San Francisco mom launches app based service to improve communication between teachers and parents
Welcome to our latest featured mompreneur interview. Today I have the honor of e-troducing you to Elena Krasnoperova. Elena is the founder and CEO of SchoolCircle and a mom of 2 kids with 16 years of work experience at BCG, eBay, PayPal, Zong and oDesk. Elena also holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University and has been featured on Working Mother, The Examiner, , and The Charlotte Observer. Continue reading the interview to learn more about SchoolCircle and how the service works.
Where did the inspiration for SchoolCircle come from?
The inspiration for SchoolCircle came from my personal experience as a Mom of two kids. As a working parent, I wanted to be really involved in my kids’ education but was struggling to stay on top of all the communications and requests I was getting from the school. Most of the communication was arriving via emails or paper flyers, and required a lot of work on my part to figure out where I needed to be and what I needed to do. Despite my best efforts, I kept forgetting important things related to my kids – like sending the library book to school on Library Day, dressing them in PJs on Pajama Day or (worse) picking them up on time on Early Dismissal Day.
My initial reaction was “surely there’s an app for this”. But after failing to find the perfect app, I set out to build an app that would make it much easier for teachers and room parents to communicate with parents, and for parents to stay on top of the important things happening at their kids’ schools. That’s how SchoolCircle was born.
Who is SchoolCircle for?
SchoolCircle is for parents, teachers and school administrators. It is particularly popular at preschools and elementary schools (where there is typically one teacher per class), but we also see it used in middle schools and even high schools. It is mostly used to communicate with parents in a given classroom, but we’re also seeing parent circles emerging for boy / girl scout groups, after-school activity groups and parent volunteer groups.
How does SchoolCircle work?
SchoolCircle is a free, web-based service that can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. There is nothing to purchase, install or download – all you need is a web browser and an internet connection. The entire experience is mobile-optimized, with no pinching or scrolling required.
Teachers, room parents or school administrators create a private “circle” for their class, and invite parents to join the circle. Circle managers then use the platform to communicate with all the members of the circle privately and securely. They share updates and announcements, invite parents to school events, ask them to volunteer or to bring supplies, and upload photos and documents.
All the communications are consolidated into a single Daily Digest which gets delivered to the parents via email at 5 pm, and they also get reminders in the morning about events and tasks due that day. Regardless of how many kids you have, or how many circles you belong to as a parent, everything is in one place and included in a single Daily Digest email.
In situations where a teacher or a room parent needs to communicate with the parents urgently, they have the “instant delivery” option for their messages to the parents.
Please provide 1 tip or resource that will help a mom entrepreneur who is looking to create an “app based business”.
Let me share a book that was truly life-changing for me, and I think would be very helpful for all mom entrepreneurs, regardless of the type of business they are looking to create. That book is the “The Lean Startup” by Eric Reis. The Lean Startup is about how to create products and services that customers truly want, and I think it should be required reading for any entrepreneur. There are many other books in The Lean Startup series that are also excellent.
The other resource I would recommend (I know you only asked for one, but let me over-deliver on this question 🙂 is www.Meetup.com Much as I like doing things online, I also value real, in-person connections with real people. I use Meetups to find groups of people in my area that share my interests. For example, that’s how I found the Women Startup Lab – an excellent resource for women founders (many of them Moms) – in the San Francisco Bay Area. I made great friends and useful business connections by attending their free co-working events and speaker series. I’m also a huge fan – and regular event attendee – of several other groups for entrepreneurs that I discovered through Meetup, like Startup Grind or Lean Product and Lean UX Silicon Valley.
1 thing you do for yourself to unwind from it all?
My absolute favorite thing to do for fun is Zumba. I’ve been dancing all my life since I was five, and I became “addicted” to Zumba to the point where I even got certified as a Zumba instructor so that I can teach my own classes – just for fun. When I dance, all the stresses and pressures disappear. I am purely living in the moment and enjoying the music and the movement.
Share a book or a website you like to browse just for fun
I love to read, and sometimes go through periods of time when I read a book a day. Browsing books or websites just for fun isn’t really my thing, I usually read a book and move on to the next one, as there is a never-ending list of books I want to read.
is a new survival tool for busy parents, teachers and room parents that eliminates much of the “busywork” that gets in the way of enjoying our kids’ education. Through a convenient online hub, parents are able to stay on top of classroom responsibilities without the hassle of email threads or loose paper flyers. Everything a parent needs to know is emailed in daily and weekly reminders, and volunteering can be done with a single click. SchoolCircle organizes all the moving parts that go into being a parent, so you can be confident that nothing slips through the cracks.
Connect With SchoolCircle
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