Think your mass notification system is only for school emergencies? Think again.

A busy mother with two children using a laptop while on the phone
Category - Education
by Hillary Bowling on July 26th, 2019

These day-to-day uses for your automated communications will keep pupils safe, drive parent engagement, and save vital funds.

With further funding cuts an ever-present risk, the need for schools and educational institutions – whatever their size – to make every dollar count has never been greater.

In that environment, being able to put a single purchase – whether a ‘big-ticket’ infrastructural investment or a day-to-day expense, to multiple uses can be critical in getting a return on your expenditure and staying within budget.

Maximizing the return on your investment

Take your mass notification system for example. 

Its primary purpose is, of course, to provide rapid alerts to parents and pupils in the case of emergencies, be it unexpected school closures, severe weather, or health, safety and security incidents.

And pupil safety will always be the paramount consideration when investing in such a system. 

But the paradox is that, in an ideal world, you may never use the system for that core purpose. 

For that reason, finding additional, more frequent day-to-day use cases can make a huge difference in extracting (and demonstrating) value from your investment

Beyond cost-saving

It’s not just about cost-saving, however. 

Principally, by using your notification system to address a range of needs, you’re extending the benefits and efficiencies of automation and modern communication methods across your school’s functions.

But even beyond that, you’re also, deepening parents’ sense of engagement in their children’s education and eliminating the risk of pupils ‘forgetting’ to convey important, but potentially uncomfortable, messages.  As communications can be delivered via multiple channels (voice call, text, email, social media, push notifications and more), you can be confident that parents are hearing what they need to hear, promptly, and in the way you wanted it said.

And perhaps most importantly of all, by using a single platform for a range of communications, you help familiarize pupils, parents and teachers with how that system works (which could be vital when an emergency does strike). 

So which day-to-day operational challenges can a notification system address? Here are just a few.

Automated attendance calls

Your system can be used to automatically notify parents of pupil absences, remind them of the need to provide absence notes, and obtain confirmation that that message has been received. 

That ensures parents are aware their child is absent, reduces the likelihood of pupils thinking they can ‘get away’ with unauthorized absences, allows you to better record and monitor attendance, and avoids teachers being diverted from their core educational responsibilities.

Event reminders

School fundraisers, picture days, parent-teacher conferences… the school year is full of important events that parents need to know (or be reminded) about, and for which pupils can be unreliable messengers. 

By using a notification system to automate those reminders, you eliminate the risk of things getting ‘lost in the mail.’

Take a school trip, for example.  Not only can the system be used to send date reminders and obtain necessary consents, it can also be used to request volunteers or chaperones, or to provide weather alerts or advice on equipment as parents pack their children’s bags for the day.

Bus assignments and schedules

Alerting parents and pupils of bus schedule changes or delays may seem like a relatively ‘minor’ use of an advanced notification system.

But for parents of younger children, or for those that have, say, only a limited window to pick up child between work commitments, such real-time notifications can provide immeasurable peace of mind, and keep pupils safe.  And that is something you can’t put a value on.

Financial reminders

Whether it’s tuition and school fees, topping off lunch accounts or simply returning library books to avoid late-return charges, financial reminders are both an ever-present part of school life, and a vital way to ensure the school keeps functioning smoothly.  

But discussions about such matters can also be uncomfortable or embarrassing for parents, pupils and teachers.

Notification systems offer a failsafe, but non-confrontational means to keep parents informed of outstanding (and – crucially – upcoming) payments.  This helps parents plan their finances and, for the school, reduces risks of overdue or unpaid bills.

That is, of course, only a snapshot.  There are many other potential uses (registration reminders, sports team field changes, anti-bullying messages etc), including many which may be unique to your school.

Whatever the purpose, One Call Now’s school notification solutions allow you to manage all those outbound and inbound communications through a single interface, and to send real-time notifications to virtually any device, 24/7. 

You can even segment and target communications by department, school year, student status, location, and more. That puts you and your teachers in control, but without the risk of bureaucracy, inconsistency, duplication or distraction from your core duties. 

Find out just how economical it is by requesting a proposal today!

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