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Best Practices

How Schools Are Using Linktree to Educate Their Communities

Back-to-School: students at school wearing mask

Gone are the days of getting a phone call on a snow-day or having someone drop off your homework. Here’s how schools are using Linktree to keep parents and students informed in the digital age.

Ahead of its annual Meet the Teacher night, Schuylkill Valley Middle School’s seventh grade administrators decided to do things a little differently. Instead of giving parents a stack of papers with back-to-school information, the Pennsylvania school had them scan a QR code that went to the seventh grade’s Linktree.

The Linktree contained a virtual orientation, syllabus for the year, calendar with test dates, gradebook, book order link, web pages for each teacher, and even a link to the school librarian’s book review podcast—everything a parent needed to help their child get through the school year.

“We figured as a parent, when you go to the Meet the Teacher night you get a lot of handouts and they can easily get misplaced,” says seventh grade English teacher Abby Maulick, who manages the Linktree.

“This way, we save on paper, and the info we gave to parents was something they could access whenever they needed it again.”

Schuylkill Valley Middle School teacher Abby Maulick Linktree for 7th grade class

Maulick is just one of a growing number of educators using Linktree to replace and supplement traditional school communications. More than one million active Linktree accounts are registered under “education,” according to 2021 Linktree data. With schools using social media now more than ever (93% of schools worldwide use Facebook and 83% are on Instagram), it’s seemingly inevitable that schools will utilize modern technology, like Linktree, to streamline their information.

As schools in the U.S. gradually reopen this month, we spoke to a range of teachers, from preschool to postgraduate, about the creative ways they are using Linktree to get announcements, assignments and more materials out to students and parents.

School announcements

Gone are the days of waiting for a snow day phone call, or arriving to practice only to find out it’s been canceled. What used to be communicated with a phone call is now available online, just a click away. Moving school announcements to a central online location, such as Linktree, means administrators can inform an entire district in seconds.

And, since 89% of U.S. teens aged 13 to 17 own a smartphone, according to a 2018 report from education technology nonprofit Common Sense, they don’t even have to bother their parents.

At California’s Coronado High School, Student Activities Manager Renee Aguirre updates the school’s Linktree on a daily basis with announcements, news, meetings, and more.

The school keeps its Linktree so up-to-date with school news that when Aguirre was interviewed for this story, the first Linktree link was a student feedback form (which has since been taken down) sparked by a potential walkout over a dress code debate that occurred the day before.

“We created a form looking for suggestions from them on what we can do to improve,” she says. “That just went up yesterday.”

Aguirre says the school has been using Linktree since 2020, but recently it “really started taking off,” to the point that Linktree is now the main link on the school website, used by parents, teachers, and administrators alike.

Coronado High School Linktree shows events and news

COVID-19 questions and information

Whether it was Coronavirus cases in classrooms or school closings, the COVID-19 pandemic caused chaos among school districts in 2020. As schools welcome back students for in-person learning, having an organized system for mass communication is more crucial than ever. To accomplish this, schools are using Linktree to keep their communities informed, posting everything from public health information to financial aid.

North Carolina’s Harding University High School uses Linktree to provide access to a Student Symptom Screener, which students need to complete daily in order to show their ‘check’ to go to school.

Similarly, CityLab High School in Texas first started using Linktree when the state went into lockdown last year, sending students home for virtual learning. The school’s Linktree contained links to teachers’ Google classrooms, resources to help families struggling financially, and free internet services.

“Towards spring I put scholarship info in there for seniors, and links for different things I found for parents: help with housing, help to get food, other things like that,” says CityLab High Library Media Specialist Laurie DeWalt.

CityLab High School Linktree has COVID-19 information and resource links

Boost attendance for school sports and athletic events

Fostering school spirit through sports has been part of America’s fabric for decades, ever since interscholastic sports became popular and athletes became celebrities. Good attendance at school athletic events signifies the strength of the community, camaraderie, and an active student body. But getting people to come to a game can be tough, which is why many schools have been turning to Linktree to promote their events calendar and drive ticket sales.

Members of the Franklin High School community can buy tickets to the latest Franklin Yellow Jackets games, including basketball, volleyball, and football, through the school’s Linktree. Schools even have the option of letting people pay directly for tickets on their Linktree using PayPal or Square, should they choose to incorporate a Commerce Link to monetize.

Financial backing is crucial for any school athletics program. Harding University High School highlights the school’s Booster Club on its Linktree, encouraging others to donate money for “much-needed upgrades for the stadium and track of Harding University High School,” according to the Harding website.

Coronado High School students visit Linktree to find sports clubs and athletics schedules.

“We put our daily announcements and athletic schedules there, so people didn’t have to go hunting around to find everything,” says Aguirre. “[Linktree] was so beneficial to get info out to our students when we didn’t see them daily to remind them.”

Virtual tours

Besides informing current students, educators are using Linktree to attract new ones by designing their page to fit the school’s aesthetic and using the video links feature to host virtual tours of classrooms and campuses.

Florida State University has a Linktree solely for admissions, linking to key information on majors, housing, student organizations, and more. Featured most prominently at the top of the school’s Linktree, though, is an embedded FSU highlights video reel. It’s captivating for any potential freshman.

Book Nook Enrichment uses Linktree to promote the literacy programs and enrollment offerings at its three Manhattan-based schools. In 2020, Book Nook embedded virtual tour videos, Virtual Program Director Alexa Peyton tells us over email. “Businesses across the board had to pivot,” she says.

To keep up with digital learning, the pandemic inspired many educators to innovate online.

“When so much is virtual, it’s finding new ways to make sure kids are engaged, and above all, that the experience of learning is fun for them.”

Outside of traditional educational institutions, adult workshops and course providers are also using Linktree to post information about their services. Masterclass, a prominent platform that provides video education from industry greats like Martin Scorsese, uses Linktree to show all its current classes.

And for little learners, mompreneurs like Lizzie Assa from The Workspace for Children use Linktree to share handbooks and strategies with parents of kids who are just about to start school for the first time.

As technology continues to infiltrate our daily lives, educators are discovering infinite more ways to communicate with parents, students, and their community at large. Linktree is just one of those tools. With many features available for schools to utilize—from newsletter signups to event ticket sales—Linktree could be the only link they’ll ever need to share.

 

About the author: Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in New York. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.