Sematime’s Parent’s Portal as a Form of Parental Engagement
At Sematime, we are on a mission to help any school anywhere engage parents through the mobile phone. There are four channels that a school can use to engage parents. These are Bulk SMS, *384*100#, website portals and the mobile application. Today, we will look at the website portals or parent’s portal channel.
Getting your School on Sematime
For parents to enjoy this benefit of school parental engagement, your school has to be on Sematime. If it isn’t, you can do it here http://account.sematime.com/register and enter all the details required. One registered add all the contacts of your parents. Each contact should have the student’s admission number and name. There are more requirements on adding and managing contacts see them here; http://sematime.com/tutorials/managing-contacts-sematime/.
Parents want to use the parent’s portal to get regular updates of how their sons and daughters are progressing in school. Therefore, we do not wish to have them logging into the portal only to find that you have not posted any content yet. Ensure that you populate your account with these content types:
Exam results – for all the exams that your school has done in a given term. Parents want to know what their kids scored, whether there were improvements and also how they can help improve bad grades. See how to add exam results article. Parents get to see a graphical presentation of their kid’s performance from term to term and also the distribution of grades in a certain term.
Fees structure – parents will want to know how much school fees they are required to pay in term 1, term 2 and term three. They are also interested in a breakdown showing the appropriation based on vote heads. This will help to increase transparency in your school.
Fees balances – parents don’t like to have their kids sent home to collect fee balances while they should be at school studying. When you regularly update fee balances, they can use the parent’s portal to know how much they owe the school plus get instructions on how to pay.
Upcoming events – when you set your school’s calendar of events and term dates be sure to update your Sematime account with the same. Sematime will automatically send reminders a few days before the event. Parents will also get to see this calendar on their portal or even on the school website.
Newsletters – SMS by itself is great for short text-based communication, but we all know it’s not the best channel for rich-media communication such as announcements that require you to include photos. With Newsletters, your school can publish articles with videos, photos, and file attachments among others.
Photos – they say pictures tell a thousand words. Nothing captures the excitement of school trips, games day, and drama festivals than photos. Parents can share, like or even comment on them. Let them get these photo updates by uploading those photos in your Sematime account.
There are links on each content for referral on how to add each of them.
Using the Parent’s Portal
The parent’s portal is ready to use by any parent whose school is on Sematime and the parent’s number is in their respective school student contacts. All a parent need to do is to login to their account and scroll through to access their kids information.
You can send the parents a message inviting them to visit parent’s portal login page. http://account.sematime.com/. Once they have opened the address, parents will be prompted to enter their phone number. This is done to check if their details have correctly been captured by your school. If phone number exists in our records, parents will then be asked to set a password to secure their data. It is after this that they can begin using the parent’s portal channel.
Note this channel is not like the USSD code channel *384*100#. Here parents must have access to the Internet and also have gadgets capable of going on line like a smart phone or a computer.