Support Elves Newsletter

14 April 2015
Issue Three
Head Elf School Report
School Projects
Dear Support Elves... real emails from real parents
Tiqbiz iNewsletter Partnership
Schoolinterviews
03 8786 9233
P O Box 94
Narre Warren, VIC, 3805
AU

Head Elf School Report

Welcome

You are receiving this newsletter, as you are listed as a contact person for a schoolinterviews.com.au account.


We thought you might like some regular updates as to what we have been doing, new features we are planning to add, and some ideas for different uses for our service.


We have been very, very busy, just like you at the start of the year. Sometimes we have lots of phone calls and emails coming in all at once and we are not always available immediately for help.  Normally we will get back to you within 5 minutes, so leave a message, put the kettle on and don't go too far away from the phone.


If you call and need to leave a message, please let us know your name, the name of your school, the suburb you are located in (it can be a little tricky to know which St Mary's you are calling from) and your phone number, including your area code.


Our support is FAST! We will get back to you very shortly. If you need to contact us urgently - send an email. We can read emails and talk at the same time .


Contact [email protected]

New phone number

Over the summer school holidays, we changed our office phone number. Our postal address and bank details remain the same, just the phone number has changed.


Update your address books, the new number is:

03 8786 9233


Don't worry if you forget, we have updated the website and the new number can be found in the contact us page.

New PDF timetables

In the past when a teacher printed their timetables or the school printed timetables for teachers or other events,  the printed PDF showed the time and date for the appointments and the name of the person that made the booking (usually the parent) and the Student's name.


Some schools ask for other information when parents are booking. They make use of the custom fields, found in the Advanced Settings, on the EVENT page. Things like; Mobile Phone Number, Favourite Colour, Dietary requirements.


In the past, these answers were not shown on the printed PDF. School's needed to download the booking data to see this information.


Now this information can be included in the printed PDF timetable.


Other changes to this PDF include the introduction of page numbers and also the date/time that the PDF was created.

Interpreters!!!!

We have pulled out all the stops and all the toolboxes and after a long time coming we are thrilled to introduce our new interpreter feature.


Parents can now request an interpreter attend their appointments. They just select the language they require and schoolinterviews.com.au does the rest.


Available teacher appointment times will only be shown to parents, if the interpreter is available at the same time.


Schools will be able to print timetables to give to the interpreters, showing them the parent's name, child's name, language they will be interpreting and the teacher they will be visiting.


This feature can be adapted for other events. PSG/SSG appointments with the school support officer, often require the class teacher to attend too. This new feature will allow parents to select an appointment with the support teacher, but only if their class teacher is available at the same time.


We are very excited about this new feature. If you would like some more information about how this might help your school, call us today

03 8786 9233


Know exactly how many people are coming to your next information night.

In the past, when you set up an event requiring an RSVP, school's could make use of the Custom Fields, found in the Advanced Settings on the EVENT page.


Custom Field 1, would generally include the field name "Number Attending"


Parents would enter their name as the person booking, and would enter a number in the "Number Attending" box, to indicate how many people in their family would be attending.


This worked very well, except that schools needed to download the booking data to add these numbers up, to get an accurate idea of how many people would be coming.


In instances where there was a set number of places for an event, this could be problematic. A parent making a booking is ONE booking, regardless of how many other family members were indicated in the number attending box.


Our latest feature, means that we can include associated people in the bookings. In the past, this associated person was always set to STUDENT, in a parent-teacher interviews setting.


This term can now be edited, so if you want to know exactly how many people are coming, the term for the person booking gets changed to "Family" and you can include associated people in the bookings, and change the term for the associated person to "Guest". 


This time when a parent books, they enter their family name, and select the number of Guests that will attend this event with them, and give a name for each guest. Each guest has it's own booking, so an event that can only hold a maximum of 50 people, will have an accurate number of guests and will prevent further bookings once this limit has been reached.


This new feature also works well for Volunteers. If your school is running a Bunnings BBQ and a parent wants to book for themselves and their spouse, only one booking needs to be made, but the number of "Volunteers" from this family is indicated, and each Volunteer is named.



School Projects

Parent-teacher interviews with interpreters

We have always been very conscious of ESL families when it comes to booking appointments online, it's why our entire website is automatically converted to the language of a family's internet browser and we have been careful to make selections non language specific. Parents/children's names will be the same regardless of language, so will their email address. A teacher's name remains the same regardless of language, and tick boxes for times is universally recognised. Confirmation emails are sent automatically without any complicated instructions about printing or exporting.


Relying on children to interpret for parents and teachers at parent-teacher interviews, is not always appropriate. Young children might misunderstand some important information being conveyed, or they might interpret a teacher's feedback into something they would prefer their parents to hear.


Many schools make interpreters available for families, but booking an interpreter for the same time as their appointments has been difficult. Until now.


Schools that pre-book interpreters will know how many interpreters they have available and if these interpreters can speak one language or multiple languages. They will also know when these interpreters will be available.



Parents enter their email and their name and the names of their children, but for schools that have enabled interpreters, parents will see a drop down box where they can chose an interpreter for their chosen language. For non ESL parents it can be left at NOT REQUIRED.



Parents can see which interpreters are the least busy (%) and select an interpreter based on the language they speak. This interpreter will be with them for all their appointments.



Parents select their child's teacher as per usual, but they will only be shown available appointments, if the interpreter they have selected is available at the same time.


When back to back booking warnings are enabled, we make sure the interpreter has time to get from one appointment to the next by enforcing this back to back booking warning. Parents with interpreters will NOT be able to book back to back, consecutive appointments.


Parents will receive a confirmation email letting them know that an interpreter will be attending their appointments. You can use the actual interpreters names if you know them, or do as we have done and call them Interpreter 1, Interpreter 2, etc.



When schools are ready to print timetables for teachers, they can print the timetables for their interpreters too.


The interpreter will know the name of the parents, the child's name, the language they will be interpreting and the Teacher/Class they need to attend to assist these families.


If your school provides interpreters for your families, contact us today and we can show you how simple this is to set up.







Dear Support Elves... real emails from real parents

Thom writes

"Could you please send a student application for the upcoming year 7, 2016, as well as booking an appointment for March 11 if necessary for 11/03/15 & 24/02/15.

Regards, Thom"

Thom writes to us again

(With a different school name this time)


"I am seeking an application for XXXX XXXX College in XXXXX, for year 7, 2016"


We did respond to Thom, explaining that we are only a company that provides a service to schools. We also offered to (and did) forward Thom's requests to the schools.

Thom writes to us again

"Thanks for nothing… I mean thanks very much for wasting my time."

Unfortunately, we can't always please everyone. But we do try our best. Hopefully Thom received the information he was seeking.


Cindy writes

"I am very sorry to let you know in the last minute that we are not able to be in the interview on time. We are still on the way which we don't how many minutes more it will take . It is very bad traffic james on the road. 


We do apologise for not be able to keep the appointment .


Best regards, Cindy"


After several emails back and forth, we were able to determine which school Cindy was from and forward her email of apology.

For this we were awarded a Gold Star by Liz, the lovely Admin Officer, for perseverance, patience and ingenuity.

We may have edited our email signature to reflect our new gold star status, just for Liz.




How you can earn your elf hat

When you set up your event, on the EVENT page is a box called "Confirmation Message".  Including your school's phone number (and/or email address) in here,  will help direct parents to the correct person to call if they have questions or need to get a message to your school. 
Everyone who does this has our permission to award themselves a gold star.

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