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MIS Systems Thread, Schoolcomms or Truancy/Call Parents? in Technical; Has anyone dived in and got schoolcomms as we use SIMS.Net and SLG here but we are currently using TruancyCall/Callparents ...
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    grahamd22's Avatar
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    Schoolcomms or Truancy/Call Parents?

    Has anyone dived in and got schoolcomms as we use SIMS.Net and SLG here but we are currently using TruancyCall/Callparents and just wondered whether its worth moving over not just financially but if it works better with SIMS?

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    We have been using Schoolcomms for quite a while now - Just one comment to make - 'Brilliant'.

    I cannot comment on Truancy Call - never used it as we wanted to get away from contacting Parents via Phone (if you see what I mean! )
    Last edited by Sivadam; 26th January 2010 at 04:02 PM.

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    mullet_man's Avatar
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    We use a system called Keep Kids Safe, we moved from Callparents.

    Our attandance officer loves it.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Pity it doesn't write to SIMS Attendance like Schoolcomms does!
    (Or does it now, since the time when we rejected it!?)
    Last edited by Sivadam; 26th January 2010 at 04:02 PM.

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    We've used schoolcomms for about 12 months with no issues - I had a quick look around BETT and most companies charge a similar amount.

    I would recommend schoolcomms but I haven't tried its competitiors.

    Do a search on here this quite a few similar topics with pro's and con's for most companies.

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    There was a similar thread not too long ago which I posted some feedback in. Rather than repeat, I'll post the link so you can see the other comments too

    Truancy Call

  7. Thanks to mb2k01 from:

    superfletch (26th January 2010)

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    Schoolcomms now has web client so I can text from my old rocking chair in front of the roaring fire. Support has always been excellent.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Or from a 3 foot snow drift high on Kinder Moor via your Mobile phone. (Now don't all go rushing to see where that is!)
    Assuming you have got reception that is .......

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    superfletch's Avatar
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    Sorry if this hijacks the OP - it isn't meant to.


    Can I ask those of you who have already implemented these sorts of systems. What did you have to do before going ahead?

    What I'm getting at here is...

    Did you need to get parents consent first (and how did you approach it)?
    Depending on the comms system you use - does the s/w actually hold data (and if so where is it held - local / cloud) or does it simply ask your MIS for the information as and when it needs?


    TIA

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    we use schoolcomms, but i wasn't involved in the implementation.

    i run the client and log into their system and have to run an import which taps into SIMS and extracts all users / groups onto their system. teachers is quick, student / parental contacts takes 40-60 mins from the overseas connection.

    the import at the moment is manual and their are no reminders, though i talked to the MD at BETT to try and get a 'you last updated x days ago message' on the admin screen.

    It only takes priority 1 contacts or 2 if you specify. It only takes the main email address. Bear this in mind, i have posted elsewhere about this as SIMS allows you to mark more than one email as main, so you have to be careful how your data is entered in sims. I have a customised data collection form to take account of all this.

    It complains if there are any contacts in the system with no priority even if the student already has a priority 1 and a priority 2.

    texts/emails are then sent from their system and the copy of our data. for us the phone numbers therefore need international dialling code prefixes.

    one recommended set up is to request parents to agree to using the system, and sign up to it. that is not necessary and we just insist on usage of it, due to the environment we live in.

    it works really well and is used for emergency notices, parent evening reminders, exam reminders if need be. the new web interface is pretty cool too.

    support is good and they are happy to take change requests, unfortunately these don't appear to be published so other schools can vote on them as with SIMS, so unless many people request exactly the same thing they tend to get lost. :O(

    i don't see any reason to call parents now, if you can email and text the majority, and handle the responses that come back, in terms of absence and write back to sims, it's pretty top notch as far as i can see.

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    That is an interesting question...

    As with so many things, I got involved with this technology at a late stage - i.e. being expected to install it when the decision had already been made by Leadership! I may be wrong, but I don't think we asked parents at all. We simply identified an issue (absence calling being inefficient) and implemented a solution to make it easier and more efficient to manage and useful to Parents.

    While we could have just had the Truancy Call (automated absence calling) package by itself, we also bought in to the Call Parents (Customised Text/Email messages to Parents) and Text Someone (Asking pupils or parents to text us - reporting incidents, concerns etc). The Call Parents package was well-used during our snow closure period, and feedback from parents was great.

    As for data, it's a bit more complicated with these packages.
    The physical applications (i.e. software installed IN school) links with SIMS. When you log in to the application it also logs in to SIMS in the background, and pulls attendance and contact information through. Data is therefore still in school, and also doesn't really leave SIMS.

    For Call Parents, there is a web-based product for use outside of school. This requires the uploading of contact information to their site... which I'm guessing links with your question / thinking.
    I will do some digging on this...


    Quote Originally Posted by superfletch View Post
    Sorry if this hijacks the OP - it isn't meant to.

    Can I ask those of you who have already implemented these sorts of systems. What did you have to do before going ahead?

    What I'm getting at here is...

    Did you need to get parents consent first (and how did you approach it)?
    Depending on the comms system you use - does the s/w actually hold data (and if so where is it held - local / cloud) or does it simply ask your MIS for the information as and when it needs?

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grahamd22 View Post
    Has anyone dived in and got schoolcomms as we use SIMS.Net and SLG here but we are currently using TruancyCall/Callparents and just wondered whether its worth moving over not just financially but if it works better with SIMS?
    We use both, the systems see to work fine

    Toby

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Vic - if you contact Schoolcomms then you can change the priorities!
    And it seems that you are missing out on the Absence bit of it with the write back facility to Attendance!

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    Dancer's Avatar
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    When ever the schoolcomms/truancycall et al arise I generally feel that Truancy call is damned by the faintness of it praise whilst schoolcomm users are much more impressed.

    We have used truancycall/callparent for getting on 6 years and all the praise I can give it is that its ok.

    Never having used schoolcomms I can't compare directly but main difference is that TrunacyCall can send a voice call to parents about an absence whilst schoolcomms can't.

    An earlier post said they went with schoolcomms because they wanted to move away from calls to text, we on the other hand want a phone call that parent respond to - horses for courses.

    My biggest criticism is this
    We want them to link to MIS (I would say it essential in all but the smallest school for first day calling)
    but
    We have been texting sixth students (not thier parents) long before schoolcomm/callparent offered this functionality (we had to create a UDF to store the number in as the MIS didn't have anywhere to store student numbers back then). So we used (and still use for the sixthform) one of the many internet based sms services not linked to an MIS. These have a lower cost per text and no other fees (either to setup or ongoing - we choose to pay a small fee to have a number students can text us on) and it provide a much better user experience. The big issue is we have to keep running reports from the MIS to keep the contact DB uptodate, this works fine for 6thform - 1 student 1 phone number.

    Ideally I would like to (in a simlar way to mailmerge reports) direct out of MIS with the full reporting functionallty - we text parents of students who were put in detention to inform them. This is done by someone hand picking the students out the list of all students and sending a generic text. This is done by producing a report of those given a detention yesturday, the report also is used to produce a letter home - how much easier if the report also sent the text with some info on why and where etc(admittdly within the character limits)

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    I think that, eventually, this functionality will be included within SLG. And it might not be that far over the horizon either.
    It would not surprise me if Schoolcomms was involved in this in some way or other.

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