This year the NS staff will be moving to a different method of communication with parents, and potentially students. Alert Solutions is a program that works with PowerSchool to notify parents of any important information alerts including report cards, progress reports, application deadlines, senior letters, as well as emergency notifications.
“We were mostly interested in adding this on to our PowerSchool program so that we could establish some ready-made emergency alerts,” principal Nan Ault said.
For example, if the school has a lockdown or any other problem, staff can alert parents quickly by simply clicking a previously prepared message. Messages will be sent through email, voice message to home phone and cell phone, or text.
However, emergency situations aren’t the only way that Alert Solutions will be beneficial to our school.
“Mailing report cards and other letters home gets really expensive,” Ault said, “and we can almost pay for the program twice this year with how much we save by not mailing them.”
Besides saving money, it is a more efficient way of making sure everyone gets the information they need. It also works within PowerSchool, a program that everyone already uses, so no one has to worry about downloading, updating, or checking a different app.
Alert Solutions can also be used to get specific class information to students. If parents choose, they can enter their student’s cell phone numbers into the program. Teachers can create groups, but still won’t be able to see individual numbers. This feature will work essentially like the Remind app, but will be self-contained in PowerSchool.
“Alert Solutions is fantastic because we save money, we improve communication dramatically, and we are better prepared for an emergency,” said counselor Ben Cox.
Just like any program, Alert Solutions has had its issues, and the first attempt reached only about half of the parents. This problem can be easily fixed, but it will require parents to make sure their email and phone information is up-to-date, as well as setting preferences.
“Theoretically it’ll be an amazing communication tool with parents,” Cox said, “the trick is making sure that parents do what they need to do on their end to get it set up correctly.”
The first quarter report card will be the last one that is mailed home, along with instructions guiding parents on how to get set up on their end, which will help everyone get the most out of what this program has to offer.