“We selected Pardot because it was a cost- effective, simple solution that made a lot of sense for us. Its user interface is easier to use and the integration with Salesforce is seamless.” - Samantha Kessel, Parent/Student Portal Outreach Coordinator, Denver Public Schools

Denver Public Schools improves communication with parents

As a way for parents to stay involved and up to date 24/7 with their child’s academic progress, DPS offers an online Parent Portal where parents can view attendance, grades, assessment scores, and much more. The tool provides parents with information to drive more meaningful conversations with their children and with teachers.

Engaging Parents More Deeply

To encourage adoption and usage, the Parent Portal team sends bi-monthly newsletters and periodic notifications to all 54,000 parents who have an active Parent Portal account. In the past, the team had multiple systems to create its newsletter, pull contacts, and send communications, which was cumbersome. The newsletter presentation was inconsistent among operating systems, and the tools did not have the capability to store all of their contacts—until they found Salesforce.

The previous solution “just wasn’t intuitive and couldn’t handle all the intricacies of our student household relationships,” says Samantha Kessel, Parent/Student Portal Outreach Coordinator.

“Our department did not have the capacity to filter contacts or use sophisticated methods of outreach the way we needed,” says Daniel Houser, the district’s Family Empowerment and Systems Integration Specialist.

As the collaborative partnership between the Parent Portal team and DPS’ Office of Family and Community Engagements’ Family Empowerment team deepened, conversations started about their shared need to better communicate with DPS parents. They sought a solution that could reach different segments of Denver’s diverse community, and which would allow sharing information more effectively with parents.

“Our goal is to increase family engagement by supporting the foundation of an academic partnership between a parent, their child, and the school,” Houser adds. “To help meet this goal we needed to find a tool to facilitate more equitable communication to our parents about district events, trainings, and available resources while having the ability to track a parent’s engagement journey. Parents fill out forms at our events that ask them how they want to be involved and we want to make sure we are providing them opportunities to have their voices heard.”

A Solution With a Wide (or Narrow) Reach

Together, the two departments selected Salesforce as a shared CRM with Pardot to streamline their communications.

Pardot is a marketing automation solution that lets district communications teams engage at a deeper level with their contacts. Kessel and Houser saw Pardot as an innovative solution to meet their needs.

“We selected Pardot because it was a cost-effective, simple solution that made a lot of sense for us,” Kessel says. “Its user interface is easier to use and the integration with Salesforce is seamless.”

Kessel uses Pardot to produce professional-looking newsletters and easily sync contact information. Pardot allows the team to send more targeted communications by segmenting contacts.

“We are able to track click rates and monitor which links our parents click on the most,” she notes. “This type of data assists us in understanding the particular topics our parents are interested in and helps us develop content that is more impactful to our audiences.”

The Empowerment team uses Pardot’s custom filters to send email messages, notices, and invitations to neighborhood-specific events to DPS parents in their native languages. It draws on Pardot’s capabilities to track the outgoing communications and create different campaigns to parents who have not opened an email or responded to an invite request.

Saving Precious Time

Kessel says Pardot’s integration with Salesforce and its usability are big advantages: “The newsletters have a cleaner look. We can track our campaigns, and truly follow the parent communication journey through a more streamlined process, saving a lot of time.”

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