October 20, 2020—MINNEAPOLIS— Community Brands, the leading provider of cloud-based software for schools, associations, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations, today unveiled an upgraded communication platform for K-12 private and independent schools to keep families informed during this unpredictable school year. Educate is Community Brands’ flagship student information system and its powerful Communication Center allows schools to send important announcements to their entire communities via email, text and even phone as they reopen their physical or virtual doors this year.
Recent upgrades to the Communications Center allow schools to send messages to their families, students and staff to communicate anything from school closures to billing to attendance. By providing pre-built and customizable templates, Educate helps schools send important messages to their community in seconds while ensuring that the messages families receive are clear and consistent across their campus—something that is crucial when students and parents are navigating a constantly-shifting school landscape themselves. Customers of TADS by Community Brands are able to leverage an out-of-the-box integration with Educate to ensure that the Communications Center is always up to date with the most recent and accurate student and household contact information. And a new reply center lets schools view responses to their text messages in real time, providing an instant connection between administrators, teachers and families.
General Manager of Educate, Hank Sadler, knows first-hand how crucial it is that parents stay informed of what’s happening at their child’s school. “I know from my own family’s experience that clear and consistent school messaging is vital to the success of both virtual and in-person learning. As we redefine what it means to ‘go to school,’ keeping families informed and in the know is more important now than ever before,” Sadler stated. “Educate’s Communication Center is the perfect tool to ensure that schools and families stay connected through these most uncertain times.”
By using communications tools built directly into their existing student information system – rather than leveraging a third-party text and phone platform – schools integrate their communications directly into their day-to-day school and classroom management. Utilizing an integrated communications platform also completely removes the time-consuming and often error-prone process of shuttling data back and forth between various systems. School administrators can ensure that they’re using contact information that is the most up-to-date and that families are, in fact, receiving important messages about their students.
The tools offered in the Communications Center allow for more than just sending messages directly from schools to their families. A social media integration post alerts and messages to a school’s social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter simultaneously, allowing schools to get their messages out to a broader audience. And, as Educate is a leading SIS for diocese, new enterprise-level communications functionality lets a diocese administrator create and send email, text and phone alerts to families across all their campuses at the same time.
For schools who need powerful communications tools like these, but may lack the funding to access them, some states are offering special COVID-19 relief funding, specifically to support schools implementing communications systems.
Educate is a full-featured student information system that offers the full range of functionality needed to support day-to-day operations and classroom activities at K-12 schools, both when school is on-campus and virtual. As schools figure out when and how to track attendance during the virtual school day, teachers have options. They can track attendance for individual or groups of students, daily, weekly or even using a seating-chart view. Families get a responsive portal where they can view communications from the school, access their students’ assignments and grades, and update contact information in real time. A flexible gradebook supports both scores and standards/skill-based grading (or both) as well as customizable grading scales. This flexibility allows schools to utilize one single platform to meet the needs of multiple grades and school levels whether students are learning in the classroom or from home.
In addition to its flexibility and affordability, a few key integrations make Educate a top choice for small and mid-sized schools in markets around the country. Educate integrates with Google Classroom, the popular learning management system that has exploded in popularity around the world amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers sync classes, assignments and grades back and forth between Educate and Google Classroom with just a click. And a tight integration with TADS—a complete school management system that handles everything from admission and enrollment to tuition management—syncs critical student and family data directly from enrollment forms into the SIS so school administrators can spend less time on data management and more time figuring out how to educate students effectively in these historic circumstances.