Quaker Valley School District plans to launch a new mass communication system to better reach families and keep folks informed about district activities.

The board recently approved spending about $9,800 annually over the next three years for ParentSquare, a communication tool district officials believe will help save time and streamline operations.

The system can send out text, email and voice messaging alerts to parents, staff, students and community members. It also has a translator with more than 100 languages.

“It also has additional features to it which allows for classroom notifications,” said Brett Slezak, district director of innovation. “Sports teams and clubs could be able to create groups that they can message out. It’s more like a whole encompassing platform as opposed to a typical mass notification alert system.”

ParentSquare is expected to be in operation July 1.

It replaces the district’s previous system, SwiftK12 through Rave Mobile Safety.

Michelle Dietz, the district’s director of communications, said it was not as robust as ParentSquare and didn’t have as many features.

Quaker Valley began searching for a new provider in January for the 2025-26 school year.

However, the district received notification from SwiftK12 in April that the system would no longer be supported at the end of this month.

“Fortunately, we had been vetting a bunch of different programs already,” Slezak said. “When SwiftK12 decided to cease existing, it kind of pushed that timeline up and condensed it a lot faster than we had anticipated.”

Parents don’t need to sign up for ParentSquare. They will automatically be registered with the new system.

Nondistrict families will be able to sign up for district-level announcements such as school musicals, plays, closures and games.

Slezak said he is familiar with ParentSquare from his time working for Bethel Park School District, and he believes it will be a benefit to Quaker Valley.

“We’re aware of a number of other local districts who also use ParentSquare,” Dietz said. “We were able to get feedback from parents and other staff members of those school districts. It received really positive reviews.

“We’re going to ease into all of its features. We don’t want to do it all at once. We want to make sure that we do it right and that everybody has appropriate training. Our main focus will be on district-level notifications, building-level notifications.

“From there, we’ll get people trained and ready to use some of those additional features.”

The district ran system tests and was training people the past couple of weeks.

Slezak said everything appears to be operational for the launch.

Coaches will eventually be able to create their own team text chains and send players mass messages about practices, games and related activities.

Parents will eventually be able to sign off on permission slips, absentee excuses and other forms through the app.

More information about ParentSquare is expected to be posted in the coming months on the district’s website, qvsd.org.

Michael DiVittorio is a TribLive reporter covering general news in Western Pennsylvania, with a penchant for festivals and food. He can be reached at mdivittorio@triblive.com.