BrightArrow Capabilities — Direct Chat Two-Way Communication Portal
For effective communication between your schools and your school community, a two-way dialog is often necessary, at many levels. A tool you can use for this purpose, at no additional charge, is the BrightArrow Direct Chat Portal. With this portal, you can provide a web link to all parents, students, staff and community members so they can ask questions, register concerns, or even just provide feedback.
Without a tool like Direct Chat, parents reach out either to email addresses on your website, or through their respective school’s teachers and principals. With Direct Chat, parents and community members can initiate the communication in a way that is much more tightly managed. Not only can they be assured they are reaching the right person, but the system manages both sides of the communication so that questions, suggestions and complaints are indeed addressed properly instead of becoming lost in an email inbox.
Here is the sequence of what happens when a parent clicks on the Direct Chat portal link (thank you, Judson ISD, for letting us use your Direct Chat Portal as an example).
Once a parent or community member clicks on the link, this page appears:
The top section above relates to the different categories of communication. Each button is linked with one or more staff members who will be receiving the respective requests or comments from the person who selects it. The lower section can be a list of schools, or for a larger district
(such as Judson ISD) it can be a button you click to see button for each of the individual schools.
For example, if I click on “Elementary Schools” button above, I see the below choices:
Let’s now say the parent wants to report a school transportation issue. They would click on transportation in the first page:
The parent then fills in the Direct Chat page with their question or comment, and presses the Submit button.
The parent then sees this window:
At the same time, the appropriate staff member (or members) receives an email with a link. When they click on the link, they see the below form. If they want to assign it to another department, they can do so from a menu as illustrated below:
If the message is for that staff member to address, they can respond by filling out the form and choosing the appropriate button at the bottom.
The parent then receives an email, and when they click on the link in the email, they see this:
In fact, the conversion can go back and forth as many times as is necessary to effectively address the issue or concern. Here are the advantages of Direct Chat over an email communication thread:
Since the district or school identifies the correct person for each department, and the system lets them setup the links appropriately, the communication is always directed to the correct person, without revealing email addresses.
If you identify multiple people for each department, then it can be assured that somebody will answer even if one of the people may be out of the office.
If one person answers, their colleague sees that and doesn’t need to worry about double-answering.
The system checks to make sure each issue is addressed promptly (the time-frame can be adapted to our site). If nobody responds, the system automatically reminds the person, as well as escalating it to the appropriate communication supervisor, so a lack of response is very visible. It will keep doing so daily until there is a response or the issue is explicitly closed.
There is also a full log of all communication available to the authorized administrators.
In summary, Direct Chat is a managed two-way communication mechanism to allow parents, students, staff and community members a way to reach out to the correct person. It helps ensure all communications are addressed and logged for future review. This level of communication can greatly enhance a school or district’s efficiency, reliability and accountability in communicating with their community. The best thing is that you can acquire this entire system without paying any more than what you are already paying for your BrightArrow Notification system. If you would like to set it up, please schedule a time with one of us at GetTechSupport@BrightArrow.com to help you setup the categories and layout.
If you would like a PDF of this step-by-step process, click the button below to download it.
The issue of school safety is a major concern across our country. Therefore, schools and districts are more motivated than ever to ensure a safe and secure environment for students and staff, while being able to greatly enhance parent communication during a crisis. With every emergency situation comes panic and chaos, therefore, having a school safety plan in place will better equip administrators to alleviate the level of chaos during those critical times. BrightArrow and identiMetrics have partnered to provide you with RallyPoint, a critical communication and messaging software tool specifically designed for school emergency situations. Click the button below to learn more about this seamless, integrated package.
BrightArrow’s Integration with PowerSchool 12
Are you familiar with the introduction of PowerSchool 12, as a new contacts piece? Some of you may know it as the long awaited “Unlimited Contacts” module. If you’ve been with BrightArrow since PowerSchool 11 or earlier, you may wonder what your options are with the new module. BrightArrow has created a document to answer all of your immediate questions in order to become more knowledgeable and better understand what you need to know to make a confident decision regarding how this will affect your communications. Click the button below to view the “question and answer” document.
BrightArrow’s notification solution provides users with a number of list creation tools that uses a simple process of sending messages to specific groups of parents, students and staff. The capabilities with creating lists are endless, with the option of Subset and Superset lists. Take some time by clicking the button below to learn the steps you take to create lists using BrightArrow’s notification system.
We offer the bundled combination of: Notification + Branded App + Website
You have the option of combining and customizing to your preferences using BrightArrow’s system.
Our feature-rich products are both powerful and reliable.
There are many, many dimensions to the BrightArrow Communication System that very few customers know about. Whenever you have an idea or requirement for implementing automated communication to parents, students, or staff/faculty, just because you don’t see a menu in BrightArrow that matches your requirement doesn’t mean you cannot accomplish that objective. Over the years, we have built customizations for hundreds of our customers, and in many cases those customizations simply need to be enabled for your account to be able to achieve similar objectives.
Ultimately, the most powerful software systems are those that provide an API interface. Many notification systems provide basic functionality, but BrightArrow has the widest palette of advanced functionality. Some schools and districts, in fact, can benefit from going even further beyond the features you can access from the program’s menus.
The presence or absence of a system’s API ultimately can drive whether you can maximize the use of the system. If you have special requirements, and you have access to staff who can do some basic programming, using the BrightArrow API might be the best approach. Finally, you can mold your notification features into your infrastructure, instead of adapting your way of working to your communication system.
Now some geeky talk (you can close your eyes for this part if that makes you queasy): BrightArrow’s uses the REST standard, which means the features can be called from any Website or mobile app. From any such environment, you can construct messages, create lists of contacts, initiate or schedule messaging jobs, and download reports. Here are the actual API definitions available, and the number of functions is growing all the time:
If you would like to start using these API calls, please reach out toGetTechSupport@Brightarrow.comto acquire an access code for your account. If you let us know what you would like to accomplish, we can also advise you on the most prudent path to reach those objectives. With these API calls, you can add a wide variety of automated communications into your internal website options. The best thing is that the API functions are available to our customers at no additional charge.
BrightArrow’s May Customer Profile
BrightArrow’s success is measured by the success of its customers using the products and services that were created with them in mind. BrightArrow takes pride in catering to the individual needs of those who it serves. By offering a powerful suite of tools for notification purposes, BrightArrow can equip its customers with a robust and feature-rich system that allows them to arrive at a successful outcome in regard to communication. This IS the why behind the initiative.
This month’s customer profile goes out to Portledge School in Locust Valley, New York. BrightArrow had the opportunity to interview Peter Cox, Director of Technology, and gained insight into why his school relies on BrightArrow for their communication and notification needs. BrightArrow values its customers and enjoys forming the many relationships that is a true partnership. Click below to read the full interview, it’s our pleasure to share with you Portledge School.