Saturday, July 20, 2013

How to Automatically Send an Email to Parents When Their Student is Tardy

At my school, I am required to have students sign in and out of my classroom.  So if a student uses a pass to use the restroom, go to the library, or comes to class late, they have to fill out a form.  This started a few years ago as part of our safety plan.  

For about two years, I had students fill out their name, date, time, and reason for leaving the room or coming in late on a piece of paper on a clipboard by the door.  Last year, I switched over to a online google form after Joan Le shared the idea with me at the Exploratorium Alumni Teacher Institute program.  I posted a QR code with a link to the form on my classroom door so students could use their phone to fill it out on their way in/out.  I also have a few computers that they can use if they don't want to fill it out on their cell phone. 

I had heard someone mention in passing, at a conference or workshop, that a script could be used to email parents when a student is tardy.  I thought that that was a brilliant idea!  It was a way to immediately communicate with parents and hopefully change the students behavior.  I had been thinking about how to do this for months, and finally created the workflow after a full day scripting workshop led by Jay Atwood at the Google Apps for Education Summit in California last weekend.  Jay's guidance was key in helping me figure this out.

Linking parent emails to a form submission and sending the email is a multistep process, but I have outlined all the steps to recreate this for your classroom in this video.  I hope it helps others.

Also, I want to thank Kevin Brookhouser again for teaching me how to add annotations in YouTube to make the video interactive.  It is such a cool trick!


  1. Melissa,
    This is such an awesome idea! A big time-saver. It definitely does look like a whole lot of steps, but I guess that's what summer is for. Thank you for making the video tutorial and for sharing this out!

    1. It's a bunch of steps to set up, but once it is done, it will save so much time during the school year. :) Also, I am guessing that it will cut down on the number of tardies in my class.