by Andrew Unrein
As educators and administrators, we are all gifted with ample free time. Made you look, didn’t I? All jokes aside, life is hectic for right now. Juggling the enthusiasm and energy of welcoming back new students with the tactical and procedural steps taken to support that enthusiasm and energy is….daunting. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for everything you do.
TalkingPoints is here to support your efforts. As a family engagement platform designed to reach all families through meaningful, two-way engagement and communication, we can support your district, school, and classroom initiatives in an intuitive and effective way. Sounds pretty incredible, right? Well, it is. There is no better solution to support your two-way communication needs universally, but if you’re interested in why TalkingPoints is the leading universal family engagement platform, here are answers to some of our most commonly asked questions from schools and districts who are considering TalkingPoints to support their communication and family engagement needs.
What is the lift for families to use TalkingPoints?
Welcome to the beauty of TalkingPoints. As an opt-out platform, there is literally zero lift for your families to begin utilizing the power of our platform. Once data is pushed to TalkingPoints via your SIS, the first communication can immediately be sent to families. Families do have the ability to unsubscribe, but less than 1% of families choose to. We also capture the data around unsubscribed families and those with invalid phone numbers so your team can follow up.
How do families receive messages via TalkingPoints?
Families can receive TalkingPoints messages in multiple modalities. Our most popular delivery mechanism is SMS text messaging. Our focus on equity prioritizes reaching families where they are. Text message is the most consistent and effective way to do just that. Additionally, family users can choose to download our free mobile application which is loaded with equity features to support language, literacy, and educational context needs. As a school or district administrator, you also can reach families via email notification, translated audio message, and video message (with an auto-translated overlay captions). Our tools are designed to unlock the power of meaningful two-way communication and engagement.
How does translation work with TalkingPoints?
At TalkingPoints, we pride ourselves on having the most educationally contextualized translation model in the PK-12 marketplace. We have developed a translation support system leveraging human translators and our proprietary AI custom machine translation model. All messages sent via TalkingPoints are auto-translated into more than 150 unique languages. Families receive messages in their home language, and their reply is automatically translated back to English for staff members. Additionally, if they choose, staff members can schedule a message for review (24-48 hours in advance) by our human translators. Our staff will vet the content of the message and make edits if needed.
Does TalkingPoints integrate with our Student Information System?
Yes. TalkingPoints communicates with your SIS via one of three mechanisms: Clever, ClassLink, and our TP Connector, which facilitates an SFTP connection for direct data sharing. Once the TalkingPoints data integration team has worked with your building/district team to identify the needed fields and have shared with the appropriate mechanism, TalkingPoints will be ready to support all of your messaging needs across your school or district.
How do I train my staff to use TalkingPoints?
One of the benefits of TalkingPoints is simplicity. We designed our platform with both the staff member and family in mind. The user experience is efficient and easy to master in a matter of minutes. As a building or district leader, we will help support your needs for staff training to fit the mold your staff expects and appreciates. Asynchronous resources are available for those staff members who prefer to provide autonomy to when and how development occurs. Your dedicated Partner Success Manager can also collaborate with your team on an appropriate professional development offering to suit your needs.
How will TalkingPoints support my staff after our initial implementation?
Each school or district that partners with TalkingPoints will receive a dedicated Partner Success Manager (PSM) who will support you through the implementation process. Your PSM will provide high-level support around collaborative goals and initiatives and insight into utilizing TalkingPoints to its fullest potential. In addition to your PSM, TalkingPoints provides a full staffed support team dedicated to solving the isolated problems or issues a user might encounter with their account. Users, both staff and family, can seek help via our in-app support for both web and mobile applications and reach out to our team via email@example.com.
TalkingPoints is an education technology nonprofit that drives student success by removing critical barriers to equitable family-school partnerships, such as language, time, mindsets, and capacity. Ten of the country’s twenty largest school districts trust TalkingPoints to create a district culture where all families, no matter their background, can engage with their schools. Our simple, intuitive family engagement platform offers the highest-quality human- and AI-powered two-way translated communication available — in 150 languages and counting. Named by Common Sense Education as “the best overall family communication platform for teachers and schools”, TalkingPoints leads to higher test scores and lower absenteeism, as shown by rigorous causal research that meets the ESSA Tier 2 standard of evidence. To learn more, view our TED Talk or visit talkingpts.org.