and you get responses like,  “I’ll have a talk, thanks for letting me know,” it’s not a cure-all or a panacea, but, along with other techniques, Kinvolved is definitely the first line of defense.