Monday, September 25, 2017

Parents and Google Classroom

One of the most common questions I see, from both teachers and parents is, "How can the parent join their child's Google Classroom?"

Roles in Google Classroom
Google Classroom is not designed for parents to join the class. There are only two roles in classroom- "teacher" and "student". The teachers can see all student work and information, students can see other students' names and any comments they make in the classroom. From a privacy standpoint, inviting parents to either of these roles would violate the privacy of other students.

Why doesn't the class code work for parents?
By default, Google Classroom settings in the admin panel only allow users with an account on the school domain to join classrooms on the school domain. While some Google Admin have chosen to allow out-of-domain users, most have not for reasons related to student privacy and security of student information.

Even if your admin has allowed out-of-domain users, I still don't recommend allowing parents to join your classroom because of Federal educational privacy laws.

How can I keep parents up-to-date with what's happening in Google Classroom? 
The best way to do this is to invite parents to receive Guardian Summaries. This article describes how to turn on guardian summaries for your classroom and invite guardians. Guardians who accept the invitation can choose to receive summaries about their child's classes either weekly or daily- their choice. Guardian summaries include the following information:

  • Missing work—Work that’s late at the time the email was sent
  • Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or work that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails)
  • Class activity—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers
See a sample guardian summary. Please note that once a teacher has invited a guardian for a particular student, that guardian address will become "linked" to the child, and the parent will receive summaries for all classes that have the option enabled. If the child is enrolled in multiple classrooms, the parent email only has to be entered and invited once. 

I don't see the option to turn on Guardian Summaries for my classroom. What do I do? 
You will need to contact your organization's Google Administrator to see if the option is enabled for your organization. If it is enabled for your organization (other teachers at your school see the option in their Classroom) and you don't see it in your Classroom, ask your Google Administrator to ensure that you are a "verified" (not "pending" member of the Classroom Teachers Google Group on your domain. 

  • If you do not want your classroom included in the summaries, simply leave the toggle next to "include this class in summaries" off. 
  • Deleting the guardian address in your classroom's "students" tab will delete the guardian address for all classes the student is enrolled in. 
  • You are able to invite more than one guardian per child.
  • Make sure that when parents accept the invitation, they are not signed into any other Google accounts on their computer or device. Having other Google Accounts signed in can cause issues with accepting the invitation with the proper email address.


  1. Hi Laurah,
    We have noticed that when we post assignments in Google Classroom with due dates the Parent Summary includes a due date bumped up by one day. For ex, an assignment posted on 9/25 shows it is due in classroom and on the classroom calendar, but the parent summary would show it being due 9/26. We checked out time zones and added an 11:00 pm date on the days to see if that would fix it. No luck. Just wondering if you had any other suggestions? The forums suggest this is a known glitch but couldn't find any fixes. Thanks!

    1. Hi Staci,
      Are you setting a due TIME, or just a due DATE? I think if no time is assigned, then it defaults to midnight, which would push it into the next day. Try setting a time too, and let me know if that works.

      Laurah J.

  2. Yes. At first there was no time set, so I did edit the assignment to change it to an 11:00 PM due date. I made the edit prior to the Parent Summary going out and it didn't seem to change the dates back to the actual date. I changed 4 upcoming assignment dates to 11:00 pm just to see, still the same issue. The only thing I didn't try was adding a new assignment with the time from the get-go. I'm stumped!

    1. Staci,

      Is this happening with ALL parent summaries? If not, I'm wondering if it could have something to do with the parent's timezone settings?

      Laurah J.

  3. That is something I hadn't considered. I'll see how if I can find a parent summary example of that. I'll keep you posted.

    1. Laurah,
      Thank you so much for your input. We were so busy double checking our timezones we didn't consider asking the parent about which time zone they chose when setting it up. They were set to Eastern which would have made them one hour ahead of us, thus the difference! Thank you!

    2. Yay! I'm so glad that solved the problem!

  4. Laurah,

    I have turned on google classroom settings for guardians, however I cannot get into the option that allows me to add class.