Monthly Mentions Newsletter – December 2019

December 2019

If your school is approaching mid-quarter report for the 2nd quarter, then these functions in FastDirect might need to be addressed. Opening up teacher input for 2nd Mid-Quarter Report will require:

  • Changing input for 1st quarter report cards from ‘Allow Input’ to ‘Input Complete’ in ‘ReportCard Input Controls’
  • Confirming the mid-quarter dates for 2nd quarter in ‘Grades’ then ‘Report Card Input Controls’
  • Changing input for mid-quarter from ‘Not Yet’ to ‘Allow Input’ in ‘Report Card Input Controls’
  • Having teachers go through the mid-quarter report card input process
  • Closing the input process by changing ‘Allow Input’ to ‘Input Complete’

With the winter season upon us, this could mean school closings and changes to school days due to inclement weather.  If your school closes because of snow or other unexpected reasons, then you will need to change the day in the Master School (Standard) Calendar to a non-attendance day. If the calendar is not changed, then your teachers will be asked to take attendance for the day that was cancelled.  Here are the steps:

  1. Go to ‘Calendar’ then scroll down to the gold box below the months
  2. The first option in the gold box allows you to select a day and determine what type of day it is – Normal, Holiday, Other etc.
  3. Select the month/day/year in the drop down, then select ‘Weather off’
  4. Click ‘Change type of day’
  5. Repeat these steps if your school was closed for additional days
  6. Please note – if you have teachers who are using separate attendance calendars, then you will need to change those as well!

Notifying your parents of snow days, late starts or early dismissals has never been easier! To notify your staff and parents of any closings, late starts or early dismissals, use the FDbroadcast feature. These broadcasts can go directly from the school to the parents’ cell phones and email accounts, keeping everyone informed instantly!

FDbroadcast was designed to allow principals (and selected staff) the ability to message the school community in multiple methods in case of an emergency or urgent situation. The option “FDbroadcast” must be selected when sending the FDmail message. The system, by default, allows the Principal access to this feature. To give other staff members access, the Principal must edit their Teacher (Staff) form in the People section. This feature sends all users a copy of your urgent FDmail as well as a Text Notification and an Email Forward. Even if your school does not currently use the feature ‘Email Forward’, the FDbroadcast will still forward your FDmail message directly to the recipients’ email. However, in order for the text notification to work, your school will need to enable ‘SMS Text Notification’ in Settings. The last critical step is that your parents have entered in all the necessary information on their parent form. This means they will need an email address, a cell phone number and a cell phone provider. A text notification and email forward are only sent if the appropriate fields are completed on the staff and parent forms. If a parent has opted out of receiving SMS Text Notifications or has opted out of receiving Staff Email Forward, an FDbroadcast will still be sent to that parent in all methods regardless of the parents’ preferences. This is why an FDbroadcast is ideal for urgent or emergency situations, as it overrides the parents’ preferences for communication.

Here are some helpful FAQ links to help explain these features and how to get started:

Click here for the FAQ explaining FDbroadcast

Click here for the FAQ on how to send an FDbroadcast

Click here for the FDbroadcast video tutorial

The login screen is another way to communicate school closings and announcements from the school.  Here are the steps for posting an announcement on the login screen:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and click on Login Page Design in the left hand navigation menu
  2. In the middle box labeled ‘Message of the Day’, type in your message or announcement
  3. Click ‘Save Changes’

This announcement will post on the login screen above the login box. To add addition detail, color, font changes, etc, you will want to use an HTML editing software, such as KompoZer, which can be downloaded for free.

If you are a trimester school, December may be too soon for you to open up mid-trimester report card input.

With the winter season upon us, this could mean school closings and changes to school days due to inclement weather.  If your school closes because of snow or other unexpected reasons, then you will need to change the day in the Master School (Standard) Calendar to a non-attendance day. If the calendar is not changed, then your teachers will be asked to take attendance for the day that was cancelled.  Here are the steps:

  1. Go to ‘Calendar’ then scroll down to the gold box below the months
  2. The first option in the gold box allows you to select a day and determine what type of day it is – Normal, Holiday, Other etc.
  3. Select the month/day/year in the drop down, then select ‘Weather off’
  4. Click ‘Change type of day’
  5. Repeat these steps if your school was closed for additional days
  6. Please note – if you have teachers who are using separate attendance calendars, then you will need to change those as well!

Notifying your parents of snow days, late starts or early dismissals has never been easier! To notify your staff and parents of any closings, late starts or early dismissals, use the FDbroadcast feature. These broadcasts can go directly from the school to the parents’ cell phones and email accounts, keeping everyone informed instantly!

FDbroadcast was designed to allow principals (and selected staff) the ability to message the school community in multiple methods in case of an emergency or urgent situation. The option “FDbroadcast” must be selected when sending the FDmail message. The system, by default, allows the Principal access to this feature. To give other staff members access, the Principal must edit their Teacher (Staff) form in the People section. This feature sends all users a copy of your urgent FDmail as well as a Text Notification and an Email Forward. Even if your school does not currently use the feature ‘Email Forward’, the FDbroadcast will still forward your FDmail message directly to the recipients’ email. However, in order for the text notification to work, your school will need to enable ‘SMS Text Notification’ in Settings. The last critical step is that your parents have entered in all the necessary information on their parent form. This means they will need an email address, a cell phone number and a cell phone provider. A text notification and email forward are only sent if the appropriate fields are completed on the staff and parent forms. If a parent has opted out of receiving SMS Text Notifications or has opted out of receiving Staff Email Forward, an FDbroadcast will still be sent to that parent in all methods regardless of the parents’ preferences. This is why an FDbroadcast is ideal for urgent or emergency situations, as it overrides the parents’ preferences for communication.

Here are some helpful FAQ links to help explain these features and how to get started:

Click here for the FAQ explaining FDbroadcast

Click here for the FAQ on how to send an FDbroadcast

Click here for the FDbroadcast video tutorial

The login screen is another way to communicate school closings and announcements from the school.  Here are the steps for posting an announcement on the login screen:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and click on Login Page Design in the left hand navigation menu
  2. In the middle box labeled ‘Message of the Day’, type in your message or announcement
  3. Click ‘Save Changes’

This announcement will post on the login screen above the login box. To add addition detail, color, font changes, etc, you will want to use an HTML editing software, such as KompoZer, which can be downloaded for free.

Does your school or parish have any social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc? If the answer is yes, let us add them to your login page! We can add the icons for the various social media platforms either above or below the login box. It’s just another way FastDirect Communications can help to keep your parents connected! Just contact HelpDesk with links to any of the social media accounts your school or parish uses and we’ll take it from there.

For students that have transferred out of the current school year, administrators are able to access their attendance reports, as well as grade book and report card grades without having to move them back into their homeroom.

Here is how administrators can access information for Transfer students:Here is how administrators can access information for Transfer students:

  • Go to Grades
  • In the Select Instructor drop down (the one next to ‘View Instructor’s GB/RC Input’), select the last option for Transfers (with current school year)
  • Click ‘View Instructor’s GB/RC Input’
  • To view Grade Book grades, select the student’s name, the grading period and the type of grade book report
  • To view Report Card grades, click the ‘View Report Cards’ button

To view Attendance, go to Calendar, then select ‘Individual Attendance Record’.  There will be a drop down to View/Edit all Transfer students from the current year.

The students’ names in your GradeBook rosters are clickable links. Click on a student’s name to see an isolated report of that specific student’s grades for that course. When working in your GradeBook, it might be helpful to view a student’s grades in an isolated report. This report will give you a breakdown of the grades that student has earned for a specific course. To get this report, you will open up a GradeBook for one of your courses.  Once the roster appears, you can click on any name in the roster.  Here are some of the advantages to this report:

  • The report will be in a new internet window which can be printed
  • The report will not contain grades for any other student, which makes it an ideal screen to show parents during conferences
  • The button to the left of the student’s name allows you to toggle to the next student in the class

With the start of a new school year, you may want to consider a new ScreenName and/or Password! Changing your log in information is not only a great idea for safety and security but also allows you to customize them to make them more personal and recognizable.

Watch this video tutorial to find out how to change your screen name or password:

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2019-12-16T08:45:27-06:00

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