How do you do....it? Thread, Contacting Staff/Students in an Emergency in Technical; As we don't have a VLE, we are experimenting with: Office Live
to create shared areas that staff can place ...
6th May 2009, 09:44 PM #16
As we don't have a VLE, we are experimenting with: Office Live
to create shared areas that staff can place work for students in the event of them not being able to get into school. All pupils have school email addresses
7th May 2009, 12:17 AM #17
Text messaging is definately the best method of getting a message to parents quickly and directly in times of emergency/school closure as over 85% of adults in the UK own mobile phone and over 90% open/read an SMS when it's received.
Local radio stations and the schools website should also be a high priority and VLE if the parents are using it. Also as mentioned a recorded info line although this could get overwhelmed if all parents attempt to call all at once. A variation on this could be a dedicated SMS text in number that generates an SMS autoresponse (this is something we offer).
One of the other suppliers of text messaging solutions mentioned earlier has a facility to send recorded voice messages to landlines and SMS to landlines in addition to the mobile, which is a great feature and caters for the few parents that don't have a mobile phone, might be worth you taking a look at that. This is something we are looking to add in future versions of our service.
One other method I've heard of but I don't know how popular or effective it is, is snowday if you just google snowday you should find their site. This is another SMS text alert system that will send out the alert for you but the onus is on the parent to keep their details upto date with this site, if they change their mobile number chances are they will forget to tell this site.
I wouldn't rule out email totally as more are more people are able to access it on their phones so could get your message early in the morning but this shouldn't be your primary communication channel.
Finally you could also try the Lollipop man, true story, local school to us used roped in the lollipop man to deal with parent enquires and answer the phones when it snowed hard earlier this year. Not sure that's in his job description but good sport and worked well nonetheless.
7th May 2009, 07:35 PM #18
Just to update people:
As a short term measure we have extracted from SIMS all the parents email addresses (and will be doing the same for the staff home ones), and have put them all into a mailing list. ALthough it is probably out of date, has duplicates, and some of them are definitely work based. It's been locked to just three people, the Head, the Admin Manager, and myself, as these are people I trust not use it irresponsibly.
We're going to send interim data collection sheets out to parents that have no email address listed.
The old system (back in 2006) was to have a telephone tree, for each class, but it hasn't been updated since. There was also one for the staff. But it always relied on people actually passing telephone numbers to eachother. This meant someone suggested a Text service, [I can do this with our mailserver, if I buy the specific add-on and a phone.. yeah right]
The admin staff kept saying we can call the local radio stations.. but I wonder how many people listen to these in the morning, I know I don't.
I've contacted a couple of the services mentioned above, to see on pricing, but considering I only want to use them for emergencies, they seem to cost a lot of money to have "available".
I'm hoping once we get the SIMS LG running properly, we can have a page there that the parents can click on, to confirm their details. We send out the data collection sheets annually, but I reckon there's garbage there... I've seen some of the email addresses...
If we do end up using another company to send Text messages then we will probably have to tell the parents (and staff).
27th May 2009, 05:25 PM #19
- Rep Power
We've been using for years - nothing bad to say about them and very cost effective.
Watch out for 'texting only' products like teachers2parents .... you'll end up sending tons more text messages than you should (because it's the only option) where ParentMail allows the choice of email or text. (also provides single audit trail of all communications with read/delivery receipts).
29th May 2009, 12:15 PM #20
- Rep Power
We use "Call Parents" it is another offering from the company that operates "Truancy Call".
See Truancy Call - Welcome
This integrates nicely with SIMS, but I can't comment on integration with another MIS although I'm sure they support all the major ones.
Basically you can mass text important information to those who need it, worked a treat when we had a school closure due to snow earlier this year.
29th May 2009, 12:24 PM #21
- Rep Power
We use Truancy Call/Call Parents to text/phone everybody. Obviously, it only works if everyone tells us about information changes to landline/mobile numbers!
29th May 2009, 12:28 PM #22
- Rep Power
yes - we have that problem too, but that is also the case with any method of contacting parents
3rd June 2009, 09:01 AM #23
- Rep Power
ParentMail handles the 'parents changing data' problem better than most others which is why we chose them.
The system automatically prompts parents every term (we don't have to action this), to login & update their own details online & we get email notifications from the system as each parent changes data (ParentMail is already updated with those changes of course).
Works well and means we get updated contact data 3 times a year. Also means MUCH more of our messages actually get home than if we simply extracted MIS data which is only updated once a year, and even then we don't get every parent updating us!
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