Unified communications platform also supports COVID-19 health screening initiatives so district administrators can act quickly to keep students, staff and families informed and safe
Aeries Communications—the unified school-home communications platform powered by ParentSquare for the Aeries® Student Information System (SIS)—is now providing all-in-one, secure, two-way communications for the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The platform enables the district to engage all students’ families—regardless of language or socioeconomic barriers—with a single, parent-centric communications platform.
OUSD relies on the Aeries SIS as its central database for student information. With 26 years of experience working with K-12 districts, Aeries SIS allows schools to power everything from daily operations to student portals to communication and fundraising. The district’s adoption of Aeries Communications powered by ParentSquare began when OUSD piloted the platform’s COVID-19 health screening tool at three school sites to quickly and efficiently monitor the daily health status of students and staff. Following the successful pilot program, the district expanded the health monitoring tool to include all its staff and 35,000 students in 80 schools.
Today, OUSD has consolidated and streamlined all of their communication and parent engagement activities under the Aeries Communications powered by ParentSquare platform, which offers all the communication tools that district leaders need, including alerts, website and social media sharing capabilities, newsletters, secure student-specific document delivery, automated attendance notices and more. Communications can be translated into more than 100 languages, and app, email, text, voice, and web portal access help foster more equitable communication across the district.
“As we started bringing staff and students back to school during the latter part of the 2020-21 school year, we realized that we needed to have a higher-tech health screening process,” said Joanna Powell, staff attorney for Oakland USD. “We wanted a proven technology solution so that we could ultimately integrate it with multiple systems and applications used in the district.”
Each student or staff member answers three questions—whether they’re COVID-19-positive, if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and whether they’re experiencing symptoms from a provided list. Parents submit screening information for their children if they have a “yes” response, and school staff can submit it for themselves and their children, if applicable. If they answer “Yes” to any of those questions, a pop-up message tells them to stay home.
“We are well on our way to achieving the goal of efficient and effective communication with students’ families now that we have Aeries Communications powered by ParentSquare,” added Powell. “The pandemic tested our communication capacity, but with this comprehensive communications platform at work in our district, we are confident that we can keep our students, staff, and families informed and safe.”
ParentSquare (http://www.parentsquare.com), founded in 2011, is based in Santa Barbara, CA.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.