QUICK REMINDERS FOR ALL THINGS BLACKBOARD:
SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNTS: Everyone who has access to send messages for your school is considered a "School Administrator." This has nothing to do with job title, as in principal, AP, etc. It means the person has administrator permissions for sending messages at that school.
Students = actual student contacts. This is based on whatever information is being captured in PowerSchool.
Parents = all of the primary guardians associated with a student. Again, this is based on what is in PowerSchool.
Teachers and staff = your combined employee list. You have to select both to capture all of your staff in a message.
CALLER ID & REPLY EMAILS: Avoid using personal numbers and emails unless you want TONS of replies. Use a main line number and no-reply email as explained in the red section above.
CUSTOM REPLY-TO EMAILS: You need at least one standard no-reply email address for your school, which is covered in the red section above. But, you can add as many additional custom reply emails as you want in your school's settings. To access these at the time of a message, just click the "Advanced Options" from the message setup column on the left side of your Message screen and check the "Use custom reply-to email" box to select the appropriate email.
UPLOADING LISTS: You can only use a ".txt" file for uploads. All excel and csv files can be saved or exported as a ".txt" file. Remember, if you're using a list of IDs, you only have access to the IDs associated with your school. A list of phone numbers or emails can include anyone.
TEXT MESSAGES: We only have 140 characters, so be creative with our word choice, punctuations and abbreviations. Create short links to web pages or social posts with bit.ly or tinyurl to save characters.
SAVING GROUPS: As mentioned above, use the "Groups" link within the "Messages" section to create and save groups. You can share groups by making them public.
USING ADVANCED SEARCH FOR GROUPS: Remember to deselect all of the account types in the dropdown, then only pick the account type you want - most often this will be Parent. When you start to add your rules, "Match All" means the contact must meet ALL of the criteria, which is what you want for a very targeted group. However, if you have conflicting criteria - like Grade 1& Grade 2 or English & Spanish - you won't get any contacts. "Match Any" means it is getting anyone who matches any single rules you add.
USE REPORTS: In the Reports section, use "Message Tracking" to customize a report, use "Bad Phone/Email" to check bad contact info and use "Do Not Contact (Opt-Out)" to view opt-out status.
SMORE: All schools get 10 free newsletters. This is linked to your school's unique no reply email account. After the 10 expire, you can choose to purchase the subscription. I've also heard that you can log out of SMORE, change your school's no reply account and possibly get 10 more. Worth a try!