1 Alert Solutions How to Create a Broadcast Announcement When sending out a broadcast message (whether by phone, and/or text) to parents/guardians, users should be using the Create Announcement page in Alert Solutions. The Create Announcement page provides advanced methods of sending a one-time message. Due to recent changes in Canadian legislation, schools cannot use Alert Solutions to send out broadcast messages related to fundraising activities. To send out a broadcast call: 1. Log into PowerSchool, and click the Alert Solutions linked located to the left side of the Start Page. If you wish to send a message to a selection of students (and not all students), first complete a PowerSchool search for the students before you click the Alert Solutions link. 2. Mouse over the word Menu to display several options available within the communication suite. 3. Click Create Announcement. 4. Once Create Announcement is selected, choose the category to send the message. 5. Choosing message recipients: If choosing All Students and/or All Staff, only those students or staff members listed at the chosen school will be selected. Current selection applies only to students. Important: To contact a selection of students from a particular building, first complete a PowerSchool search for the students before clicking the Alert Solutions link. 6. After choosing the message recipients, choose the appropriate message channels. To select the type of message to send, check the box next to the appropriate channel. More than one channel can be checked. Created on 01/12/2015 Page 1
2 7. CRITICAL STEP: This next step is very important and is the most important step when sending out a broadcast message. Failing to complete this step will forward the announcement to student contacts who should perhaps be excluded from receiving the broadcast message. (A) If sending the message by , click Advanced for more options. By default, three contacts will receive the broadcast message by Parent 1, Parent 2 and Student Uncheck the contacts who should NOT be receiving the broadcast message. Click Add Attachments if including attachments. (B) If sending the message by Voice, click Advanced for more options. By default, six contacts will receive the broadcast message by voice: Home phone, Parent 1 home, Parent 1 cell, Parent 2 home, Parent 2 cell, and Student cell Uncheck the contacts who should NOT be receiving the broadcast message. (C) If sending the message by SMS Text Message, click Advanced for more options. By default, six contacts will receive the broadcast message by SMS text: Home phone, Parent 1 home, Parent 1 cell, Parent 2 home, Parent 2 cell, and Student cell Uncheck the contacts who should NOT be receiving the broadcast message. Created on 01/12/2015 Page 2
3 8. Once step 7 has been completed, the bottom portion of the message channel section displays the total number of contacts selected, the total number of messages to be sent for each channel, and the total number of fields without contact information entered. An example is shown here. 9. Click Configure Message to continue with the next step. 10. On the General Settings page, review the current settings and modify them as needed. (A) General Fields: To begin: I. Set the Message Name. This is a name given to the message and will be used for internal tracking only. II. The Broadcast Date and Broadcast Time will default to the current date and time. If no changes are made, the message will begin delivery as soon as Submit is chosen on the final Message Submit screen. The date and/or time may be set to a future time. The message and contact information will be stored in Alert Solutions until the delivery time chosen. (B) Settings: (this section will only appear you checked it on the previous page) I. Display Name: The name that appears as in the recipient s inbox. II. From: address that appears in the From field of s. III. Reply to: The address that recipients may Reply To. If replies are not desired, it is suggested to enter a no reply address for your domain. For example, IV. Subject: Enter the subject. V. Forward: If Yes is chosen, a sentence is added to the asking the recipient if he/she would like to share the message with a friend. If the recipient clicks the sentence (a link), it will put the body of the message Created on 01/12/2015 Page 3
4 into his/her default browser so he/she can forward to whomever he/she chooses. If No is chosen, the sentence is removed. (C) Voice Settings: (this section will only appear you checked it on the previous page) I. Stop/Restart Times: This is a safety system to ensure that messages will not accidently send during times not desired. The 9pm stop time and 8am restart time is a board wide setting for all schools. II. Restart: This should be set to yes so that any messages reaching the stop time are allowed to restart at the restart time. It is recommended this always be set to yes. III. Number of Redials: This drop-down has the numbers 0-5 and is how many times the system will retry any number that failed on the previous attempt because the line was busy or there was no answer. IV. Caller ID Number: This is the phone number that appears in the recipient's caller ID when receiving a call. This number must be 10 numeric digits with no other symbols. (D) SMS (Text) Settings: (this section will only appear you checked it on the previous page) I. Short Code: This is the number that shows up in the Recipient's Caller ID when he/she receives the text message. II. Stop/Restart Times: This is a safety system to ensure that messages will not accidently send during times not desired. The 9pm stop time and 8am restart time is a board wide setting for all schools. III. Restart: This should be set to yes so that any messages reaching the stop time are allowed to restart at the restart time. It is recommended this always be set to yes. 11. Click Next once all General Settings are complete to continue to the appropriate message setup. Created on 01/12/2015 Page 4
5 12. If you selected the message channel, complete steps 12-15, otherwise continue to step 16. Use the editor provided to create your body. For simple messages, just type the message as desired. The editor is similar to most word processors and any button will show its action when hovered over. For brevity purposes, explanation of buttons and features will not be included in this guide. Contact Brian Doucette if you have questions about the setup of this section. If add attachments was selected (refer to step 7(A) on page 2), upload your file/s. 13. Scroll down the page and click Next to finish completing the portion of the broadcast message. 14. Enter up to five (5) addresses to receive sample s. Proof 1 is a required field and all proof addresses entered will receive a copy of messages being sent. If a copy is not desired, simply enter as the address. proofs two through five are optional. 15. Click Next to continue. 16. If you selected the SMS Text message channel, complete steps 16-19, otherwise skip and continue to step 20. Created on 01/12/2015 Page 5
6 Use the SMS text editor provided to create your body. For simple messages, just type the message as desired. SMS Text messages are limited to 160 characters. A character counter is located in the center of the screen. The number in the parentheses is the total number of messages to be sent after exceeding the first 160 characters. It is not recommended to exceed 160 characters since some recipients may not have unlimited messaging plans. 17. Once you have completed your message, scroll down the page and click Next to finish completing the portion of the broadcast message. 18. Enter up to five (5) cellphone numbers to receive sample s. Cell Phone 1 is a required field. If a copy is not desired, simply enter as the phone number. Cell Phone two through five are optional. Enter only the 10 digit number, and do not include parentheses or dashes. 19. Click Next to continue. 20. If you selected the Voice message channel, complete steps 20-21, otherwise skip and continue to step 22. There are four ways to submit a voice message to the system. 1. Record a Message by Phone may be selected. 2. Choose File: Click this button to browse a hard drive or server for a.txt or.wav file to upload to the recordings. Once selected, click upload to confirm. 3. Click Insert Message Template to choose a.wav or.txt file from the Voice Template Library/Recording Studio. 4. Type the Message desired into the text entry box at the bottom of the screen. Created on 01/12/2015 Page 6
7 For brevity purposes, explanation of voice message features will not be included in this guide. Contact Brian Doucette if you have questions about the setup of this section. In most cases, users will choose either method 1 or method 4. If choosing method 1, follow the prompts as instructed to record your own personalized message. If using method 4, a text-to-speech editor will be used to convert the typed text into speech. Type the message as you would if it were being read for the most natural use. Punctuation and spaces controls the speed of the message played. If a different message is desired for the live vs. message answers, toggle between the Live Message and Voic Message tabs shown in the picture above. Type the message desired for each, selecting Add after typing the message and moving to the alternate tab. If Add is not selected, the text entry will play for both the Live/Voice answers. 21. Once you have completed your message, scroll down the page and click Next to finish completing the Voice portion of the broadcast message. 22. Message Submit is the last step prior to sending a regular broadcast. If the Submit button is clicked here, the announcement will be sent to Alert Solutions for processing at the selected broadcast date and time shown. This page is a complete summary of the announcement(s) created with links and details for each messages type. You can click on the links to download and review each message. Review the message for accuracy, and then click one of the following options. Edit: Click Edit to repeat the steps, without erasing any work, and make any necessary edits. Submit: Click Submit to send the message. If the date and time were left at default, the messages will immediately begin delivering. If set for a future time, the server will save the job and begin delivering at the date/time selected. Cancel: Click Cancel to delete the messages and prevent delivery. This cannot be undone! Refer to the screenshot on the next page for more details about Message Submit page before submitting the broadcast message. Created on 01/12/2015 Page 7
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