School and district administrators juggle a lot of responsibilities, but among the most important is communicating with parents about events and decisions – both routine and unexpected – that impact families. The gold standard for those communications used to be voicemail, postal mail and paper documents that children had to deliver to their parents, but clearly, that’s an old formula that no longer fits the way modern families operate.
Today, reaching parents and guardians quickly and successfully requires a cloud-based community notifications service that works across all available channels, meeting families where, when and how they prefer to communicate. And with back-to-school right around the corner, there couldn’t be a better time to evaluate how a cloud-based community notifications service can help schools and other educational facilities meet their communications goals.
Here are a few examples of how that could work in your educational setting:
School Districts: Disseminate Student Enrollment Reminders and Information
Many districts handle school enrollment in the winter and spring months, long before parents realize they need to be thinking ahead to the following school year. Administrators can get the word out about enrollment early and often through a cloud-based community notification solution. They can work with the solution’s provider to import location-based telephone data, then send a mass alert via text message providing a link to more enrollment information on the district website.
Schools: Distribute Back-to-School or End-of-School Information
New student orientation. Graduation details. School events, fundraisers and festivals. Important announcements. Throughout the year, school administrators have to keep parents aware of numerous dates and information, and a community notification service is an effective and budget-friendly way to do it.
Schools can have parents indicate at the beginning of the year their preferred channel for receiving school communications. Once entered into the notification service’s portal, sending announcements takes only minutes and arrives on parents' phones or in their inboxes immediately.
School Boards: Invite Parents to Attend an Upcoming Meeting or Provide Comment on an Important Issue
School board members make weighty decisions on behalf of their constituents, so they want to know they are representing those children and families well. In cases where a particular issue or action would benefit from public comment, they may want to notify the public and invite them to participate. A community notification service can do that expediently, with messages stating the issue at hand and offering a link where they can find out more and provide input. The service’s geolocation tools let the sender select recipients based on postal codes, making sure all those living in the school board’s jurisdiction receive the email, phone and/or text message.
School Districts: Announce Weather-Related school closures
One thing last winter’s unusual storm patterns taught us: being able to pivot quickly and notify parents of a school closure is essential. With a community notification service, school district leaders can prepare school cancellation and early closure announcements beforehand and have them ready to launch in a moment’s notice from any location, simply by logging into the solution’s platform.
The message can be sent to parents (and local media) using their preferred communication channel: text message, email, phone call, web browser push notification – as well as posted on the district’s social media sites – all at once, with just a few clicks.
School administrators should look for a notification service with the features they need most, including multi-channel communications, geomatic tools and easy scalability. Of course, reliability is also essential to make sure communications don’t break down just when you need them – like during that snowstorm. A cloud-based telecommunications provider that offers fully redundant architecture will provide that assurance.