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Tips for a Terrific Term 1

December, 2017

The heat is on and the pressure’s high!

We understand how busy this time of year can be and there is still plenty to do. While we’re all looking forward to getting a break during the holiday season, the team here are not going to take our foot off the gas until we get done what needs to be done.

Here are some ideas that could help you for the beginning of the new school year.

Considerations for Term 1

A helping hand

Did you know you can add pre-enrols to your School-links system and include them in your end-of-year/beginning of Term 1 communications? Manually add them as Caregivers or Associates and make sure you include them in the relevant groups. You’ll need to manually remove them after school starts but that’s not hard. If you need to know more please contact the helpdesk.

If your School-links data is up-to-date then you’ll be able to use the School-links app to send relevant texts for the start of the new year. Download the School-links Emergency Alerts App from iTunes or the Google Play store. Then you can send a text message to remind your school community about stationery purchases/requirements, uniform shop sales/times, start dates for T1 2018 etc, all from your mobile phone (anytime, anywhere).

If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, then you can still send texts or emails from your computer on the School-links portal. Log in and go to Messages > Create Message > Send a text and/or email or both.

It would be a good idea to update your School-links data just prior to school finishing so the most up to date data will be there if you need to send out messages over the holiday break.

There’s nothing like having students turn up on the right day and being prepared, and those pre-term communications are a great way to welcome your students and set them up for the school year.

New communication platform – Beep

Sometime near Term 1, you might notice a few new options in School-links when you send messages. Don’t panic — you can still send out texts and emails as you did before — only now, you can choose to send smartphone push notifications (we call them Beeps).
Find out more about Beep.

Using Parent Interviews Module to set up Uniform Shop allocated times

For schools or centres using School-links Parent Interviews module, are you aware you could use this to set up dates and times for the Uniform Shop, and publicise it prior to the close of school? Just ask if you need more information on this.

Reduce stress levels in an emergency

Whether it be to alert parents after an earthquake or during a lockdown, it is important to have the ability to contact your school community fast and efficiently. The School-links Emergency App and platform enables remote access from school management smartphones to send bulk text alerts to all your parents, staff and students, quickly and securely – in under 30 seconds.

So how does it work? Watch the video here.

Parent Interviews updates for the New Year

There are some updates coming up for Parent Interviews in the New Year that will be of value to current and new users alike. Aside from some enhancements to the look and feel there will be at least one major new feature.

We expect that you will be able to set up interviews where more than one family can book the same time with a teacher. This is something that has been requested by schools who run student-led conferences with multiple families in the classroom at the same time.

If you’re not a current user of Parent Interviews please ask how we can make it part of your plan.

What areas will require updating for 2018?

One of the questions we get asked in the new year is, “what about updating last years’ 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 have to 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.

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

Don’t get caught out! – Email addresses

If an email address in School-links is entered incorrectly it will show “email bouncing’ next to the name in the Caregivers/Teacher lists (under Users & Groups), as the email address has been returned as not valid.

Common issues schools should be aware of when entering (pre-) enrolment data is that:

  1. gmail addresses are always gmail.comnever gmail.co.nz. It will return as undeliverable if you use gmail.co.nz.
  2. gamil.com is a common typo of gmail.com
  3. Xtra addresses are xtra.co.nz, not extra.co.nz
  4. Vodafone has closed down its email services as of 30 November 2017. Affected email domains include clear.net.nz, paradise.net.nz, vodafone.co.nz, vodafone.net.nz, and ihug.co.nz. To ensure delivery of emails you should get caregivers/staff to provide their replacement email addresses. While Vodafone is forwarding emails from the old addresses to the new ones, it’s best to use the new ones. Further information is available here.

Encouraging parents to connect

August, 2015

School-links

Children spend most of their waking hours at school. However, many parents feel alienated and uninformed about their child’s school life.

This should be of concern to schools, as studies show that parents who are involved in school life are more likely to be supportive of their child’s education and have better relationships with teachers. Parents also benefit from being part of a supportive community of like-minded people and finding their identity within the school. Teachers benefit from the extra support; and parent involvement also reinforces the importance of learning and development in a child.

Win, win, win.

Is your school putting in enough effort to include parents?

The key influencing predictor to parent support of their child’s learning is not parent or child behaviour or attitudes, but the school’s behaviour and attitudes. When parents feel that the school is actively pursuing to involve them, they generally respond by becoming more involved in their child’s education.

Does your school have the right attitude to involving parents? Does it have an accommodating organisational structure? Are you using effective communication methodologies with parents?

It is the school’s role to help parents feel welcome and to find a place in the school network where they feel valued and will make a positive impact.

However, even though some parents want to play a part in their child’s school life, they just don’t know how to make a contribution.

Check out this infographic for ideas on how parents can be involved in school life.

There are many different roles for parents to play that they may not be aware of.

This is where strong communication is essential.

Clear, effective communication between the school and parents will help keep them informed of opportunities to contribute to the school and feel like the school really wants them to be a part of the community.

If cost and time consumption of regular communication to parents is a barrier, there are many technology alternatives to traditional expensive letters, phone calls and paper notices.

Instant messaging appsSMS integrated email and mass text messaging systems are popular low cost communication options that schools across New Zealand are utilising to keep parents in the loop about school involvement opportunities.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper.

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Want to learn more? Enquire now.

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