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Keeping your School-links database up to date

February, 2018

Why do New Zealand school use Early Notification?

Areas which will require updating now

Students & Caregivers

One of the questions we get asked in the new year is, “what about updating last year’s data?”. If you have been uploading your data file to School-links, then you will continue to do that. The standard data upload CSV files sent into School-links will update existing data with new year levels and rooms, as well as any contact detail changes, and leavers will be identified and deleted. All you do is upload the datafile as per usual. If you entered anyone Manually into School-links, they will remain in the system. They can then be edited or deleted manually, the system will not automatically touch them.

At the start of the New Year, some schools make a change to their Class/Room names ie from Class to Room or Rm etc.  It is good housekeeping to print a list from your student management system with all Classes and/or Rooms to ensure that there are no students left behind in the Class/Room where changes have been made, also Students with no class at all.  Get all data cleaned before roll return.  Also, at this time of year – make sure all students are in the right year level i.e. Do you have Year 0 at this time of the year?  If so, that’s fine, if not then these students need to be moved to Year 1 in your Student Management System. Having all the data in the correct place helps School-links to create your new 2018 Class and Year Level groups when your CSV files come through to us.

Also remember that as far as computers are concerned “Room” is different from “Rm” and “Rm9” is different from “Rm 9”, so look out for those anomalies in your data entry as well.

If you have any support issues or need assistance with any of the above areas, have any questions or would love a chat with Kim or Keith, then contact the support desk Toll Free 0800 333 480 (then option 2), or email: [email protected] They are always eager to assist.

School Staff

Remember to update teachers/staff in School-links – or you can send through a CSV/Excel File with name/mobile phone number and email address. 

This can then be uploaded for you into School-links.

Alternatively, if you would like to add/edit the staff yourself, then you can do this through logging into School-links – choose the menu option Users and Groups, use Teachers – then add a teacher/staff member (any) by pressing the ADD NEW TEACHER.
You can also edit the current staff member by clicking on the EDIT to the right of their name.

All your staff in School-links can be contacted quickly using email or text via Groups, or by using the Emergency APP.

Email addresses

Did you know that School-links shows you which email addresses are “bouncing”?

What is a “bounced” email address? It is one that has been returned as being invalid, usually because the user no longer uses that address, e.g. they have moved to different internet provider or it was a work address and they have changed employer.
It might also be returned because there is a typo in the address and it doesn’t match with any address.

There are a number of common ones but these include “@gmail.co.nz”, it is never “.co.nz” it is always “.com” for gmail, and “@gamil.com”, a simple typo.

So how do we tell you about these bouncing emails? We display an “Email Bouncing” indicator next to the name of the person in your School-links system. Just go into Users & Groups and say, “Caregivers” and scroll down the pages and look for the yellow indicator:

Then it is a case of using Edit to fix the mistake or, if it isn’t a typo, contacting the person to get the correct address.

Remember to update your SMS as well.

How to use the School-links Emergency Alerts App – iPhone/iPad

July, 2017

The School-links Emergency Alerts App allows schools to quickly and easily contact parents, caregivers, students and staff in an emergency. This video shows you how to use the App.

How to use the School-links Emergency Alerts App – Apple/iPhone/iPad from Andrew Balfour on Vimeo.

This short video created by School-links demonstrates how to use the Emergency Alerts app on your iPhone or iPad.

Use the Emergency Alerts App to send text messages to staff, caregivers and students in minutes. You will then receive real-time delivery reports to enable you to identify parents who may need to be contacted by phone or email.

If you are unable to enter the school building or if the school network has taken a hit, you can use any smart device on the mobile network.

Examples of use include:

  • school closures
  • natural disasters
  • alerting staff and students to a lockdown unobtrusively

Accessing the Emergency Alerts App

  1. Tap the ‘My Schools’ app icon on your iphone or ipad.
  2. Note: the first time you log in you will be asked for your username and password, but from then on you will just need your pin code.
  3. If you are linked to more than one school, you will see all the schools listed.
  4. Choose the appropriate school and select ‘Visit as Master User’ and your previous messages will display, if any.

How to type an alert

  1. Tap the ‘new message’ icon in the top right corner
  2. Type a message up to 160 characters.
  3. Include the school name or a recognised shortcode, preferably at the beginning of the message, so that parents have confidence about the source and can identify which child/school the message concerns.
  4. Note: in a critical emergency situation, you may not have time to review replies. We recommend that if you have characters available then add ‘Do Not Reply’ or similar.
  5. Click ‘Save’ to come back to the message later or click ‘Save and broadcast’ to send the message immediately.

How to send an alert

  1. First, select your target audience. You can select more than one. Tap again to de-select if you make a mistake. Note that you cannot drill down any further e.g. to year level – messages will simply be sent to everyone in this category.
  2. To send, tap ‘Broadcast’. You cannot stop the message after this point. If you do want to edit it before broadcasting, select back to ‘Alerts’ in the top left.
  3. Once you have tapped ‘broadcast’, you will see the message and the status will read ‘queued for broadcast’. After a few moments, if you refresh your screen by dragging it down the message status will say ‘broadcast’.
  4. If you have saved a message previously, it will show up in this list as a draft. You can tap on the message to edit it or broadcast it.

How to access the delivery report

  1. To access a delivery report, log in as previously and tap on the message.
  2. You will see how many were delivered successfully, how many failed and any replies, if you requested a reply. As before you can drag the screen down to refresh.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via our online support forum or free phone number.

 

How to download the School-links Emergency Alerts App for Apple

July, 2017

How to download the School-links Emergency Alerts App – Apple from Andrew Balfour on Vimeo.

This short video created by School-links demonstrates how to download the Emergency Alerts app to your iPhone or iPad.

Note: to send email and text messages using the Emergency Alerts App you will need a Master level account in School-links. You should obtain this from School-links support prior to downloading the app.

  • To find the App open the Play Store on your device and select ‘search’
  • Type ‘School-links’ (It is important to include the hyphen as there is another unrelated app also called ‘school links.’)
  • You will see ‘School-links Emergency Admin’
  • Tap on this to proceed.
  • Now tap on ‘install’
  • You now have the App and will see the sign in screen. There will also be a School-links icon on your phone.
  • Now you can log in and get started

If you have any questions or wish to create a Master Level account please contact School-links support.

How to download the School-links Emergency Alerts App for Android

July, 2017

This short video created by School-links demonstrates how to download the Emergency Alerts app to your Android phone or tablet.

Note: to send email and text messages using the Emergency Alerts App you will need a Master level account in School-links. You should obtain this from School-links support prior to downloading the app.

  • To find the App open the Play Store on your device and select search.
  • Type School-links. It is important to include the hyphen as there is another unrelated app also called ‘school links.’
  • You will see ‘School-links Emergency Admin’ (by Devine Systems Ltd, a School-links contractor).
  • Tap on this to proceed.
  • Now tap on ‘install’.
  • You now have the App and will see the sign in screen. There will also be a School-links icon on your phone.
  • Now you can log in and get started.

If you have any questions or wish to create a Master Level account please contact School-links support.

Lytton High School’s power to communicate during power outages

March, 2017

In December 2016 Gisborne lost power for two days after a plane crashed into major power lines for the town. 40,000 people were left without electricity and sharing updates and news with each other became difficult.

The situation sparked Wiremu Elliot, Principal of Lytton High School, to seriously investigate better ways to contact parents during power outages and other unexpected events. “It’s easy to post a message on Facebook but in an emergency what if we don’t have access to a computer? What if we have to evacuate?” questions Wiremu, “We were looking for smarter ways to do this.”

As soon as the power was back on, Wiremu contacted School-links to discuss their Emergency Alert platform that can be used for remote messaging.

Their Emergency App was quickly set up using the School-links smart data-export facility for KAMAR users into their emergency platform. This provided Wiremu and his management team with a fast remote messaging facility to connect with their parents and caregivers – all via their smart-phones.

“I know there’s a lot of messaging apps out there, but this one is great because it can talk to KAMAR, and that’s important for us. That means that our information is as accurate as our information in KAMAR is,” says Wiremu.

Learn more about Lytton High School’s experience implementing School-links Emergency App in the full case study. Click here to download.

[WEBINAR] Capitalise on your edge SMS: How to Better Engage Parents Using Early Notification

May, 2016

Webinar blog

Save time and make engaging with parents easier by learning new MUSAC edge system operations.

Date: Thursday, 19 May 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Presenter: Keith Mockett, School-links
Cost: Free

Topics covered will include: 

  • Why use Early Notification
  • Setting up the Early Notification Group and selecting the recipients
  • Data management issues relating to Absence notifications
  • Managing the Early Notification process in the Unexplained Absences module
  • Ideas around the effective use of Early Notification
  • A quick look at tools that School-links provides to assist Attendance Officers

This FREE webinar is designed to give participants some tips on how to effectively and confidently use Early Notification (of Absences) in edge.

It will cover setting up the Early Notification Group to ensure the right people are receiving the message, data settings that impact on Caregiver communications, using the Early Notification module to efficiently and effectively notify caregivers of Absences, and managing their responses.

The benefits of using Early Notification via text will be explained along with some ideas on how to make your EN communications effective. Keith Mockett, the technical advisor for School-links, has designed this webinar to give participants some tips on how to effectively and confidently use Early Notification in MUSAC edge.

Please register your interest for the webinar here

Contact the School-links team if you have any questions regarding the webinar.

edge-cloud-logo

School-links Spring Cleaning: 5 tips to enrich your school communications

September, 2015

Spring

Like any successful spring cleaning process, taking a step back and making a list of things to do is helpful.

This spring we have put together some tips and updates to help School-links users brush up on their communication techniques and streamline processes.

Current Data

Regular csv data exports enrich your general communications for both text and email messaging as it will refresh you with your parents, caregivers and student’s latest email addresses and mobile phone numbers.  We recommend you email us a file monthly or at least twice a term – some schools are sending files weekly.

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Emergency Text App

Incidentally, having  good data in your portal also enables you the flexibility to use the Emergency Text App (for Administrators /Senior Management staff) to send urgent text messages to any combinations of your parents, staff and students.

The app is available for both Android and Apple devices, just look for School-links (with the hyphen), and the little orange logo will show with the correct app.

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Emergency message tips

A reminder for essentials to include when sending text and email messages, especially for cancellations, emergencies, lockdowns:

  • Put your school name in both the text and email message – preferably at the beginning of the message, and sign off.
  • For emergency text message communications it is preferable to use the Text Alert Centre.

For more tips on writing an effective text message click here.

 

Parent Interviews

Parent Interviews online booking system is now available.  We have partnered with Parent Interviews which uses a simple code for parents to access and book their interviews online.

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If you are interested in using this facility please contact us.

 

Update Administrators

Now is a timely reminder to update your Administrators.

To create an Administrator:

  • Click Users and Groups in blue bar
  • Administrators
  • Add new Administrator
  • Create New Administrator
  • Data Transfers
  • Enable account.

To add or remove a Master please contact us.

Our October Tech Tip

October, 2014

EN Student Report

For schools actively managing students with attendance issues and using School-links for their Early Notification we offer a very useful tool. When it’s time to look at the communications with caregivers regarding the student’s attendance many of the Student Management Systems (SMS) don’t provide the information you need.

Using our ‘EN Student Report’ under ‘Absences’ you can get a printable report of every instance of an EN message to the Caregiver(s) for the selected timeframe. It will show you the student’s name, the date and time of the initial transmission, the recipient’s name and phone number/email address, any replies and the date and time of the reply.

Not only can patterns be readily discerned, e.g. absent every Thursday, but the times of messages and replies are available.

Here’s how it works:

Login to your School-links portal page and click on the ‘Absences’ menu item.

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From the ‘Absences’ menu select ‘EN Student Report’:

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You are presented with a search screen. Put in the student’s name. Partial searches will work, e.g. ‘sam’ will find ‘Samuel’ and ‘Samantha’. You may need to experiment a little with the name a spelling to get the correct student, we can only store what the SMS sends us in the EN batch, it could be the preferred name or the legal name, depending on your SMS settings.

Note: to include batches sent on the day of the search you need to change the Search ‘Date To’ to tomorrow’s date.

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The result:

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You can see the batch number, when it was sent, student’s name, caregiver’s name (Sent to), phone number/email address, and any reply.

You can then use the Print function in your Internet browser to print it off. Or highlight, copy and paste into a document.

Trick: Call the listed Caregiver’s phone number prior to your meeting to confirm that it is in fact a current number for them. Some people may have changed their number without telling you, or simply deny it’s their number even though it is.

If you need help with this please call us on 0800 333 480 or email [email protected].

Want to learn more? Enquire now.

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