How are Charter Schools Using Track it Forward?

Over the last year or so, we've seen an increase in the number of charter schools using Track it Forward to track parent volunteer hours. What makes Track it Forward the right volunteer tracking software for charter schools?  We did a little research to find out.

Parent Involvement Improves Charter School Performance

Studies have shown that getting parents involved in their children's education at a school level makes kids more successful in school and life. As a result, many charter schools have parent volunteer requirements - anywhere from 10 hours a semester and up. In some locations, a certain number of volunteer hours from parents is required to maintain a charter school's status.

Parents volunteer for a wide range of duties, including administrative and promotion activities, bake sales, field trips, gardening, after-school programs, and more. Some parents even participate in school cleanup activities. These community activities enrich the lives of parents and students, who participate and grow together.

How Do these Hours Get Tracked?

Volunteer Coordinators are the heroes of time tracking. Wielding sign-in sheets, forms, and spreadsheets, these parents organize their colleagues and make sure that each requirement is met. Some schools allow parents to submit their hours online through Google Forms or other simple tools - and a growing number is starting to use Track it Forward.

Track it Forward provides a simple, online and mobile interface to allow parents to track their own volunteer hours - thus removing the burden from the coordinators. Coordinators can focus on supporting volunteers, instead of tracking them.

Some of the schools on Track it Forward, such as the Waldorf-inspired Stone Bridge School in Sonoma Country, CA, track family hours. Some of their families have tracked hundreds of hours over the last year, across a dozen projects and activities. They are using the Track it Forward Group Plan to aggregate project totals and show all hours at a school-wide level.

Other schools which have a lower time requirement, but a large number of parents, such as the Peachtree Charter School in Dunwoody, GA, use the Track it Forward Basic Plan. The Peachtree Charter School has also done a wonderful job of integrating Volunteer time tracking into their website, so parent can enter their hours at the same time as they find out what's for lunch in the cafeteria.

For both of these schools, and dozens of others, Track it Forward provides a simple, affordable solution that makes tracking easy. This is very exciting for us at Track it Forward, as we enjoy seeing the success of volunteer projects at schools an other organizations across the country.

Further Reading: Enhancing Charter Schools through Parent Involvement (University of Southern California Center on Educational Governance, 2010)