MySchool provides schools with the ability to send SMS messages to their user population. Combined with Announcements, MySchool users have a comprehensive communication system which provides a quick and easy solution to track all forms of contact with parents, staff and students.
How to Access
To send an SMS, go to Administer menu header, and then open the SMS window.
In the new version of MySchool, it can also be accessed by clicking on the Quick links + icon.
The user is directed to the New SMS page.
Sending an SMS
The first screen shows a list of previously sent SMS messages, filtered by date and author.
There is a limit of 160 characters per message. Try to be as concise and specific as possible to avoid user mobile networks rejecting the message as spam. if the message is longer than 160 characters then it will count as 2 messages etc. SMS charges are invoiced to the school. Depending on the Mobile network provider, the recipients will receive 1 whole concatenated message, or two separate ones.
Open a New SMS with the button on the bottom right hand side of the screen.
There are three default templates for sending messages Standard, Absence Report, and Disciplinary Report.
Standard SMS offers a free text field, and is mainly used in emergency contact scenarios or for large scale user communication (e.g. Emergency school closure, bad weather warning, import reminders etc). Once the target population has been selected, MySchool calculates the number of unreachable recipients. These are parent/guardian records with no valid mobile telephone number attached to them. A handy tip to check that group records are filled correctly and have at least one contact number assigned.
The two other templates allows administrators to notify parents and guardians concerning absenteeism, and behaviour. Lets have a look at a standard SMS.
1. SMS Type
Select the type of SMS to send. With Attendance and Discipline templates, the date function will appear. This will generate reports from that date only.
The field with the head icon represents the People Picker. Choose the target audience for the SMS. Click on the View uncontactable recipients, and list of contacts with no telephone number is shown.
In the other two templates, the system asks you for the school level to check the 'offenders' and will search for the guardian contact attached to their records.
MySchool will check the students that have been noted as absent or noted for a behavioural issue on the date selected. It will show the number of students found. Clicking on View/Edit list, brings up a window confirming the parents/guardians attached to the student. Selecting or deselecting the check box will decide whether they are to receive the SMS.
In Attendance Configuration, the status must have 'communication' selected. The system calculates and allows the SMS to be sent for those statuses only. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with this feature.
3. Message body, Template & Character count
In both the disciplinary event, and absence report, a default template will be entered that will merge the 'offenders' details into the SMS. This template can be changed if needed, but due care and attention needs to be taken as to the character count. No formatting options are available as this is an SMS.
Once the message is finished and you have confirmed the recipients, press Send.
The SMS logs show the date, author, and count of SMS messages sent. In case there is a problem with the contact details of the recipients the system will warn the Administrator, and send an email to person sending the message. It will confirm the reason why the SMS could not be sent.
Click on the date of the SMS, to bring up details of the recipients, and those that have not been contacted. It also logs the credits used for sending the message.
When entering cell phone details into Guardian/Staff profiles, then you can enter the number as per your national network. If you have users with an international number, then you must qualify the entry by using, for example +33 (2 digit country code) or +1 (for North America). You can also use 00 as well. If you don't qualify the number, then MySchool will first check on the country field of the users address. If this is outside of your schools country, it will attach the country code from here automatically to the phone number. If this is empty then it will assume the number is local to your school.
On multi school set ups, users will still appear in the SMS logs, even though they are classed as past employees in the school.
To rectify this, then set start and end dates in the employment tab of the user profile for both the past and active school.