Let's talk about using SchoolStatus for placing phone calls to parents!
Why should you use SchoolStatus for calling?
Convenience: Contact parents from wherever you are.
Instant Communication Logs: All calls made in SchoolStatus are automatically logged and recorded, providing an accurate record for teachers, parents, and students.
Privacy: Your personal phone number is disguised by a proxy number, so it is always kept private. How do we keep numbers private? The phone number that calls the parent will be provisioned from your local area by SchoolStatus when the call is placed. When the parent replies, every call (and text) to the same parent contact will come from the same number (meaning it's sticky to that pair). That's why we suggest that you text a message when you start communicating:
How does it work?
- Teacher A calls Parent A. A unique phone number is generated and assigned to this pair (Teacher A/Parent A). When the parent replies, the number gets locked in, so they see the same number every time, and all communications will fall into a thread for that number.
- Teacher A calls Parent B. A different unique phone number is generated for this pair (Teacher A/Parent B). When the parent replies, the number gets locked in, so they see the same number every time, and all communications will fall into a thread for that number.
This holds true as long as a) the parent responds to a call or text, and b) the parent's contact number stays the same. When a new parent number is used (for example, say Parent A got a new number), the system will randomly select a new random number the first time you reach out to that number.
What if an educator gets a new number?
Great question! Go to Settings in your web account, type your new number and click "Verify". (This simply ties your account to your phone.) Since parents never had your real number anyway, nothing changes for them.
Can I give out my number?
Since this is a new way of calling, it may require a new way of thinking. In short? No, because the number the parent sees is chosen through a completely random process. (We don't know your number/s either.) But what you can do is send out an introductory message that says, "This is Mr/Ms/Mx Jones, your child's teacher. Please reply Y and save me as a contact, so that you will know that it is me when I reach out to you." When the parent replies, this will "lock in" the number they see for you, so that they see all your calls and texts coming from one number, regardless of what method you use- from the computer, cell phone via the computer, or the SchoolStatus App.
What do Parents hear when you call?
Parents will hear a message to inform them that the phone call is being recorded before being connected to Educator. This is to inform them of their rights, for legal purposes, even though in some (but not all!) states, calls can be recorded if only one party is informed.
What Do You Need to Get Started
While we do make calling from your computer or laptop as easy as possible, you will need some basic equipment to get started.
First, you'll need an updated browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. We recommend Chrome, but we all use Firefox and Safari as well. To ensure Chrome is updated, all you'll need to do is completely close the browser out and then relaunch it. This browser automatically updates itself in the background, so closing it will give it a chance to actually install any pending updates.
Next, if you're using a laptop, it probably has a built-in microphone, but computers won't have this. Either way, you'll need to make sure you have a microphone that is working and is easy to get close to. You'll also need to make sure your browser has access to it. To do this, simply click the lock icon in the address bar and choose Site Settings.
Once the new tab opens, please set your Microphone permissions to Allow.
Once you've chosen Allow from the dropdown menu, you can close the new tab.
Now that you have a way to speak to parents, you'll need a way to listen to them, too. Again, laptops will have built-in speakers but you'll need to provide some for a computer. You don't need anything fancy, just some speakers that work well enough for you to clearly understand your parents. You can test them before attempting a call by listening to some music or by watching a video.
Checking your internet service
Your browser is updated, your microphone and speakers work, so let's move on to your internet speed. Yes, we use the Internet to make calls and we know that can cause some issues. I mean, it's coming from space, right? There's no need to make this complicated, just make sure your internet is working. Can you watch a YouTube video or search Google for a new cookie recipe? If so, you should be good. If not, you may want to restart your modem, router, and computer. After that's done, you can visit Speedtest.net to make sure you have a stable connection.
What about calling from my mobile phone?
All you need to do is download the app from your iPhone or Android App store, and log in using your school email address and SchoolStatus password. The app will ask you to create a 4 digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) and then you can pull up students/parents by name and place your calls.
If you are having technical issues and need troubleshooting assistance, you can visit FAQ Communications and Engagement.