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Group email parents with Kamar and Gmail

After #EdChatNZ on Thursday night I was really determined to make digital contact with parents and share with them the great work their sons were doing!  At our school we use Kamar to collect absences, store student data and report back to parents.  It has a handy function where you can click on a student and email the parents directly, but I wanted to email all the parents of classes at once.  After a bit of playing around I managed to find a way to do it, here's what I did!!!

1) In Kamar select 'Printing' then select 'Export'  This will save the file so you can copy the addresses into gmail, rather than printing it out.

2) Now you need to select your class - as I wanted to email one class at a time I need to select a single class, but you have to option to select multiple groups.  Click on 'Option Subject' and then type your teacher code into the box.  Your classes should all appear and then when you select the class it will copy into the box on the right.  Finally click 'Find'!

3) The export screen will appear and now you have the option to add the personal email.  The options can get complex here - but we need to select 'general', scroll down and then find 'Student e-mail - Personal'.  By clicking this it will copy it into the box on the right.  You can add any other details that you might find useful and then press 'Export'.

4) Save dialogue will appear, so change the name and save it to somewhere you will find it again!  Open the file and you will have any available email addresses for parents.  At this stage I only had about half the parents, but it is a good start - hopefully the information on the database will increase in the future!  

5)  With the file open you need to select all the email addresses at once.  Click in the box with the first email address and then press and hold 'Ctrl' in Windows, or 'Command' for Mac on the keyboard and then click on the rest of them - All of the addresses should be selected, you can now copy - by 'Ctrl-C'/'Command-C' and paste it into your gmail.  Follow this guide to set up a new mailing group - on step 3 paste (Ctrl-V/Command-V) into the box that looks like this.......

All of the parents from the exported file should show up in your contacts list!

6) You can now 'compose' an email to the new 'parents' group.  IMPORTANT..... For privacy reasons it is probably a good idea to enter the addresses into the 'BCC' field.  This creates a 'blind' copy - so parents can only see their address and not all the other email addresses of parents in the class.  

When you have clicked on the 'Bcc' tab, start typing the name of the group you created eg. '12 PD Parents', the addresses should show up and you can write them all a group email.  I let the parents know that we would be using 'Google Apps' for quite a lot of homework this year and they might like to download the 'Google Drive' app on their tablet or sons smart phone - and remind them that it was parent teacher evening next thursday and if they would like to see/view/share any of their sons work they can email me back and I would set it up for them!!  I have already had quite a few responses and most parents are really keen to be involved!


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