Monthly Mentions Newsletter – December 2020

December 2020

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.

The FDmail settings for Students allow you to control who students are able to initiate messages to (Staff, Parents, students). Please review these settings and make any necessary changes by check marking the options you feel are best suited for your school. Here are the steps to view these settings:

1.) Go to Settings
2.) In the left hand menu, click on FDmail
3.) Scroll down to the heading for ‘Allow Student Messaging’
4.) Check or uncheck the options you want
5.) Click ‘Save Changes’ in the top right hand corner

If your school’s report cards have columns for Semester grades, then it will be important to know how the system calculates that semester grade. The FAQ linked below will explain the different options for semester grades:

Click here to read this FAQ.

Even though the ReportCard from the current grading period only has the comments for that period, you are still able to view/print the comments from the whole year. The same is also true for attendance. Here are the steps to view your child’s comments for the whole year:

  1. Go to ‘Home’
  2. Click the ‘View’ button in the ReportCard column
  3. When the ReportCard appears, click on the word ‘Comments’
  4. That student’s comments for the whole year will appear on a separate screen which is printable

These steps can be followed for viewing Attendance as well.

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2020-12-09T10:34:35-06:00

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