Communication

The Communication screen allows users to compose messages and post announcements for select profile users. Emails, Files, SMS, and Phone Calls can be attached to messages and announcements, as needed. Messages can also be scheduled to be sent at a later date or saved as a draft; all incoming and outgoing messages are also housed here to review and send/view replies.

The Communication module available in v.12 replaces the Portal Messages, Messenger, and Phone Communication screens.

The SMS and Call functionality require the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the SMS and Call option doesn't display. Contact your district’s support representative to set up a demonstration.

Districts who have enabled the Communication Platform with the Call Out System expansion, also have the option to add support to extend the call timer for recorded calls. This adjustment can be made by a Focus representative and set to a value in accordance with the call-out length agreement defined during implementation. With this improvement, districts can customize the call timer for recorded calls to align with their specific needs and contractual agreements. This feature ensures that recorded calls adhere to the agreed-upon call-out length and provides more flexibility in managing call durations within the Communication Platform. The current default time is 1 minute.

Click the Opt Out of Email Notifications toggle in Student Info > Addresses & Contacts to stop the contact from receiving emails via the Communication Platform. It's important to note that this setting exclusively pertains to the Communication Platform and does not affect the Print Letters & Send Email functionality.

Setting Profile Permissions
Setting Profile Permissions for Administrative Users

1. In the Users menu, click Profiles.

2. From the Permissions tab, select Menu from the Permission Type pull-down. Select Admin from the Role pull-down. Select the applicable Profiles from the corresponding pull-down.

Profiles

3. Click Submit.

Profiles

4. Click the Students tab.

Profiles

5. In the Communication section, select the applicable check boxes for the Communication permissions.

Profiles

Communication: Select the View check box to grant the profile users permission to the Communication screen.

Send Messages: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to send messages to students and users to whom they have access. Selecting Edit also allows profile users to be able to use templates when composing a new message. This permission also ensures users can add Templates to the students log from the student category when assigned via the Attach To Tab pull-down.

Send From District: Select the Edit check box to enable the Send From District setting when composing messages, which allows users to send messages (and attachments) to recipients from the "district;" the message displays as if sent by the district not the user and will not display in the user's Sent folder.

Send as Priority: Select the Edit check box to enable the Priority option on the Compose, Templates,  Scheduled, and Drafts tabs. When activated, the message will be dispatched ahead of other messages, with the only exception being emergency calls. Enabling and utilizing the Priority option ensures that crucial communications are delivered promptly.

Include Profile in Messaging Search: Select the View check box so profile users can be messaged by other administrative users or teachers at their enrolled school(s). When left disabled, the profile users cannot be messaged, but they can still send messages if they permission to send messages.

Send to Students : Student: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to students' primary email addresses and/or phone numbers as identified in the address block of Address & Contacts via Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as Students in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Student Personal: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to students' Personal Email addresses as identified in Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as Student Personal in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Primary Contacts: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to students' Personal Email addresses as identified in Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as Student Personal in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : All Contacts: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to all users and/or persons in a student's addresses and contacts in Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as All Contacts in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Once Per Family: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to students' custodial contacts and/or contact with a Sort Order priority of 1. The Linked Students section in Student Info > Addresses & Contacts is also used to determine which students are in the same family. Within a sibling group, one student within the group who has at least one contact is selected randomly and all of their custodial contacts are messaged. If that student has two contacts with the same linked user, those two contacts are deduped into one, and the user can see the message when logging in, or through any attached notifications. When enabled, this option displays as Once Per Family in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Teachers Of: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to all the students' current teachers. When enabled, this option displays as Teachers Of in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Staff: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to staff members from the Staff recipient pull-down.

Push Notifications: Select the Edit check box to display the Push Notification check box on the Compose, Templates, Announcements, Scheduled, and Drafts tabs where profiles users can select to send push notifications to mobile app users.

Send Poll of Sign Up: Select Edit check box to allow profile users to create Polls and/or Sign Up sheets to send out to students and users as a way to gather information or volunteers. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Polls and Sign Ups option/tab doesn't display.

Send SMS: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to create and send text messages with messages and announcements. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the SMS option doesn't display.

Announcements: Select the View and Edit check boxes to enable the Announcements screen. Edit will allow profile users to create and post new announcements.

Announcements: Send Emails: Select the Edit check box to generate and attach emails to announcements.

Announcements: Send SMS: Select the Edit check box to generate and attach SMS (text messages) to announcements. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the SMS option doesn't display.

Announcements: Send Calls: Select the Edit check box to generate and attach calls to announcements. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Call option doesn't display.

Announcements: Mobile App Public:  Select the Edit check box to gives profile users the ability to use the "Public (Mobile App)" check box on the Announcements tab in order to make announcements visible to users in the mobile app who are not logged into Focus. Note: This feature is only applicable to customers utilizing the Community Mobile App.

Templates Created by Others: Select the View check box to allow profile users to view and use templates created by other users regardless of sharing status. Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to edit and delete templates created by other users regardless of sharing status.

Publish Templates: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to publish templates to Profiles, Schools, and/or Attach to Tabs. When disabled, these fields will be hidden from the user.

Teacher Attendance Alerts: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to create attendance alerts for teachers from the Settings tab. If enabled, users can set custom attendance reminders for teachers when attendance hasn't been recorded. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Teacher Attendance Alerts option doesn't display.

Attendance Messages: Select the Edit check box to set up attendance-based messages housed in the Settings tab, which allows users to generate messages based on the type of attendance, schools, and attendance codes. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Attendance Messages option doesn't display.

Integrations: Select the Edit check box to create and edit integrations, which displays on the Settings tab.

Academic Record: Select the Edit check box to set the Academic Record Category on the message when sent to the letter log.  Not: This functionality requires the purchase of Focus’ Document Management module.

Phone Calls: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to send phone calls. When enabled, the Call tab displays when composing a message, template, or announcement. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Call option doesn't display.

Emergency Calls: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to send emergency phone calls and/or text messages regardless of the enabled Blocked feature on the student/contact record and/or the system preferences enabled disallowing users from sending notifications during specific time frames. Note: The system will still respect the Callout flag on the student/contact record.

Caller ID Phone Numbers: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to add new phone numbers that will display as the Caller ID when phone messages are sent out. Note: The Phone Numbers enabled display as the Caller ID for phone messages only not for SMS text messages.

Flag Messages: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to flag inappropriate messages in the Inbox tab and the Sent tab. The ability to flag messages also gives users the ability to add referrals (if they have permission to create referrals).

Assign Messages to Users: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to click Assign to User in order to delegate drafts to other users who can then customize the message.

If Send to Students : Student and Send to Students : Primary Contacts are enabled, profile users will have the ability to select Students & Primary Contacts from the recipient pull-down.

If Send to Students : Student and Send to Students : All Contacts are enabled, profile users will have the ability to select Students & All Contacts from the recipient pull-down.

6. Click Save to apply changes to profile permissions.

Profiles

As explained in the descriptions for each profile permission, some require the purchase of the Call Out System. Below is an example of what the permissions look like without the Call Out System.

Profiles
Setting Profile Permissions for Teachers

1. In the Users menu, click Profiles.

2. From the Permissions tab, select Menu from the Permission Type pull-down. Select Teacher from the Role pull-down. Select the applicable Profiles from the corresponding pull-down.

Profiles

3. Click Submit.

4. Click the Students tab.

Profiles

5. In the Communication section, select the applicable check boxes for the Communication permissions.

Profiles

Communication: Select the View check box to grant teachers permission to the Communication screen.

Send Messages: Select the Edit check box to allow teachers to send messages to students and users to whom they have access. Selecting Edit also allows teachers to use templates when composing a new message.

Include Profile in Messaging Search: Select the View check box so teachers can be messaged by administrative users or teachers at their enrolled school(s). When left disabled, the teachers cannot be messaged, but they can still send messages if they permission to send messages. Note: If the user has two profiles, and this permission is enabled for one profile, the user will be available for messaging.

Send to Students : Student: Select the Edit check box to give teachers the ability to send messages to students' primary email addresses and/or phone numbers as identified in the address block of Address & Contacts via Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as Students in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Student Personal: Select the Edit check box to give teachers the ability to send messages to students' Personal Email addresses as identified in Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as Student Personal in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Primary Contacts: Select the Edit check box to give teachers the ability to send messages to students' Personal Email addresses as identified in Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as Student Personal in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : All Contacts: Select the Edit check box to give teachers the ability to send messages to all users and/or persons in a student's addresses and contacts in Student Info. When enabled, this option displays as All Contacts in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Once Per Family: Select the Edit check box to give teachers the ability to send messages to students' custodial contacts and/or contact with a Sort Order priority of 1. The Linked Students section in Student Info > Addresses & Contacts is also used to determine which students are in the same family. Within a sibling group, one student within the group who has at least one contact is selected randomly and all of their custodial contacts are messaged. If that student has two contacts with the same linked user, those two contacts are deduped into one, and the user can see the message when logging in, or through any attached notifications. When enabled, this option displays as Once Per Family in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Send to Students : Teachers Of: Select the Edit check box to give teachers the ability to send messages to all the students' current teachers. When enabled, this option displays as Teachers Of in the recipient type pull-down when creating a message.

Class Announcements: Select the Edit check box to enable the Announcements tab, which allows teachers to create class announcements posted based on schedule sections.

Announcements: Send Emails: Select the Edit check box to generate and attach emails to announcements.

Announcements: Send SMS: Select the Edit check box to generate and attach SMS (text messages) to announcements. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the SMS option doesn't display.

Announcements: Send Calls: Select the Edit check box to generate and attach calls to announcements. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Call option doesn't display.

Send to Staff: Select the Edit check box to give profile users the ability to send messages to staff members from the Staff recipient pull-down.

Push Notifications: Select the Edit check box to display the Push Notification check box on the Compose, Templates, Scheduled, and Drafts tabs where profiles users can select to send push notifications to mobile app users.

Send Poll of Sign Up: Select Edit check box to allow profile users to create Polls and/or Sign Up sheets to send out to students and users as a way to gather information or volunteers.

Send SMS: Select the Edit check box to allow teachers to create and send text messages with messages, announcements, and templates. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the SMS option doesn't display.

Phone Calls: Select the Edit check box to allow teachers to send phone calls with messages, announcements, or templates. Note: This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Call option doesn't display.

Flag Messages: Select the Edit check box to allow profile users to flag inappropriate messages in the Inbox tab and the Sent tab. The ability to flag messages also gives users the ability to add referrals (if they have permission to create referrals).

If Send to Students : Student and Send to Students : Primary Contacts are enabled, teachers will have the ability to select Students & Primary Contacts from the recipient pull-down.

If Send to Students : Student and Send to Students : All Contacts are enabled, teachers will have the ability to select Students & All Contacts from the recipient pull-down.

6. Click Save to apply changes to profile permissions.

Profiles

As explained in the descriptions for each profile permission, some require the purchase of the Call Out System. Below is an example of what the permissions look like without the Call Out System.

Profiles
Setting Profile Permissions for Parents & Students

1. In the Users menu, click Profiles.

2. From the Permissions tab, select Menu from the Permission Type pull-down. Select Parent or Student from the Role pull-down. Select the applicable Profiles from the corresponding pull-down.

Profiles

3. Click Submit.

4. Click the My Information tab.

Profiles

5. In the Communication section, select the applicable check boxes for the Communication permissions.

a. Communication: Select the View check box to grant parents and/or students permission to the Communication screen. In order for parents and/or students to receive messages, parents and students must have View permission to Communication.

b. Send Messages: Select the View (Parents) or Edit (Students) check box to allow parents and/or students to send messages to teachers and users to whom they have access. Parents and students must have permission to Send Messages in order to send any messages or respond to received messages. If parents and students don't have permission to Send Messages, all received messages will be viewable via Communication > Inbox where replies can be sent. However, all other tabs will be hidden disallowing students and parents from composing and drafting messages.

6. Click Save to apply changes to profile permissions.

Profiles
Replacements and Crosswalk

Portal Messages: Messages that display on users' Portal pages can now be created from the Announcements tab.

Messenger: Messages can be created and sent from the Compose tab. Messages can be received from the Inbox tab. Batch messages can also be sent to applicable students and/or staff from the Compose tab. Messages can be flagged from the Inbox and Sent tabs.

Phone Communication:

Drafts tab: Message drafts can now be generated from the Compose tab. From here, messages can be scheduled, set as recurring, and saved as a draft. Once saved as a draft, messages can be viewed and continued from the Drafts tab. Once scheduled, messages can be reviewed and edited, as needed, from the Scheduled tab.

Edit Message button: Adding phone calls and SMS can now be completed from the Compose tab, Drafts tab, or Scheduled tab depending on the message that needs attachments. To add phone calls and SMS, you will click the corresponding tabs.

Attach Recipients button: Recipients are added from the Students and Staff pull-down where you can also conduct a student or user search from the Compose tab, Drafts tab, and Scheduled tab. In addition, recipients can also be imported from a CSV file, as needed.

Test button: The Test button now displays as Test Call on the Call tab of the Compose, Drafts, and Scheduled tabs where calls can be attached to messages.

Send button: Messages can be sent from the following tabs depending on the type of message you'd like to send: Compose, Inbox, Sent, Scheduled, and Drafts tab.

Scheduled button: Messages can be scheduled to be sent out on a specific date during a specified time from the following tabs: Compose, Inbox, Sent, Scheduled, and Drafts tab.

Request History tab: To review a report of sent messages, you can view the Communication Reports, which contains a log of all sent messages including the Type of message, Date, Sender, Recipient(s), Total, Errors, Message sent, Emergency flagged messages, Flagged messages, and more. All your sent messages also display on the Sent tab. To view messages scheduled to be sent out, click the Scheduled tab.

Templates tab: Templates can be created from the Templates tab and applied from the following tabs: Compose, Templates, Scheduled, and Drafts.

Attendance tab: Attendance-based messages can be created from the Settings tab in the Attendance section. The Attendance section allows users to enter a Title, compose a message/email (including applicable attachments, such as files, phone calls, and SMS), select the Type (Daily/Period), Schools, Attendance Codes, Letterhead, and. the Hour and Minute of scheduled time to be sent.

Attendance messages are sent when the scheduled job Communication Queue is run, which replaces the Phone Communication Processing scheduled job.

Phone Numbers tab: Caller ID is set up from the Settings tab in the Caller ID Phone Numbers section where the Title, Phone Number, and Schools can be set. From here, you can also determine if the phone number is Public, the School Default, and/or the District Default.

Composing Messages

The Compose tab allows users to create new messages (previously Messenger) to selected students and/or staff, use a template, create a new portal announcement (previously Portal Messages), and/or create a new template.

Users with profile permissions to Students > Print Letters & Send Emails and/or Users > Print Letters & Send Emails will automatically receive Permission to the Communications Compose tab when version 12 is installed.

Regarding the use of marking period-based fields in Communication: For one-time messages, these fields are populated based on the school year selected in the top-right corner of the screen. For recurring messages, the system uses the current marking period.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Compose tab.

Communication

In addition to composing a message, there are various other options available from this screen. To create an Announcement, create a Template, or Use Template, click the corresponding buttons.

Communication

3. Select the student recipient type from the provided pull-down. This option allows you to choose how the Student and/or Family will be receiving the message. Options include:

  • Students sends the message to the student's primary email address and/or phone number as identified in the address block of Address & Contacts via Student Info.
  • Student Personal sends the message to the student's Personal Email address as identified in Student Info.
  • Primary Contacts limits to the contacts marked as custody.
  • All Contacts includes all users and/or persons in a student’s addresses and contacts.
  • Once Per Family sends the message to the student's custodial contacts and/or contact with a Sort Order priority of 1. The Linked Students section in Student Info > Addresses & Contacts is also used to determine which students are in the same family. Within a sibling group, one student within the group who has at least one contact is selected randomly and all of their custodial contacts are messaged. If that student has two contacts with the same linked user, those two contacts are deduped into one, and the user can see the message when logging in, or through any attached notifications.
  • Teacher Of sends the message to all the students' current teachers.
  • Students & All Contacts sends the message to the student's primary email address and/or phone number as identified in the address block of Address & Contacts via Student Info, and all users and/or persons in a student’s addresses and contacts.
  • Students & Primary Contacts sends the message to the student's primary email address recorded in Student Info, as well as all logged custodial contacts for the selected student. If the student's custodial contacts reside at different addresses or have different recorded email addresses, the message will be sent to all addresses.
Communication

If a student does not have a contact and contacts are selected as the recipient, the system will check for the student's contact records including emails and phone numbers; if no no email or phone number can be found, the system will utilize the contact information of the linked user associated with the student and/or the student's contacts.

The system fall back also applies if Primary Contacts is selected and the Contact does not have an Email Address stored in Focus.

If Student Personal is selected and the Student Personal Email address field is empty, the message will be sent to the Student's Primary Email, and vice versa.

If Once Per Family is selected, duplicate messages may be generated based on the recipient's contact details, such as email or phone number. Although queue records will still be generated for duplicate entries, they won't result in actual email/call transmissions. This ensures that when a parent accesses the system to view messages related to any of their students, the message will be consistently displayed, regardless of which student's record is being viewed.

The Communication Reports displays the Status as "Duplicate" when examining the recipient details for the applicable messages.

To import recipients from a CSV file, which is useful when sending messages to external users and/or students and parents who do not currently have access to Focus, see Importing Recipients.

Communication

4. Select the Student Recipients from the provided pull-down. Select which Students should receive the message.

Communication

If you have access to multiple schools, the Student recipient pull-down allow you to filter by school, such as Focus High School, as displayed in the image below. The schools displayed are dependent on the schools to which you have access and schools that contain active students. Schools that fall outside any specified minimum or maximum school years are excluded from the options presented in these pull-downs.

The number of selected recipients displays in the right corner to ensure you have the correct number of recipients selected out of the number possible; in this case, 3 / 1,345.

Communication

a. Click the Student Groups icon to select a student group as the student recipients from the pull-down.

Communication

You can directly message student groups as long as you have at least one group assigned to you or your profile. For more information, see Student Groups.

i. Upon clicking the Student Groups icon, the pull-down displayed all available student groups. Select the applicable student group from the pull-down.

Communication

Click the Students icon to switch back to a Students pull-down.

Communication

b. Click the More Search Options icon (magnifying glass) to conduct a student search and utilize More Search Options.

Communication

i. Perform a student search. For more information on how to conduct a student search, see Searching for Students.

Communication

ii. Using the check boxes displayed next to the students, select the students to whom you'd like to send the message. The selections here populate the original student pull-down. Select the check box in the header to select all displayed students at once.

Communication

iii. Click Done.

5. Select the Letterhead template that you'd like applied to your message from the pull-down, if applicable.

Communication

Letterhead Templates are set up via Setup > Letterhead Templates. In order to use them in Communication, Communication must be selected from the Available For pull-down.

6. Select the Staff Recipients from the provided pull-down. Select which users should receive the message.

Communication

If you have access to multiple schools, the Staff recipient pull-down allow you to filter by school, such as Focus High School, as displayed in the image below. The schools displayed are dependent on the schools to which you have access and schools that contain active users. Schools that fall outside any specified minimum or maximum school years are excluded from the options presented in these pull-downs.

The number of selected recipients displays in the right corner to ensure you have the correct number of recipients selected out of the number of staff possible; in this case 4 / 921.

Communication

a. Click the User Groups icon to select a user group as the user recipients from the pull-down.

You can directly message user groups as long as you have at least one group assigned to you or your profile. For more information, see User Groups.

i. Upon clicking the User Groups icon, the pull-down displayed all available user groups. Select the applicable user group from the pull-down.

Communication

Click the Users icon to switch back to a Users pull-down.

Communication

b. Click the magnifying glass to conduct a user search and utilize More Search Options.

Communication

c. Perform a user search. For more information on how to conduct a user search, see User Info.

Communication

d. Using the check boxes displayed next to the users, select the users to whom you'd like to send the message. The selections here populate the original staff pull-down. Select the check box in the header to select all displayed users at once.

Communication

e. Click Done.

7. Select the applicable Academic Record category from the pull-down to determine how the message is stored in the students' cumulative folder.

Communication

The Academic Record category field displays if your district is utilizing Document Management, which is an add-on module enabled by Focus. Contact your district's Account Executive for more information about purchasing and enabling this feature.

For more information about Document Management, see Uploaded Files and Uploaded Files Report.

8.  Select the Secure Email check box to flag the messages as secure and require users to log into Focus in order to view the message.

If Secure Email is enabled, the Copy Self option and Cc option are disabled.

9. Select the Priority check box to ensure the message will be dispatched ahead of other messages, with the only exception being emergency calls.

Communication

10. Select the Push Notification check box to send a push notification to mobile app users when the message is sent.

Communication

Enable the Send a mobile app push notification with every message by default when using Communication (if permission enabled) setting via Setup > System Preferences > School Preferences/Default School Preferences > General tab to enable push notifications for every message by default. This ensures that users are promptly informed about vital communications without delay. When enabled, the Push Notification check box is selected by default. Note: The Push Notification check box displays if you or the applicable users have permission via Users > Profiles > Students.

11. Select the Add Log Record check box to log the message in the students' and/or users' Letter Log record in Student Info and/or User Info. The message will be logged when the message is sent. Messages are also logged for students when the message is printed.

If Teachers Of is selected from the Students recipients pull-down, the Add Log Record check box is disabled.

12. Select the Copy Self check box to copy yourself on the email so a copy of the email is sent to you as well as the selected recipients.

Communication

When Copy Self is enabled, you receive one message regardless of the number of recipients. If files are attached to the original, the files are sent in the copy, as well. A copy of the email, SMS, and calls are sent in a copy.If copying yourself, your email will not display as a CC. No translations will be made upon receiving a copy of the email.

13. Select the Send as District check box to send messages (and attachments) to recipients from the "district;" the message displays as if sent by the district and doesn't include your name or information. Once sent, you will receive a confirmation that the message was sent, but the message will not display in your Sent folder.

When you select the Send as District check box, Allow Student/Parent Reply will be disabled.

Send as District displays as Send as School if the school as been excluded from communication via Setup > School Info > Exclude from Communication. See Did You Know? for additional info on the impacts of the exclusion.

Communication

14. Select the Allow Student/Parent Reply to allow student and parent recipients to reply to your message. If this check box is left cleared (disabled), students and parents will not be able to reply to this message.

When enabled, students and parents can reply to your messages directly from the received email (external email address used; such as personal email address); email responses will be sent to a centralized [email protected] email, which will ensure the response is tracked in the appropriate Inbox tab.

Communication

If you start a conversation with a student or parent then send them a reply from the Inbox or Sent tab, the Allow Student/Parent Reply check box no longer displays; however, the student or parent can still reply to your messages.

Contacts, not linked to a user/parent account, can reply to emails sent by either a teacher or an admin when the "Allow Student/Parent Reply" check box is selected. This is applicable when importing contacts as described in Importing Recipients.

15. Enter the Subject of the message in the provided text box. If a subject is not entered, the subject defaults to New Message.

Communication

16. To copy other users on the message/email, enter the emails addresses separated by semicolons in the Cc text box. For example, [email protected]; [email protected]

Communication

17. Select the First Only check box to copy the entered email addresses in the Cc text box on one email only. When the check box is cleared, the email addresses entered in the Cc text box display on all emails sent.

Communication

If the message is flagged as a Secure Email, you cannot carbon copy additional users. The Cc text box becomes inactive.

All users/emails Cc'd will be copied on every message that is sent out. Users are only copied on emails, not SMS or calls. If files are attached to the original message, the files are sent in the copy, as well. Upon being Cc'd, users receive translated messages.

18. If you've set up a signature from the Settings tab, select the Include Signature check box to include the signature in the message.

Communication

19. Enter the Email (message) in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

Click use a template to apply a template to your message. See Using Templates for details.

Follow the steps below to attach a File, Poll, Sign Up sheet, SMS, and/or Call before sending.

Shown below is an example of what the screen looks like without the Call Out System. Notice the SMS and Call tab no longer display.

Communication

20a. Click Send to send the message right away. Once sent, the message displays in the Sent tab.

Communication

If the message is set to be sent out to more than 100 recipients, a pop-up window displays upon click Send to ensure you understand how many recipients are set to receive the message. Click Send to continue sending the message or click Go Back to edit the number of recipients.

Communication

20b. Click Schedule to schedule when the message should be sent.

a. Select the Send Date using the calendar pop-up and enter the send time in the provided text box.

b. If the message is Recurring, select the recurring method from the pull-down, such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Annually.

i. If you set a recurring method, enter a Final Date in the provided text box to establish the time frame for which the message should run.

c. Click Save.

Once scheduled, you can view the message in the Scheduled tab.

Upon scheduling a message, a Send time is required. You must also select a date/time in the future. Dates/times cannot be set in the past.

20c. Click Save Draft to save the message as a draft. If saved as a draft, the message will be saved with all attached data in the Drafts tab.

20d. Click Discard to to discard the message if you do not wish to save it or send it.

21. Click Print to print the message.

Assigning Messages to Other Users

The Assign to User feature allows users to create message drafts that can then be assigned to a selected user. Once assigned, the message displays on the user's Drafts tab and an Alert will display on the user's Portal page. Users must have the necessary profile permission to assign messages.

1. Follow the steps for Composing Messages.

2. Be sure a Subject has been entered, then click Assign to User.

Communication

3. From the first pull-down, select the user to whom the message is being assigned.

Communication

If you have access to multiple schools, the pull-down allows you to filter by school, such as Focus High School, as displayed in the image below. The schools displayed are dependent on the schools to which you have access and schools that contain active users. Schools that fall outside any specified minimum or maximum school years are excluded from the options presented in these pull-downs.

If the recipient lacks the permissions for certain draft fields, said fields will be non-editable and highlighted in gray. Despite this, recipients can still edit, delete, print, schedule, or send the message, and if they have the authority, they can reassign the draft back to the initiator.

4. Enter a Note in the provided text box to explain to the assigned user why you are assigning the message draft to them. Note: The message entered in the Note text box will also display as the Draft title for the assigned user.

Communication

5. Click Assign to User.

6. Click Done in the confirmation pop-up window.

Communication
Messages Assigned to You

Message drafts can be assigned to other users, with the applicable permission. If a message has been assigned to you, you can view it by clicking the Alert on the Portal page or from the Drafts tab in Communication. Once assigned, you can edit and complete the message to be sent out. You also have the option to re-assign the message.

1a. If a message has been assigned to you, you will first receive an Alert on the Portal page.

Portal

1b. From the Communication screen, the assigned message displays on the Drafts tab.

Communication

2. Select the assigned message.

Communication

3. Edit and send the message. See Composing Messages for details.

Communication

4. If you have permission to assign messages, you can re-assign the message or send it back to the originator by clicking Assign to User.

Communication

a1. In the pop-up window, to assign the message back to the originator, click Assign back to [User Name (User ID)]. Clicking Assign back to [User Name (User ID)] automatically populates the recipient pull-down.

Communication

a2. To assign the message to a new user, from the first pull-down, select the user to whom the message is being assigned.

Communication

If the recipient lacks the permissions for certain draft fields, said fields will be non-editable and highlighted in gray. Despite this, recipients can still edit, delete, print, schedule, or send the message, and if they have the authority, they can reassign the draft back to the initiator.

b. Enter a Note in the provided text box to explain to the assigned user why you are assigning the message draft to them. Note: The message entered in the Note text box will also display as the Draft title for the assigned user.

Communication

c. Click Assign to User.

d. Click Done in the confirmation pop-up window.

Communication
Printing & Previewing Messages

1. Follow the steps for Composing Messages.

2. In order to preview the message(s) or to print the message(s), click Print.

Communication

A PDF Print Preview window opens with the message(s) composed.

Communication

3. If printing, you have additional options to consider before printing including:

Communication

a. Include Student's or User's Name/ID on Each PDF Page: Select the check box to include the student's or user's name and identification number on each printed page (as it pertains to that person).

b. Redirect to print Avery Labels for students upon closing modal?: Select the check box to automatically navigate to the Print Avery Labels screen in order to create and print mailing labels for students if mailing the printed letters to students/parents.

c. Print Original: Select the check box to print the original message drafted as opposed to the messages generated based on the recipients' preferred language.

d. Print in Primary Contacts Language: Select the check box to print the messages in the recipients' primary contact language as opposed to the original composition language; i.e. this option translates all letters into the primary contact's language, which is determined by the linked user attached to the primary contact with a sort order of 1.

4. Click Generate Letter to regenerate the messages using the Print Options selected.

Communication

5. Click the Print icon to print the messages. Clicking the Print icon opens another printing window which depends on your computer settings and printer settings.

Communication

6. When finished, click the white X to close the PDF Print Preview window.

Communication
Templates
Creating Templates

The Templates tab allows users to create and save templates to be used for recurring messages, as well as attendance-based messages, if applicable. For more information on applying templates, see Attendance-Based Messages and Using Templates.

The upgrade to version 12 will convert existing Print Letters & Send Emails to Templates, available through the Templates tab within Communication. Additionally, Users with profile permissions to Print Letters & Send Emails (Students) and Print Letters & Send Emails (Users) will automatically receive Permission to Templates when version 12 is installed.

Templates created here can also be used in Edit Rules & Workflow > Workflow Triggers when Communication Template is selected from the Type pull-down.

The migration for Print Letters & Send Emails is a one-time migration. Changes made to a Print Letter & Send Email Template after the migration will not be reflected in Communication, and vice versa.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2a. Click the Templates tab.

Communication

a. Click the pencil icon to create a new template.

Communication

2b. Click the Compose tab.

Communication

a. Click Template.

Communication

3. Enter the Title of the template in the provided text box.

Communication

4. Select the Letterhead template from the pull-down that should be applied to the template.

Communication

Letterhead Templates are set up via Setup > Letterhead Templates.

5. Select the Profiles who can view and use this template from the corresponding pull-down.

If Profiles aren't selected from the pull-down, the template will not be visible to use or edit by any other users besides you (the creator of the template) regardless of the profile permissions maintained by other users.

6. Select the Schools that can access and use this template from the corresponding pull-down.

Communication

If the School Filter has been enabled via Setup > School Fields, the School pull-down displays with an additional filter, as shown in the image below. The School pull-down utilizes the sort order specified in School Info, which is then followed by alphabetical sorting. Additionally, schools that fall outside any specified minimum or maximum school years are excluded from the options presented in the pull-down.

Communication

7. To make the template available on a tab, such as the Demographic tab in Student Info, select the tab from the Attach to Tab pull-down.

Communication

Templates can be generated for Postsecondary Waitlist, School Choice, and Application Editor setup options here, as well, when selected from the Attach to Tab pull-down. Note: Online Application, School Choice, and Waitlist templates can also be set up in Print Letters & Send Email.

If you are creating letters for Fixed Assets > Check Out, select Asset Checkout or Asset Checkin from the Attach to Tab pull-down depending on the type of template you are creating. See Generating Check In and Check Out Letters for more details.

You must have permission to Send Messages in order to email communication templates that are attached to tabs. See Setting Profile Permissions for more information.

Forms/letters created in Communication and attached to a tab will be unavailable to email to linked users from Student Info > Print a Form/Letter pull-down, as shown in the image below.

Student Info

See Student Info > Printing Forms and Letters for details on how to print letters based on a template attached to a tab.

8. Select the applicable Academic Record category from the pull-down to determine how the template (when applied) is stored in the students' cumulative folder.

Communication

The Academic Record Category field displays if your district is utilizing Document Management, which is an add-on module enabled by Focus. Contact your district's Account Executive for more information about purchasing and enabling this feature.

For more information about Document Management, see Uploaded Files and Uploaded Files Report.

9. Select the Secure Email check box to generate a secure message upon using the template to send a message. The Student/User will receive a notification to log into their portal account to view the secure message.

10. Select the Priority check box to ensure the message will be dispatched ahead of other messages, with the only exception being emergency calls, when the template is used.

11. Select the Push Notification check box to send a push notification to mobile app users when the template is used.

Communication

12. Enter the Subject of the template in the provided text box. If a subject is not entered, the subject defaults to New Message.

Communication

13. From the Email tab, enter the contents of the email in the provided text editor. When the template is used, the email contents will be sent to the select profile users.

For Student Profiles, the email will be sent to the student's primary email address. For User Profiles, the emails will be sent to the users’ email address.

Communication

Follow the steps below to attach a File, Poll, Sign Up sheet, SMS, and/or Call before saving the template.

Shown below is an example of what the screen looks like without the Call Out System. Notice the SMS and Call tab no longer display.

Communication

14. Click Save to save the template.

Communication

Click Discard to to discard the template if you do not wish to save it.

Viewing Templates

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Templates tab.

Communication

3a. Select the template from the list.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a template by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon to view all templates in a table view, as displayed below.

Communication

From the table view, you have the ability to view and edit the Title, Profiles, Schools, Attach to Tab, Letterhead, Academic Record Category, and Created By.

a. From the table view, click List View to view all templates in the original panel.

Communication
Editing Templates

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Templates tab.

Communication

3a. Select the template that needs editing from the list.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a template by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon to view all templates in a table view, as displayed below.

Communication

From the table view, you have the ability to view and edit the Title, Profiles, Schools, Attach to Tab, Letterhead, Academic Record Category, and Created By.

a. From the table, click Edit for a singular view of the template where you can make changes as well.

Communication

4. Edit the general fields, as needed, including the Title, Letterhead, Profiles, Schools, etc. and the contents of the Email. See Creating Templates for more information.

Communication

5. Click the File, Poll, Sign Up, SMS, and/or Call tabs to edit or add data.

6. Click Save to apply changes.

Communication
Using Templates

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2a. Click the Compose tab to create a new message.

Communication

a. Click Use Template at the top or click use a template in the body of the message.

Communication

2b. Click the Templates tab, then select the applicable template.

Communication

a. Click Use This Template.

Communication

2c. Click the Templates tab, then click the Table View icon to view all templates in a table view.

Communication

a. From the Table View, click Use.

2d. Click the applicable tab such as Drafts, Polls, or Sign Ups, then select the draft, poll, or sign up sheet.

Communication

a. Click Use Template.

Communication

You can also click use a template in the body of the message if a message hasn't been entered yet.

Communication

3. In the Use Template pop-up window, click the correct template Title to apply to your message.

Communication

The Use Template pop-up window displays the following information as it applies to the template(s): Title, assigned Profiles, assigned Schools, Attached Tab, Letterhead, Academic Record Category, and Created By.

By default, you have access to you own templates. If the profile permission to view and/or edit Other Users’ Templates is enabled, the list will also display Templates created by other users.

The data from the template loads and populates your message.

Communication

See Composing Messages for more information about how to complete a message, save the message as a draft, schedule the message, or send the message.

Deleting Templates

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Templates tab.

Communication

3a. Select the template that needs to be deleted from the list.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a template by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

a. Click Delete.

Communication

b. Click Delete in the conformation pop-up window.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon.

Communication

a. From the Table View, click delete button (red minus sign).

Communication

b. Click OK in the conformation pop-up window.

sandbox.focusschoolsoftware.com says
Announcements
Creating Announcements

The Announcements tab is used to create and publish messages on the Portal to selected schools, staff, parents, and/or students.

Announcements is a replacement for Portal Messages prior to version 12. Users with profile permissions to Portal Messages will automatically receive permission to the Announcements tab when version 12 is installed.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2a. Click the Announcements tab.

Communication

a. Click the pencil icon to create a new announcement.

Communication

2b. Click the Table View icon.

Communication

a. Click New Announcement.

Communication

2c. Click the Compose tab.

Communication

a. Click Announcement.

Communication

3. Enter the Title for the announcement in the provided text box.

Communication

The Title is required to post an announcement.

4. Enter the Active start date and end date in the text boxes provided. Enter the start date to determine the date in which the announcement should be posted to the Portal and the end date to determine when it should be removed.

The Active start date defaults to Today while the end date defaults to No Expiration. If an end date isn't specified, the announcements displays on the Portal until deleted or end dated.

Communication

When you send an Email, SMS, or Call and post an announcement together, the announcement's attached Email/SMS/Call are sent out when the Communication Queue scheduled job runs after the call out window system preference time has begun on the Active date from the announcement. The Announcement itself is posted to the Portal on the Active date.

5. Select the Profiles who can view this announcement from the corresponding pull-down.

Communication

At least one profile must be selected in order to post the announcement, unless the announcement is posted as Public (Mobile App).

6. Select the Student Contacts from the pull-down to determine which group of student contacts should view the announcement; options include Primary, All, Once Per Family, and Teachers Of. See explanations of each type below:

  • Primary limits to the contacts marked as custody.
  • All includes all users and/or persons in a students addresses and contacts.
  • Once Per Family sends the message to the student's custodial contacts and/or contact with a Sort Order priority of 1. The Linked Students section in Student Info > Addresses & Contacts is also used to determine which students are in the same family. Within a sibling group, one student within the group who has at least one contact is selected randomly and all of their custodial contacts are messaged. If that student has two contacts with the same linked user, those two contacts are deduped into one, and the user can see the message when logging in, or through any attached notifications.
  • Teachers Of sends the message to all the students' current teachers.
Communication

7. Select the Schools for which the announcement should display from the corresponding pull-down.

Communication

The schools displayed in the pull-down depend on the schools to which you have permission/access.

If the School Filter has been enabled via Setup > School Fields, the School pull-down displays with an additional filter, as shown in the image below. The School pull-down utilizes the sort order specified in School Info, which is then followed by alphabetical sorting. Additionally, schools that fall outside any specified minimum or maximum school years are excluded from the options presented in the pull-down.

Communication

8. Select the Grade Levels of students and parents of students who should view the announcements on their portals from the corresponding pull-down. Note: If Grade Levels are selected, Students enrolled in the grade level will see the announcement, as well as parents of students in the enrolled grade level (if the Parent profile is selected from the Profiles pull-down). For example, if the Parent Profile is selected, and Grade Levels 10 and 11 are selected, parents with children/students enrolled in grade level 10 and/or 11 will see the announcement.

Communication

9. Enter a Sort Order in the provided text box to set a defined order in which announcements display. If no Sort Order is defined, by default they will appear by Active publish date. If some announcements have sort orders and other do not, the announcements with sort orders will take precedence over those without. If multiple announcements have the same Sort Oder, the secondary Active publish date will be applied in order to sort them.

Note: Entering a Sort Order is completely optional, since the announcements will sort naturally with the most newly available announcement at the top for all users, if it is not set.

Communication

10. Select the Public (Mobile App) check box to make the announcement visible to users in the Mobile App who are not logged into Focus. Note: This is only applicable to customers utilizing the Community Mobile App.

Communication

11. Select the Push Notification check box to send a push notification to mobile app users when the announcement is posted.

Communication

12. Enter the Announcement in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

Follow the steps below to attach an Email, File, Poll, Sign Up, SMS, and/or Call before posting.

Shown below is an example of what the screen looks like without the Call Out System. Notice the SMS and Call tab no longer display.

Communication

13. Click Post.

Communication

Click Discard to discard the announcement if you do not wish post it or save it for a later date.

Once posted the Announcement displays on the Portal in the District & School Announcements section.

Portal

Announcements that are set up without any schools selected will display with the subtitle District Announcement in the District & School Announcements Portal block.  Announcements with a single school selected will display the school’s name in the subtitle. Announcements with multiple schools selected will display without a subtitle.

Portal

For administrators and teachers, only announcements and events for the school selected from the school pull-down located in the header displays. For parents, announcements and events across all schools for which students are enrolled displays. 

Attaching an Email to an Announcement

1. Click the Email attachment tab to attach an email to the announcement. When the announcement becomes active, the email contents will be sent to the select profile users.

For Student Profiles, the email will be sent to the student's primary email address. For User Profiles, the emails will be sent to the users’ email address.

Communication

2. Enter the contents of the email in the provided text editor.

Communication

To remove the email from the announcement, click the X next to Email.

Viewing Announcements

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Announcements tab.

3a. Select the announcement that you want to view.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for an announcement by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon to view all announcements in a table view, as displayed below.

Communication

From the table view, you have the ability to view and edit the Title, Start Date, End Date, Profiles, Schools, Grade Levels, Student Contacts, Push Notification, and Public (Mobile App).

4. From the table view, click List View to view all announcements in the original panel.

5. From the Table View or List View, click the Inactive icon to include inactive announcements in the list of announcements. Inactive announcements include announcements where the Active end date has passed.

Communication

Click the Inactive icon again to hide the inactive announcements.

6. From the Table View or List View, click the All Schools icon to display announcements that have been set up with All schools designated.

Communication

Click the All Schools icon again to hide announcements designated to all schools.

You can select multiple icons to display at once, such as Inactive and All Schools.

Communication
Editing Announcements

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Announcements tab.

3a. Select the announcement that needs editing from the list.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for an announcement by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon to view all announcements in a table view, as displayed below.

Communication

From the table view, you have the ability to edit the Title, Start Date, End Date, Profiles, Schools, Grade Levels, Student Contacts, Push Notification, and Public (Mobile App) using the text fields and pull-downs, or check boxes.

a. From the table, click Edit for a singular view of the announcement where you can make changes as well.

From the table view, click List View to view all announcements in the original panel.

4. Edit the general fields, as needed, including the Title, Active date, Profiles, Schools, etc. See Creating Announcements for more information.

Communication

5. Click the Announcement, Email, File, Poll, Sign Up, SMS, and Call tabs to edit or add data.

Communication

6. Click Post to apply changes.

Communication
Deleting Announcements

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Announcements tab.

Communication

3a. Select the announcement that needs to be deleted.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for an announcement by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

a. Click Delete.

Communication

b. Click Delete in the conformation pop-up window.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon.

Communication

a. From the Table View, click delete button (red minus sign).

Communication

b. Click OK in the conformation pop-up window.

sandbox.focusschoolsoftware.com says
Inbox

The Inbo tab displays all incoming messages sent from students, parents, teachers, and other users. The Inbox tab loads by default when accessing Communications. Message threads are in order of most recently received and display the sender's name and the number of unread messages (if any).

New messages display as an Alert on the Portal page. Click X new message(s) to open your Inbox.

Portal

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Inbox tab.

Communication

All incoming messages are displayed along with the sender's name and their associated school. The number of unread messages displays next to the sender's name.

3. Click the sender's name to open the messages.

Use the Filter to quickly search for a message by typing the the sender's name or part of the sender's name.

Communication

Click the pencil icon to create a message from the Compose tab.

Communication

Once selected, all incoming and outgoing messages between you and the selected user displays. The date and time is displayed along with all messages.

Communication

The icons next to the messages determined the message status and allow various tasks.

The clock icon indicates that the message is processing.

The envelope icon determines the email was sent.

The paperclip displays for attachments. These files can be clicked and downloaded/viewed.

The x icon displays when a message couldn't be sent; the reason the message wasn't sent displays when you hover over the x icon normally because No Contact Information was found. This means the message was delivered to the recipient's Focus Inbox but the recipient was not notified otherwise due to invalid contact data. 

The phone icon displays when the phone call was sent.

The message bubble icon displays when a SMS was sent.

Communication

4. Click the flag icon next to incoming messages if the message is inappropriate and should be flagged as such.

Communication

In the pop-up window, click Confirm.

Communication

Once flagged the message is removed and replaced with "Message Content Flagged."

Communication

a. Click the red flag icon for more options, such as Add Referral (for students), View Message, Remove Flag.

Communication

i. Click Add Referral to add a referral via Add Referral for students. In the pop-up window, select the applicable options and follow the steps for adding a referral to complete the process. Then, click Save.

Communication

ii. Click View Message to display the message while keeping it flagged.

iii. Click Remove Flag to remove the flag from the message.

If profanity is used that is recognized by the system, the message is automatically flagged and hidden. To view the message, create a referral, or remove the flag, see the steps described above.

Upon viewing the message in your email via the email address provided, the following disclaimer displays: Disclaimer: The following message has been automatically flagged for inappropriate content. Reader discretion is advised.

5. To respond to incoming messages, type your message in the provided text area. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

6a. Click Send to send the message right away.

Communication

6b. Click the clock icon to schedule the message to be sent at a later date and time.

a. Select the Send Date using the calendar pop-up and enter the send time in the provided text box.

b. If the message is Recurring, select the recurring method from the pull-down, such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Annually.

c. Click Save.

Once scheduled, you can view the message in the Scheduled tab.

Communication

Upon scheduling a message, a Send time is required. You must also select a date/time in the future. Dates/times cannot be set in the past.

6c. Click the pencil icon to continue writing the message from the Compose tab where additional options are available, if needed.

Communication
Sent Messages

The Sent tab displays all outgoing messages sent from you to students, parents, teachers, and other users. Message threads are in order of most recently sent at the top of the list and display the recipient’s name.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Sent tab.

Communication

All outgoing messages are displayed along with the recipient's name and associated school.

3. Click the recipient's name to open the messages.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a message by typing the the recipient's name or part of the recipient's name.

Communication

Click the pencil icon to create a message from the Compose tab.

Communication

Once selected, all outgoing and incoming messages between you and the selected user displays. The date and time is displayed along with all messages.

Communication

The icons next to the messages determined the message status and allow various tasks.

The clock icon indicates that the message is processing.

The envelope icon determines the email was sent.

The paperclip displays for attachments. These files can be clicked and downloaded/viewed.

The x icon displays when a message couldn't be sent; the reason the message wasn't sent displays when you hover over the x icon normally because No Contact Information was found. This means the message was delivered to the recipient's Focus Inbox but the recipient was not notified otherwise due to invalid contact data. 

The phone icon displays when the phone call was sent.

The message bubble icon displays when a SMS was sent.

Communication

4. Click the flag icon next to incoming messages if the message is inappropriate and should be flagged as such.

Communication

In the pop-up window, click Confirm.

Communication

Once flagged the message is removed and replaced with "Message Content Flagged."

Communication

a. Click the red flag icon for more options, such as Add Referral (for students), View Message, or Remove Flag.

Communication

i. Click Add Referral to add a referral via Add Referral for students. Follow the steps for adding a referral to complete the process.

ii. Click View Message to display the message while keeping it flagged.

iii. Click Remove Flag to remove the flag from the message.

If profanity is used that is recognized by the system, the message is automatically flagged and hidden. To view the message, create a referral, or remove the flag, see the steps described above.

Upon viewing the message in your email via the email address provided, the following disclaimer displays: Disclaimer: The following message has been automatically flagged for inappropriate content. Reader discretion is advised.

5. To send additional messages, type your message in the provided text area. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

6a. Click Send to send the message right away.

6b. Click the clock icon to schedule the message to be sent at a later date and time.

a. Select the Send Date using the calendar pop-up and enter the send time in the provided text box.

b. If the message is Recurring, select the recurring method from the pull-down, such as Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Annually.

c. Click Save.

Once scheduled, you can view the message in the Scheduled tab.

Communication

Upon scheduling a message, a Send time is required. You must also select a date/time in the future. Dates/times cannot be set in the past.

6c. Click the pencil icon to continue writing the message from the Compose tab where additional options are available, if needed.

Communication
Scheduled Messages

The Scheduled tab displays all messages scheduled to be sent out at a later date and/or time.

Scheduled messages are sent when the scheduled job Communication Queue is run. See Scheduled Jobs for more information. Note: Emails are sent out when the message is scheduled; however, calls and text messages still respect the “Do Not Send Calls, SMS Messages or Push Notifications Before This Time” and the “Do Not Send Calls, SMS Messages or Push Notifications After This Time” system preferences set via Setup > System Preferences > Default School Preferences > General.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Scheduled tab.

Communication

Scheduled messages are displayed with the date for which they are scheduled along with One-time or Recurring.

Communication

3. Click the scheduled message to view details and make changes.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a message by typing the the date and message information or part of the date and messagen information.

Communication

Click the pencil icon to create a message from the Compose tab.

Communication

Once selected, the scheduled message displays. Edit the message, as needed. For details, see Composing Messages.

Communication

4. Once all edits have been made, click Reschedule to reschedule the message for a different time and/or date, or click Save to apply the changes to the already set time and date.

Communication
Drafts

The Drafts tab displays all messages saved as drafts.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Drafts tab.

Communication

Drafted messages are displayed with the date and time saved and the type of message, such as Email.

Communication

3. Click the drafted message to view details and make changes.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a message by typing the date and time or part of the date and time.

Communication

Click the pencil icon to create a message from the Compose tab.

Communication

Once selected, the drafted message displays. Complete composing your message and prepare to send the message or save it as draft again. For details, see Composing Messages.

Communication
Polls & Sign Ups Video Overview
Polls

The Polls tab offers users the capability to craft Polls for dissemination to students, parents, and staff, facilitating swift and efficient data collection. These Polls can cover various topics such as Prom themes, entertainment preferences, and more. Users will enjoy the flexibility to create Polls featuring Descriptions, deadlines for Responses Allowed, Questions, Answers, and diverse response types like multiple choice, true or false, reactions, free response, etc.

This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Polls option/tab doesn't display.

Creating Polls

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Polls tab.

Communication

3. To create a new poll, click the pencil icon.

Communication

Polls can also be created and attached from the following tabs: Compose, Templates, Announcements, Scheduled, and Drafts.

a. Click the applicable tab and the applicable message/template/draft, such as Templates tab and the ESOL: ELL_Schedule template.

b. Click the Poll tab and follow the steps below.

Communication

4. Complete the top section of the screen including who should receive the poll using the Students and Staff recipient pull-downs, which Letterhead template to apply, and additional options all explained in Composing Messages.

Communication

5. From the Poll tab, enter the poll Description in the provided text box.

Communication

6. Enter the End Date and Time until which responses are allowed.

Communication

Question 1/1 displays by default. Enter the data for question 1 before adding additional questions.

Communication

7. Select the question type from the provided pull-down; options include Multiple Choice, True or False, Reaction (Smiley), or Free Response. A different question type can be selected per question.

a. If you select Multiple Choice as the question type, you can also select the Select Multiple check box to allow users to select more than one option as a response for this question.

Communication

8. Select the Required check box to flag the question as required. Upon taking the poll, users will not be able to submit their responses until this question is answered.

Communication

9. Enter your question in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

10. If using multiple choice, enter the answer options in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images. By default, there are two options available.

Communication

a. To add answer options, click + Option.

Communication

b. To delete a question, click the X.

Communication

11. To add another question, click the + (addition) icon next to Question 1/1.

Communication

12. Follow the steps listed above for adding questions and options.

Communication

13. Click Edit to delete questions or change the order of the questions added to the Poll.

Communication

a. From the Edit Questions pop-up window, click the delete button to remove a question from the Poll.

Communication

i. In the confirmation window, click Confirm.

Communication

b. To change the order of questions, click the Sort Order field and edit the number.

Communication

c. When finished, click Done.

14. You have the ability to attach an Email, a File, a Sign Up sheet, and/or SMS. Click the corresponding tabs to attach these items to the Poll.

Communication

15. Click Send.

If any of the questions are empty, you cannot send the poll.

There are various other options available, such as Schedule, the ability to Use Template, Print, Save Draft, Discard, and Assign to User. For information on all available options, see Composing Messages.

Viewing Poll Results

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Polls tab.

Communication

3a. Select the poll from the list to view results.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a poll by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon to view all polls in a table view, as displayed below.

Communication

a. From the table view, you have the ability to edit the Title, End Date, and End Time. Click the fields to make changes. Once edited, changes save automatically. Grayed out fields cannot be edited. These fields are grayed out for polls created by other users.

Communication

b. From the table view, you can also view the Responses / Recipients, Publish Date, and the Results by clicking the corresponding button.

Communication

c. If you didn't create the poll, you can click View to view the poll details and sign up. See Taking Polls for details.

Communication

d. From the table view, click List View to view all polls in the original panel.

Communication

Upon clicking the Poll from the List View or clicking Results/View from the Table View, the Poll description and active timeframe displays.

Communication

The questions are displayed along with the responses. You can view responses in a Bar Graph, Pie Chart or in a list per student Name and Response.

Communication

4. To view other questions in the poll, click the arrows.

Communication

5. The response view defaults to a Bar Graph view. To view responses in a pie chart, click the Pie Chart icon.

Communication

6. Hover over the bars or pie pieces to view details about the percentages.

Communication

7. The Closing date and time displays. Click the field to edit the deadline. Once edited, the changes save automatically.

Communication
Taking Polls

When a poll is sent to you, you will receive a message notification in the Alerts section of the Portal page. Click the alert to open Communication.

Portal

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2a. When you have new messages, the Communication screen defaults to the Inbox tab.

Communication

a. Click the applicable message.

2b. Click the Polls tab to view results and/or take the poll.

Communication

a. Select the Poll that was assigned to you.

Communication

Below is an example of a Poll from the Inbox tab.

Communication

Below is an example of a Poll from the Polls tab. When you have the ability to partake in the poll, the questions and options display along the right side.

Communication

The questions displays and the options for selection. This varies depending on the types of questions included in the poll.

3. Select the radio buttons, enter your responses, pick an emoji reaction, etc. then click Next to answer all questions (if taking the poll from the Inbox).

Communication

Click Back to go back to the previous question(s).

Communication

4. When finished, click Submit.

Communication
Sign Ups

The Sign Ups tab empowers users to create sign-up forms for events such as Prom Chaperones, accessible to students, parents, and staff. The creation process aligns with that of Polls, but with the added ability for users to set the Max Responses, specifying the desired number of participants for the task. Results are displayed based on sign-up numbers rather than visual representations like pie charts or bar graphs.

This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Sign Ups option/tab doesn't display.

Creating Sign Ups

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Sign Ups tab.

Communication

3. To create a new sign up sheet, click the pencil icon.

Communication

Sign Ups can also be created and attached from the following tabs: Compose, Templates, Announcements, Scheduled, and Drafts.

a. Click the applicable tab and the applicable message/template/draft, such as Templates tab and the ESOL: ELL_Schedule template.

b. Click the Sign Up tab and follow the steps below.

Communication

4. Complete the top section of the screen including who should receive the sign up sheet using the Students and Staff recipient pull-downs, which Letterhead template to apply, and additional options all explained in Composing Messages.

Communication

5. Enter the Event Title in the provided text box.

6. Enter the Event Location in the provided text box.

7. Enter the Event Date in the provided text box.

8. Enter the Event Time in the provided text box.

Communication

9. Enter the End Date and Time until which responses are allowed.

Communication

Question 1/1 displays by default. Enter the data for question 1 before adding additional questions.

Communication

10. Enter your question in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

11. Enter the answer options in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images. By default, there are two options available.

Communication

12. Click the arrows to change the number of Max Responses per response. For example, if you need 4 volunteers to help set up from 5:00pm-6:00pm, be sure the Max Responses is set to 4 or higher. By default, the maximum is set to 1 response.

13. To add response options, click + Option.

Communication

14. To delete a response, click the X.

Communication

15. To add another question, click the + (addition) icon next to Question 1/1.

Communication

16. Follow the steps listed above for adding questions and responses.

Communication

17. Click Edit to delete questions or change the order of the questions added to the sign up sheet.

Communication

a. From the Edit Questions pop-up window, click the delete button to remove a question from the sign up sheet.

Communication

i. In the confirmation window, click Confirm.

Communication

b. To change the order of questions, click the Sort Order field and edit the number.

Communication

c. When finished, click Done.

18. You have the ability to attach an Email, a File, a Poll, and/or SMS. Click the corresponding tabs to attach these items to the sign up sheet.

Communication

19. Click Send.

If any of the questions are empty, you cannot send the sign up sheet.

There are various other options available, such as Schedule, the ability to Use Template, Print, Save Draft, Discard, and Assign to User. For information on all available options, see Composing Messages.

Viewing Sign Ups

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Sign Ups tab.

Communication

3a. Select the sign up sheet from the list to view results.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a sign up sheet by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

3b. Click the Table View icon to view all sign ups in a table view, as displayed below.

Communication

a. From the table view, you have the ability to edit the Event Title, Location, End Date, and End Time. Click the fields to make changes. Once edited, changes save automatically. Grayed out fields cannot be edited. These fields are grayed out for sign ups created by other users.

Communication

b. From the table view, you can also view the Responses / Recipients, Publish Date, and the Results by clicking the corresponding button.

Communication

c. If you didn't create the sign up sheet, you can click View to view the sign up details and sign up. See Signing Up for details.

Communication

d. From the table view, click List View to view all sign ups in the original panel.

Communication

Upon clicking the Sign Up from the List View or clicking Results from the Table View, the sign up sheet Event Title and active timeframe displays.

Communication

4. Click the pencil icon to edit the Event Title of the sign up sheet.

Communication

a. When finished, click the check mark to apply changes.

Communication

The questions are displayed along with the responses including the number of responses received out of the max number or responses set. You can view responses per user Name and Response.

Communication

5. To view other questions in the sign up sheet, click the arrows.

Communication

6. The number of responses displays out of the number of max responses set. You can edit the number of max responses by clicking the field and typing in the new number or by clicking the arrows.

Communication

A green check mark displays when the set number of responses has been met.

Communication

7. The End Date and end Time displays, as well as the Event Location, event Date, and the event Time. Click the fields to edit the signup information. Once edited, the changes save automatically.

Communication

8. Click Add Response + to manually add a response from a user.

Communication

a. In the Add Response pop-up window, enter the volunteer's Name in the provided text box. Then, click the arrows to sign up for the applicable time or area, etc.

b. Click Next to respond to remaining questions.

Communication

c. When completed, click Submit.

Communication

The manual response is added to the table.

Communication

9. Click Edit next to any of the users to edit the response submitted by the user or to submit a response on behalf of the user.

a. In the Override Response pop-up window, click the submitted number to enter a new one or delete it; you can also click the arrows to change the response. From here, you can also make a new selection or create a selection (if users haven't submitted a response yet).

b. Click Submit to apply the changes.

Communication
Signing Up

When a sign up sheet is sent to you, you will receive a message notification in the Alerts section of the Portal page. Click the alert to open Communication.

Portal

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2a. When you have new messages, the Communication screen defaults to the Inbox tab.

Communication

a. Click the applicable message.

2b. Click the Sign Ups tab to view results and/or sign up.

Communication

a. Select the Sign Up sheet that was assigned to you.

Communication

Below is an example of a Sign Up sheet from the Inbox tab.

Communication

Below is an example of a Sign Up sheet from the Sign Ups tab.

Communication

The questions displays and the options for selection.

3. Enter a numbered response, typically 1, or click the arrows to change the numbers to respond to times or areas for which you are available to volunteer.

If signing up in your Inbox, click Next to navigate to the next questions.

Click Back to go back to the previous question(s).

Communication

4. When finished, click Submit.

Communication
Importing Recipients

The Compose, Scheduled, and Drafts tabs allow users to import recipients from a CSV file, which is useful when sending messages to external users and/or students and parents who do not currently have access to Focus.

The CSV file should include recipients' first name, last name, or full name, email address, and phone number. Note: The phone number field is not required if your district isn't utilizing the Call Out System add-on feature.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Select the Compose tab, Scheduled tab, or the Drafts tab depending on where you need to import recipients.

Communication

3. If you selected the Scheduled or Drafts tab, select the applicable scheduled message or draft.

Communication

4. Click Import Recipients / View Imported.

Communication

5. From the pop-up window, click Upload CSV of Recipients.

Communication

6. Select the CSV from your computer, and click Open.

Open

7. In the Import CSV - Column Setup pop-up window, select the correct column headers from the provided pull-downs to match the data from the file to the system.

8. If your file contains a header, select the Header check box.

Communication

9. Click Submit.

Communication

All imported data populates populates in the Imported Recipients window.

Communication

10. Click Done.

Viewing and Deleting Imported Recipients

The Compose, Scheduled, and Drafts tabs allow users to import recipients from a CSV file, which is useful when sending messages to external users and/or students and parents who do not currently have access to Focus.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Select the Compose tab,  Scheduled tab, or the Drafts tab depending on where you need to view or delete recipients.

Communication

3. If you selected the Scheduled or Drafts tab, select the applicable scheduled message or draft.

Communication

4. Click Import Recipients / View Imported.

Communication

All imported recipients are displayed in the Imported Recipients pop-up window.

Communication

5. Click the delete button (red minus sign) to delete a single entry/recipient or click Delete All to delete all imported recipients.

Communication

If you click Delete All, all recipients are instantly deleted.

a. In the confirmation pop-up window, click OK.

sandbox.focusschoolsoftware.com says

6. To upload more recipients, click Upload CSV of Recipients and follow the steps explained in Importing Recipients.

Communication

To avoid double entry of recipients, delete all entries before uploading a new CSV file.

7. Click Done.

Attaching Files

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Select the Compose tab, Templates tab, Announcements tab, Scheduled tab, or the Drafts tab depending on where you need to attach the files.

Communication

3. Select the applicable message, template, announcement, scheduled message, or draft.

Communication

4. Click the File tab to scan or drag and drop files to be attached. Once attached, the File displays with the message for the user to download. If an email is also attached, the file will be sent as an attachment in the email as well.

Communication

5a. Drag and drop the file from your computer to the file area.

Communication

5b. Click Choose a file or drag it here to select and download the file from your computer. Select the file, and click Open.

Communication

5c. Click Scan to scan a file from your scanner directly to Focus. Select the Scanner, Color, Format, etc., then click Scan.

Communication

5d. Click Take Photo to upload a file using your computer camera. Once your camera loads, click Take Photo.

Communication

6. Once a file is attached, click the download icon to download the file to your computer or click the delete icon to file.

Communication

To remove the files from the message, click the X next to File.

Attaching an SMS

This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the SMS option doesn't display.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Select the Compose tab, Templates tab, Announcements tab, Scheduled tab, or the Drafts tab depending on where you need to attach the SMS.

3. Select the applicable message, template, announcement, scheduled message, or draft.

Communication

4. Click SMS to attach an SMS text to the Announcement. When the announcement becomes active, the SMS text is sent to the selected profile users. This option is only displayed for users with the SMS profile permission enabled.

  • For Student Profiles, the SMS is sent to the student's primary phone number on their Address card where SMS enabled. 
  • For Parent Profiles, the SMS is sent to the custodial contact with the SMS flag.
  • For User Profiles, the SMS is sent to the users’ phone number.
Communication

5. Select the Emergency check box to send an emergency text message regardless of the enabled Blocked feature on the student/contact record and/or the system preferences enabled disallowing users from sending notifications during specific time frames. Note: The system will still respect the Callout flag on the student/contact record.

Communication

6. Type the SMS in the provided text box.

Communication

There is an SMS character limit; here it is set to 130. The number of characters present is displayed out of the maximum number of characters allowed, such as 130/130 as displayed above. The number of characters allowed is determined by the district applied by the SMS Character Limit setting via Setup > System Preferences > Default School Preferences > General tab.

7. Click Insert Field to insert select fields from Focus into the SMS, such as student demographic information.

Communication

8. The pop-up defaults to Student Fields; click User Fields to insert Focus fields applicable to users, and click Finance Fields to insert Fixed Assets fields.

Communication

a. Select the Keep Window Open check box to select multiple fields without closing the pop-up window.

Communication

b. Once all fields have been selected, click Done.

To remove the SMS from the message, click the X next to SMS.

Attaching a Call

This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Call option doesn't display.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Select the Compose tab, Templates tab, Announcements tab, Scheduled tab, or the Drafts tab depending on where you need to attach the call.

3. Select the applicable message, template, announcement, scheduled message, or draft.

4. Click the Call tab to type a text-to-speech message or record a template call to be attached to the message.

Communication

5. Select the Emergency check box to send an emergency phone call regardless of the enabled Blocked feature on the student/contact record and/or the system preferences enabled disallowing users from sending calls during specific time frames. Note: The system will still respect the Callout flag on the student/contact record.

6. Caller ID phone numbers must be set up via Settings > Caller ID Phone Numbers in order for the call tab to be available to you and other users. Once applied, they will display on the Call tab upon attaching a call to a message.

If only one number is setup or available to you, the title of the phone number displays next to Caller ID, as shown below.

Communication

If more than one number is setup and available to use, a Caller ID pull-down displays from which you can select the Caller ID you wish to use.

Communication

To remove the Call from the message, click the X next to Call.

Voice Recording

1. From the Call tab, click the Recorded tab to record your phone call.

Communication

2. If recording your message, click Record and speak your message clearly. Note: You must ensure that the microphone on your computer has been enabled in your computer settings.

Click Finish to stop the recording when complete.

Communication

There is a one minute time limit on recorded messages. If the recording has not been stopped by clicking Finish before the one minute mark, the recording will automatically end. The Time Remaining feature displays the amount of time left to make the recording counting down from one minute.

Communication

There is a brief pause before messages begin upon calls being answered by a person or by voicemail to ensure the entire message is recorded if sent to voicemail. Note: If a person answers the call, the message will begin once the person speaks as opposed to waiting 2-3 seconds.

3. Once recorded, click Play to review your message.

Communication

Click Pause to pause the message.

Click Stop to stop the message from playing and go back to the beginning of the message.

Communication

Click Record at any time, to re-record you message.

Text-To-Speech Phone Call

1. Click the Text-To-Speech tab to enter text that will be transcribed into a voice message.

Communication

2. Enter the content that will be read to recipients as a phone call in the provided text box.

Communication

There is a Text-To-Speech word limit; here it is set to 180. The number of words present is displayed out of of the maximum number of characters allowed, such as 18/180 as displayed below.

Communication Platform aligns the text-to-speech word count with the Focus setting for Phone Recording Minute Limit aka the call length (1, 2, or 3 minutes). The word counts are adjusted accordingly: 180 words for a 1-minute call, 360 words for a 2-minute call, and 540 words for a 3-minute call. The district should contact Focus to adjust Focus Settings in Site Administration.

Communication

3. Click Insert Field to insert select fields from Focus into the SMS, such as student demographic information.

Communication

4. The pop-up defaults to Student Fields; click User Fields to insert Focus fields applicable to users, and click Finance Fields to insert Fixed Assets fields.

Communication

a. Select the Keep Window Open check box to select multiple fields without closing the pop-up window.

Communication

b. Once all fields have been selected, click Done.

Testing a Call

1. Click Test Call to preview the call before it is sent out or posted.

Communication

2. Enter your phone number in the provided text box for a sampling of the call created. Then, click Test.

Communication

3. In the pop-up confirmation window, click OK.

sandbox.focusschoolsoftware.com says
Automatic Translations

The system automatically translates messages using Microsoft Translate for the user/student based on the selection in the District’s set Translation Field.

This functionality requires the purchase of Focus' Translations add-on package.

Setting 1: Messages are automatically translated based on parents' and students' Preferences > Display Options > Language.

Preferences

Setting 2: Messages are automatically translated based on the Primary Student Language set in Student Info.

Student Info

The specific language field depends on the field set as the student's primary language via Setup > Translations > Change Default Language Field.

Translations

As shown below, when the message is sent, the message is automatically translated to the Language selected by the parent/student or set as the student's primary language; in this case, French.

The messages previously sent are in English before the parent set their preferred language to French.

Parents and students can click View Original to view the original message sent in English.

a. The original displays. To view the translation again, click View Translation.

Communication
Manual Translations

The Edit Translations functionality, available via the Compose, Templates, Announcements, and Drafts tabs, allows users to manually translate messages into other languages. If not set, the system will automatically translate the message using Microsoft Translate for the user/student based on the selection in the District’s set Translation Field.

This functionality requires the purchase of Focus' Translations add-on package.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the applicable tab, such as Templates, Announcements, or Drafts.

Communication

3. Select the applicable template, announcement, or draft from the list.

Communication

Use the Filter to quickly search for a template, announcement, or draft by typing the title or part of the title in the provided text box.

Communication

4. Click Edit Translations to manually translate the message into another language.

Communication

If the message isn't manually translated, Focus automatically translates the message to the applicable language based on the receipts language preference.

5. Select the language of translation from the provided pull-down.

Communication

6. Enter the message to be translated in the provided text area.

Communication

7. Click Add Language to add another language of translation.

Communication

8. Select the second language from the provided pull-down.

Communication

9. Enter the message to be translated in the provided text area.

Communication

10. Add as many language as needed. To delete added languages, click the X next to the selected language.

Communication

11. Click Save.

Communication
Settings

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Settings tab.

Communication

3. Select the Remove from Messaging Search check box to remove yourself from the staff recipients pull-down when composing new messages. Users still have the ability to respond to your messages but cannot generate new messages to you when the check box is selected.

Communication

4. Select the Include Student and User names/ID On Each PDF Page check box to add the staff/student name and ID to the header of every printed page.

Communication

The staff/student name and ID are included in the following format for each district user when a template header isn't applied: Last, First Middle User_ID. When a template header is used, the first page is skipped when adding the user name and ID.

5. Select the Default Table View check box to view the Templates, Announcements, Polls, and Sign Ups data in the table view by default. Without this setting enabled, the applicable tabs default to and open in List View.

6. Select the Opt In for Push Notifications on all messages check box to receive push notifications for every message sent to you via the mobile app.

7. Select the Opt Out of Email Notifications check box to opt out of receiving notifications for new messages.

Communication 🔊

8. Click the Email Signature tab to create and save your personal email signature that will be added to the end of your sent messages.

Communication

a. Type your signature in the provided text area. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting and the ability to add links and images.

9. Click the SMS Signature tab to create and save your personal SMS signature that will be added to the end of your sent text messages.

Communication

a. Type your signature in the provided text area.

Communication

Your signature will only be included in the message if enabled using the Include Signature check box while composing messages.

10. If you will be out of the office and want to set up a message that will be sent automatically in response to incoming messages during this period, enter the Out of Office: Start Date and End Date in the provided text boxes.. Then, enter the message in the text area.

Communication

11. Click Save.

Communication
Teacher Attendance Alerts

The Teacher Attendance Alerts section allows users to create attendance alerts for teachers. When enabled, users can set custom attendance reminders for teachers when attendance hasn't been recorded.

This functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Teacher Attendance Alerts option doesn't display.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Settings tab.

Communication

3. In the Teacher Attendance Alerts section, enter the Title of the attendance reminder.

Communication

4. Click Edit to create an attendance reminder message to be sent out when the selected criteria is met.

Communication

a. Enter the Email (Subject and message) in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting, insert fields, and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

b. Attach Files, generate an SMS, and/or Call by clicking the corresponding tabs.

Communication

c. Click Done to close the pop-up when your message is complete.

Communication

5. Select the Schools for which this attendance reminder applies.

6. Select the Periods from the pull-down for which this attendance reminder applies. The pull-down defaults to All.

Communication

Focus will consider various factors including period start and end times, the attendance calendar, rotation days, meeting days, the 'Takes Attendance' setting on the section, and for CTE, the Meeting Patterns, as well as any attendance overrides.

7. Enter the Minutes Threshold in the text box to determine how many minutes should pass after the period has started before the attendance reminder is sent to the teacher.

Communication

8. Select the Letterhead template that you'd like applied to your message from the pull-down, if applicable.

Communication

Letterhead Templates are set up via Setup > Letterhead Templates.

9. Enter the Start Date and End Date to determine when this attendance alert should be active. You can enter the Start Date only until this attendance alert should no longer be used; at which point, you can enter an End Date.

Communication

10. Press the Enter/Return key to add the attendance alert, and click Save.

Communication
Student Attendance Alerts

Student Attendance Alerts are attendance-based messages that can be set up and scheduled to be sent out at specific times with customized messages from the Student Attendance Alerts section.

Student Attendance Alerts are sent from the district, which shows as its own entry in the recipients Inbox. These messages do not show in the Sent box for anyone. This district sender is used only for Attendance Messages. The Caller ID varies based on set up enabled in the Caller ID Phone Numbers section.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Settings tab.

Communication

3. In the Student Attendance Alerts section, enter the Title of the attendance-based message.

Communication

4. Click Edit to create an attendance message to be sent out when the selected criteria is met.

Communication

a. Enter the Email (message) in the provided text editor. There are a variety of tools available, including text formatting, insert fields, and the ability to add links and images.

Communication

Insert "All Periods" to view all periods during which the student had the designated code(s) offering a comprehensive overview of the student's attendance for those specific periods.

image-20231006-202023.png

b. Attach Files, generate an SMS, and/or Call by clicking the corresponding tabs.

c. Click the white X to close the pop-up when your message is complete.

Communication

5. Select the Type to determine the frequency of the message.

Select Period to look at the students period attendance, this will be run as often as the scheduled job is set. Period attendance triggers an alert for each period that meets the attendance criteria.

Select Daily to look at the students daily attendance, this can be ran once a day. Daily attendance triggers an alert when the daily attendance code has been generated that meets the attendance criteria.

Communication

When Daily is selected from the Type pull-down, Once Per Day is disabled/removed as an option.

6. Select the Half Days check box if the students have a half day attendance; when enabled, the calls go out for half day attendance. The option only appears when the selected school has the attendance calculated by minutes and the minutes for half day present is less than the minutes for full day present.

datatable-wait-for-rows-error.png

7. Select the Attendance Codes that drive/trigger the message, such as Absent.

8. Select the Schools for which this job will be run.

The Schools selected from the pull-down overrides the Schools selected when the Template is created; however, the Grade Levels are carried over.

9. Select the applicable Grade Levels from the pull-down if you need to limit the attendance messages to select grade levels. The pull-down defaults to All.

Communication

10. Select the applicable Periods from the pull-down if you are create attendance messages based on Period attendance not Daily attendance (selected from the Type pull-down).

11. Select the Letterhead template that you'd like applied to your message from the pull-down, if applicable.

Communication

Letterhead Templates are set up via Setup > Letterhead Templates.

12. Enter the Start Date and End Date the job should run to send out this attendance message.

Communication

13. Enter the Send Time the scheduled job should run in order to send out this attendance message.

14. To ensure messages are not sent out beyond a specified time, enter an End Time in the provided text box.

Communication

15. Select the Once Per Day check box to ensure the message is only sent out once a day regardless of how many times the criteria is met. I.e. The Once Per Day check box sends one notification once per day per student. The check box is enabled for selection when Period is selected as the Type.

Communication

16. Press the Enter/Return key to add the attendance message, and click Save.

Communication

Attendance messages are sent when the scheduled job Communication Queue is run. See Scheduled Jobs for more information.

Attendance-based messages can be edited as needed by clicking any of the fields and making changes including the Edit button to edit the attached Email, Files, SMS, and Calls.

Integrations

Communication Integrations allows customers to send template messages using files from the uploaded-assets folder on the server. These messages can be sent to recipients specified in the import file and can incorporate additional column variables as insert fields within the message template.

The Integrations functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. If this add-on hasn't been purchased and enabled by your district, the Integrations section doesn't display. Contact your districts support representative to set up a demonstration.

1. File Requirements: At a minimum, a file with a header row and one column to be mapped to a lookup field is required for the Integration. Optionally, districts can include additional columns in the file that will serve as variables that can be inserted into the Communication Message.

(FOCUS-41586) Communication Integrations - Google Docs

2. Uploaded-Assets Diretory: For each Integration, a new directory will need to be created within uploaded-assets.

A set of credentials will be provided to each district to allow access to the server. Please contact your support representative for access.

Import Files for processing should be uploaded to the directory. When the Communication Queue scheduled job runs and a file is available in the directory, messages will be generated and the results are inserted into the communication_integration_logs table.

The processed file will be moved to {IMPORT_DIRECTORY}/processed/{DATE}/my_file.csv to avoid processing the same file twice.

3. Integration Templates: Communication Integrations use Templates to pull predefined content into the messages generated by the import file. To create an Integration, a Template must first be created. 

See Creating Templates for details on how to create Templates.

Navigate to Templates > New Template. Set up an Email, SMS, and/or Call message template that will be sent to the recipients designated in the import file.

(FOCUS-41586) Communication Integrations - Google Docs

Insert Fields as well as Custom Variables from the Import File can be pulled into Messages to generate content specific to the recipient. To populate a variable field from the Import file, insert the Column Header Name in Brackets on the template. For Example:

Import File Sample:

(FOCUS-41586) Communication Integrations - Google Docs

Template Sample: Bus Route {ROUTE} is {VARIABLE_1}

Results:

     Recipients matching KWH2 receive → “Bus Route KWH2 is Delayed 20 Minutes”

     Recipients matching KAC3 receive   → “Bus Route KAC3 is Now on Time”

4. Click the Settings tab.

Communication

5. In the Integrations section, enter a Title in the text box.

Communication

6. Select the Template with predefined content to be used as the message from the provided pull-down.

7. Select the desired recipient type for the message from the Student Contact Type pull-down. Options include: All Contacts, Once Per Family, Primary Contacts, Student Personal, Students, Students & All Contacts, Students & Primary Contacts, and Teachers Of.

8. Select the Student/User Field used to match on the first column of the imported CSV from the Lookup Field pull-down.

9. Enter the directory to search for CSV import files in the File Directory text box. This location must be within uploaded-assets.

10. Enter the date range in which the Integration should be active in the Start Date and End Date text boxes.

11. Enter the Start Time and End Time in the provided text boxes to determine the time in which messages are sent; messages will not be sent before the designated start time or after the end time specified.

12. Press the Enter or Return key to save the integration. You can also click Save.

Communication
Caller ID Phone Numbers

The Caller ID Phone Numbers section allows users to add new phone numbers that will display as the Caller ID when phone messages are sent out. Note: The Phone Numbers enabled display as the Caller ID for phone messages only not for SMS text messages.

The Caller ID Phone Numbers functionality requires the purchase of the Call Out System. Contact your district’s support representative to set up a demonstration.

The Call Out System requires at least one Caller ID to be set up and flagged as District Default in order for the Call tab to be made available when composing a message.

1. In the Students menu, click Communication.

Communication

2. Click the Settings tab.

Communication

3. In the Caller ID Phone Numbers section, enter a Title for the phone number to be used as Caller ID. Note: The Title is for internal use only and doesn't display as caller information.

4. Enter the Phone Number that will display as Caller ID for outgoing phone calls.

Communication

5. If the Phone Number is made Public, you can determine the Schools that should have access to the Public caller ID phone number from the corresponding pull-down. If no schools are selected from the pull-down and the Public check box is selected, all schools will have access.

Communication

6. Select the Student Attendance check box to allow users to use this caller ID for Student Attendance Alerts. The Student Attendance caller ID can be used to send student attendance alerts using the caller ID tied to the applicable school. Note: Only one phone number can be flagged as the default for Student Attendance.

Communication

7. Select the School Default check box to make this number the default number for anyone at the selected school(s). Note: If a user doesn't have any schools selected in their user enrollment record, they will have the district default as their default.

Communication

8. Select the District Default check box to make the phone number the default for the entire district. Note: There has to be one number set as the District Default in order to send calls. If you try to add two district default numbers, the most recently added one will be treated as the default.

9. Press the Enter/Return key to add the phone number, and click Save.

Communication

10. Click Save.

Communication

Once the phone numbers have been added, they will display on the Call tab upon attaching a call to a message.

If only one number is setup or available to the user, the title of the phone number displays next to Caller ID, as shown below.

Communication

If more than one number is setup and available to use, a Caller ID pull-down displays from which users can select the Caller ID they wish to use.

Communication
Importing Caller ID Phone Numbers

The Caller ID Phone Numbers section on the Settings tab allow users to import phone number information from a CSV file that will display as Caller ID for outgoing calls/messages.

The CSV file should include the Title, Phone Number, and applicable Schools. Indicators for Student Attendance, School Default, and District Default can also be specified in the file with a 0 or blank for No and a 1 for Yes.

1. Click the Settings tab.

Communication

2. In the Caller ID Phone Numbers section, click Import.

Communication

3. Select the CSV from your computer, and click Open.

Open

4. In the Import CSV pop-up window, select the correct column headers from the provided pull-downs to match the data from the file to the system.

Communication

5. Click Import CSV.

All imported data populates populates in the Caller ID Phone Numbers section.

Communication

6. Click Save.

Communication
Scheduled Jobs

Communication Status Updates

If the phone numbers supplied by recipients is unreachable, there is a form published to that student/parent or user in order to collect their updated contact information. Once completed, the scheduled job collects data regarding the unsuccessful calls and publishes the form completed by the receipts containing updated contact information to the appropriate users. Note: The appropriate forms must be set up via Setup > Application Editor and the forms must be selected in System Preferences > Default School Preferences > General tab from the Call Out System Student Reenrollment Form and Call Out System Parent Reenrollment Form pull-downs.

Note: This scheduled job requires the purchase of the Communication / Call Out System add-on module.

Communication Queue

This scheduled jobs tracks and generates emails throughout the SIS and ERP systems including all messages created using the Communication screen. All emailing is centrally tracked and controlled by the running of this scheduled job. This scheduled job will be installed by default, and set to run every 15 minutes. The timing of this job should not be adjusted or the distribution of emails from Focus will be delayed to end-users.

This scheduled job locates all scheduled messages being held in the queue and prepares them to be sent out. This job applies to all scheduled messages created by administrative users and teachers. Scheduled messages will not be sent out without the execution of the Communication Queue scheduled job. Each time the job is set to run, it will send out any messages scheduled for the time at or before the current time of processing. Scheduled messages are held in the Scheduled tab. This scheduled job also sends all Attendance messages set up from the Settings tab in the Attendance section. Emails are sent out when the message is scheduled; however, calls and text messages still respect the “Do Not Send Calls, SMS Messages or Push Notifications Before This Time” and the “Do Not Send Calls, SMS Messages or Push Notifications After This Time” system preferences set via Setup > System Preferences > Default School Preferences > General. Note: The Communication Queue job replaces the old Phone Communication Processing job present in version 11.

This scheduled job must be run in order to send push notifications.

Communication Email Replies

When the Reply functions are enabled in Communication, Focus allows users to reply to email communication directly from their email. This scheduled job populates users’ inboxes with responses that have been sent directly from emails.

See Setup > Scheduled Jobs for additional information.

Did You Know?

The communication module respects the hide schedules preferences set via Setup > System Preferences > Scheduling tab. If the "Hide scheduled from teachers" setting is enabled, the student pull-down for the teachers is blank. If the "Hide schedules from students and parents" setting is enabled, the teacher pull-down is not populated for parents or students.

Upon adding images to messages, you can click the image to utilize the Summernote plugin to enhance image attributes. Click the image to open the attribute menu where you can link images, work with images more effectively within the editor, and enable the inclusion of linked images in communications.

Communication

The system field titled, Exclude from Communication, can be enabled via Setup > School Fields and added to School Information. By default, this field is disabled, with no permissions enabled upon installation. To enable from Setup > School Info, you can select the Exclude from Communication check box.

Activating this feature has several implications. Primarily, it removes the excluded school from district-wide communication. This means users and students of the excluded school will no longer appear in the recipient pull-down for communications. Additionally, users associated with these schools lose access to Callout, SMS, or Attendance Communication Platform expansion features.

For schools marked as excluded, communication is restricted to within the school. Features like SMS and phone calls are disabled, and the Send as District option is modified to Send as School. This change ensures that any communication sent displays the school's title and logo, rather than the district's.

Furthermore, announcement emails sent from these schools will list the school’s title as the From Name.

In the Communication Report, these emails will show School as the source and the school title under the From field. See Communication Reports for more information.

School Info

If the system preference, Always Confirm Recipient Count when Sending Communication, is enabled, a confirmation pop-up window indicating the number of recipients displays instead of only displaying the confirmation when the recipient count is over 100. This preference only affects staff users, and not parents and students. This setting can be enabled, via Setup > System Preferences > School Preferences / Default School Preferences > General tab.

[FOCUS-41719] Communication - Always Confirm Recipient Count - JIRA

If the system preference, Default Student Recipient Type, is enabled, the Student Recipient pull-down defaults to the selection made by the district, such as Primary Contacts.

You cannot send new messages when a prior school year is selected in the session.

The ability to send messages to contacts depends on the users' contact information and enabled settings, such as Callout, Blocked, SMS, and Unsubscribe via Users > User Info > Contacts tab. Note: These settings must first be enabled via Users > Profiles > Permission Type: User Fields > Contacts section under Form Records.

User Info