The BEST Way To Keep Parents Informed of a School Emergency
published on October 04, 2022 by Sonia Mastros
bus route optimization, Student Safety, Student Tracking Software, student tracking systems, School Bus Routing, school bus driver shortage, parent notifications, GPS Parent App, inefficient routes, outdated routes, inaccurate routes, route efficiency, state reporting, re-routing, bus shortages
While it would certainly be nice if we could run our school districts without the need to quickly contact parents, it's just not going to happen. Emergencies and unexpected events are impossible to avoid entirely, and sometimes, you simply need to get in touch with a parent ASAP.
The problem, of course, lies in how to contact them. Most adults today have a maze of contact points, including multiple phone numbers and email addresses. Many may have forgotten to notify you of changes to their contact info.
Ultimately, the best way of contacting your parents is with a system that gives you as many possible ways of contacting them as possible. A unified, database-driven student information system gives you that power.
How A Software Solution Solves Parental Contact Problems
Too many schools today are bogged down with antiquated or inefficient record-keeping systems. Many are still ultimately tied to paper, despite the many advantages of electronic systems. Others are using multiple databases which are difficult to keep in-sync and accurate.
A single unified database eliminates these problems. When you have the same system overseeing your student's data, from their morning bus rides to their parents' contact numbers, quick and accurate dissemination of information becomes far easier.
Before the time comes that you need an emergency contact, a centralized student information system can:
Correlate all student records into a standardized system.
Self-audit to recognize and flag questionable data before it creates problems.
Instantly propagate data changes to every system.
Allow parents to self-update their information through a web portal.
Be accessed any time, and anywhere, even from mobile devices.
This already eliminates a large number of issues that can arise when contacting parents, but it's actually just the tip of the iceberg.
Automated Parental Contact Keeps Guardians In The Loop
The other big communications advantage of a software-based student information system is that it can handle much of the work for you!
With simple bits of scripting, you can quickly set up automated form messages that are emailed/texted/faxed to parents when necessary. If a student is sent to the nurse, for example, the nurse's notes could trigger an automatic message informing parents of the situation. Similar alerts could be set up for disciplinary actions, as another example.
Since the database will have multiple points of contact, it can try as many of them as you want when attempting to reach a parent. Even if one email turns out to be out-of-date, the system will try the next. Or, in cases where (for whatever reason) the parent is unreachable, it's not necessary for a staff member to give up their day calling them over and over when a computer can do it.
In short, this is a solution that can speed up and streamline your contact options at virtually every point. The sheer savings in time to your staff often justifies the purchase, outside of all the other benefits of student information systems.
More Data Leads To Better Communications
Student information systems can also be expanded, to provide greater oversight of students and more information for parents. NFC-based student tracking can keep tabs on the children whenever they're on campus, and GPS systems in buses do the same when they're on the road.
Again, these are all systems that interlink to create increasingly robust solutions for 21st Century school management.
For example, take a common scenario: A bus on its evening route had a blowout and, while no one is in any danger, the bus is going to be delayed while the tires are replaced.
To begin with, you find out almost immediately when this happens. Within a second or two, the GPS system notifies administrators in the office that a bus has made an unscheduled stop. Radio contact confirms it, and a support vehicle can be dispatched within a minute or two of the blowout, with exact geolocation confirmation.
The system then uses NFC to check which students are still on the bus. Based on this, it looks up the contact info for those students' parents, specifically, and sends out a message along with an ETA on the repairs.
You get more information, faster emergency response, and efficient communications that reduce the number of parental calls you have to field while dealing with a crisis.
Is The Time Right For A Student Information System?
Many districts believe software solutions are out of their reach, or require expensive internal IT upgrades. Instead, these software packages are now affordable for virtually any district, and there are Cloud-based online solutions for districts without modern networks.
From communicating with parents, to dealing with emergencies as they come up, a student information system will ultimately streamline every aspect of your district's activities.
To see for yourself, just contact us for more information or a free demonstration!
What do you think? Are there other factors to consider when communicating with parents that would increase efficiency? Let us know in the comments below!