How Twine helped one Ontario school build community, even during a pandemic

Ashley BellomySchool Management

When Maureen Jarvis, principal of King Christian School, rolled out Twine in January 2020, she was just looking for a way to expand access to the school’s data to better serve their students. They had been working with an internal data management system that was accessible only to the school’s office administrator, meaning one person was responsible for maintaining and accessing all of the school’s information.

What Ms. Jarvis didn’t know was how crucial her timing was.

“We had just become really familiar and comfortable with Twine when the pandemic happened,” she said. “We would have been in serious trouble if we had not had Twine. It allowed us to have that communication with parents.”

Prior to using Twine, most of the parents at King Christian would call or email the school to ask questions or get information. Ms. Jarvis said that making a shift away from email has allowed for better communication and for the school to better track communication with parents, making things more consistent.

“I’ve heard from the parent community how awesome it is — they feel like our communication level has increased significantly because of this tool,” Ms. Jarvis said. “They feel like they are in the know and they have better communication with teachers.”

Twine also helped King Christian build community among its staff using groups. They set up groups for different divisions of the staff so they could communicate with each other, hold meetings and share information so there could be regular collaboration.

And, in a time where the school community could have suffered due to at-home learning and social distancing, King Christian’s community thrived through the use of parent/teacher groups on Twine.

Ms. Jarvis said parents would post in the groups often while the school was doing at-home learning, both with photos of their child’s projects to share in successes and with posts looking for feedback or advice when they were having a hard time adjusting to this new learning situation. Teachers were also a part of these groups and could offer feedback, emotional support, or help with questions.

“The ability to have groups and allow parents to communicate with each other has been awesome, especially during the pandemic when the parents are locked out of the school and cannot do community the same way,” Mrs. Jarvis said. “It has been a game changer for our community.”