he buzz among attendees at CCPPNS was that everyone needed to check out Jovial, a software program created to help with cooperative preschool management.
Hermann and Helen Calabria, the developers of Jovial, were attending the convention to spread the word, and they were happy to share their story.
A few years back the couple joined a co-op preschool in Seattle. As a former teacher, Helen knew the value of parental involvement in education and she loved spending time in the classroom, so a co-op was a natural choice.
When Hermann became the treasurer at their school, he immediately saw that some management software could be helpful as parents turned over roles from year to year, and it could offer huge time-savings for volunteers (especially the treasurer). He did some searching but found that nothing on the market was a good fit for their co-op. Being a software engineer, he decided to create a program for his own use, and the first version of Jovial was born.
Word about his program quickly spread to other schools in the area. In the spirit of cooperation, Hermann shared what he had created and his work was received with great enthusiasm. He and Helen quickly realized that Jovial could fill a need in the larger cooperative community. The parents became business partners and Jovial grew.
Jovial is currently being used in 100+ US schools and is available at no charge for any interested co-op. Jovial is not yet available in Canada because of privacy concerns, but that is an option Hermann and Helen will be pursuing if there is interest from Canadian schools.
As Hermann put it, he and Helen are "committed to doing the right thing." While they have been approached by various organizations that are interested in using their product, they have stayed true to the idea that Jovial will only be available to non-profit cooperatives, and it will be free forever. Their goals are to make it easier for parents to work together, to make co-ops run a little more professionally, and especially to help with transitions from year to year which will make cooperatives more sustainable.
They anticipate eventually adding functionality to help with fundraising, though right now they are focused on perfecting the core elements of Jovial.
We'd like to offer a warm welcome to Jovial, our newest PCPI sponsor. More information about Jovial can be found at Jovial.org, or you can contact Helen or Hermann via email.