Our directory has an alpha list in the front that shows the home phone and the teacher for each child. then it has it by grade/teacher with all the information. So if you are looking for John Smith you can look at the alpha list and call from there or you can go to the teacher he has and find his information, phone, address and email. We are at the elementary level so this is important for play dates and homework help.
We used it and did not like it. You can not print the cell phone numbers on it. Cell numbers are crucial today. And once everyone is in there you can't get to their information again. I uploaded everything from my excel spread sheets and then the parents were in charge of updating their information. The problem is they don't and also JBF does not allow you to print a newsletter so you have to attach the newsletter to a group email. We use constant contact and need to be able to import the emails to Constant contact, well now we can't get to the emails that have been updated because we cannot access the data anymore once the parents take ownership of it. This was a big problem for us. Also David Radin of JBF said in Septemeber that he was going to allow us to print the directory with the cell phone and then his people never returned emails etc and I had to back track and do it the old way because they never made it happened. Same with the newsletter. You get what you pay for and you pay nothing for JBF....just saying
Wow, that's a lot of trouble you had to go through!
Were you also annoyed by the "family friendly advertising" that is not endorsed by your PTA? Just curious.
With the tool we created for our PTA and that is now used by many schools (www.membersandmore.com) your families can even choose which information they want to have published in the directory or the electronic directory. It is great for a PTA to have all family information in one database, but still respect the wish of a family to only publish certain information, like the phone number for example. That way, your PTA can still use the other information like email to send out newsletters or the address to plan a Walk-to-School day . Members & More is a software that you use to create directories, print membership cards, create the membership roster and dues report for your state PTA, send mass emails to your members and more. It is all based on one family/student database that can be used by different board members for different purposes without re-entering the same information over and over. It also graduates your students from grade level to grade level, to make it really easy for you. The software can be used with Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems.
If you would like a sample form for the permission to publish or need other help, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a directory solution (that I authored) as well: http://onlinepto.com. It evolved from the version I developed while on the directory committee at my daughter's school.
Highlights related to the discussion here:
Send me a message if you want more info or to try it out.
My daughters elementary school has a student directory that ALL students are in. Only teachers and PTA members get a copy of the directly. Students are listed by last name, first initial, grade/classroom. This have been an amazing tool for getting ahold of other parents. There has be no opposition from parents.