Despite fast-changing circumstances, their mission stays the same
Laurel Heights Weekday School is a San Antonio, Texas, based center for children ages 3 months to pre-kindergarten, and is known for making social and emotional development a priority. Since its establishment in 1952, the school has worked to cultivate an environment that supports each child’s holistic development -- including academic learning, social interactions with others, and parenting guidance.
Although Laurel Heights has temporarily closed its doors due to the COVID-19 crisis, their mission remains the same: to create a unique experience for each family that helps enrich the development of young learners.
Laurel Heights quickly adapts to COVID-19
Laurie Miracle, the Executive Director of Laurel Heights Weekday School, implemented brightwheel in June 2019 to help her staff save time with tasks such as student check-in, collecting tuition, and sharing student milestones with families.
COVID-19 started to escalate in early March 2020, and shortly after, all 125 students were asked to shelter-in-place with their families. With in-person conversations and lessons no longer feasible and families’ anxieties on the rise, Laurie had to quickly adapt her center’s communication and learning approach.
Brightwheel becomes the channel for how Laurel Heights delivers on their mission
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Laurie and her staff typically communicated with families in-person, via email, and through brightwheel for quick, one-off messages. Even then, busy parents would often miss important updates.
As the COVID-19 crisis continued to develop, Laurie decided to build newsletters in brightwheel to notify families of changes to their center, important updates from the board, and new distance learning videos she and her staff created. Unlike regular messages in brightwheel, newsletters are an easy way for providers to send longer-form and more detailed updates to families. In just a few minutes, Laurie is able to create bi-weekly newsletters directly from brightwheel.
According to Laurie, the benefits of sending newsletters through brightwheel are two-fold: She saves time updating families on critical information they can’t afford to miss and families feel reassured that their center -- from staff to the board -- are continuing to think about the impact of COVID and how to best support their community.
“Brightwheel newsletters have become our way of sending more formal announcements to parents and they now look out for these updates. Parents are in a state of emergency...and it helps me stay connected with all of them. We get immediate responses!”
In addition to connecting with families, Laurie is committed to supporting Laurel Heights students at home. As Laurie and her staff continue to develop distance learning videos such as read aloud story time, sing alongs, circle time activities, and games, they use brightwheel messaging to quickly notify parents of new content as it's released.
Keeping all communications with families in brightwheel, makes it easier for Laurie to do her job and gives families a single place to access important updates and information from their center.
Continuing to operate efficiently from a distance
Laurie and her staff have been working hard to support families remotely, but there are still back-office and administrative tasks that need to be done. For instance, Laurel Heights has offered discounts to certain families during their temporary closure, and through brightwheel, was able to easily apply discounts to student tuition plans, “cutting [their] process time by more than half.”
With the entire Laurel Heights staff working from home, brightwheel has been instrumental in helping them stay aligned and navigate changes to student plans and records.
“Having all student information on brightwheel has helped me work more efficiently with my staff. Before COVID, being able to access records from anywhere was a nice-to-have, but now, we’re completely reliant on it.”
If you’re interested in learning how you can start using brightwheel to help you get through the COVID-19 crisis, reach out to your customer success contact, or if you’re new to brightwheel, sign up for a demo.
Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at mybrightwheel.com.