Among the school division’s most important responsibilities is sharing valuable and timely information with our school families, students and staff. For a number of years, ACPS has used the Blackboard Connect mass communication system to reach our stakeholders through email, phone and text messaging. In a short while, however, our contract with this company will come to an end. Earlier this year, a team of school leaders and technology, communications and ESOL professionals worked together to evaluate proposals from 11 different mass communication companies. Ultimately, we selected BrightArrow’s Mass Notification Solution for PowerSchool as the best choice to meet our communication needs.
Here are some highlights of BrightArrow’s capabilities:
- Messages can be composed and sent directly from PowerSchool, through the BrightArrow web application, or through a mobile app.
- Staff with appropriate permissions can easily send messages (via email, phone and/or text) to students, families or both. Teachers can create lists and send messages through PowerTeacher to their students, families, or both.
- Families can set their communication preferences from within the PowerSchool Public (Parent) Portal.
- Text and email messages can be translated automatically into more than 100 different languages, based upon the language preferences selected by families in PowerSchool.
- Voice messages can be translated automatically into more than 20 different languages also based upon the language preferences selected in PowerSchool.
- The system features BrightChat, a secure two-way communication option for use between a staff member (such as a teacher or athletic coach) and a student, a family member, a class, or a team. The system can be monitored by building administration.
- Text messages are not limited in length.
- Communications can be sent to audiences based upon PowerSchool data and the specific interests of each audience.
In preparation for our transition to BrightArrow, the division has assembled a cross-functional steering committee to inform implementation, including timeline, settings, training, and communication norms and best practices. Stay tuned to the Compass for future updates!