Sign up for alerts and updates
We are are expanding our use of the SchoolMessenger platform to include a full range of email, robocall and robotext notification tools for all stakeholders.
As we launch this expanded platform, we will use it alongside our existing notification and social media tools. However, Capital Region BOCES is discontinuing support for School News Notifier (SNN) at the end of the 2020-21 school year. SchoolMessenger will replace -- and significantly expand on -- SNN's communication capabilities with email notifications, text alerts and more.
SchoolMessenger provides options for parents and guardians, employees and community members to receive news and updates in a variety of categories, including each school, general district news (including Board of Education news), weather-related and other emergency updates, and athletics. We also will continue to use SchoolMessenger to connect with parents and guardians for automated attendance calls.
Parents and guardians will automatically be enrolled to receive emergency updates as well as district news and updates from the school or schools their children attend. Parents and guardians also can create a SchoolMessenger account to manage your preferences for how you receive updates (phone, text and/or email), and to update your preferences to include an additional "athletics" category.
Parents and guardians, please make sure we have your current email, and home and cell phone numbers, on file in schooltool, whether or not you wish to make a SchoolMessenger account. If you are unsure whether we have your current email, please contact your child's school. For more information, please review the "what will be improved with SchoolMessenger" section below, as well as the individual instruction pages for families, staff and community members.
The SchoolMessenger platform is slightly different for families, community and staff. Please select your user group below to learn more and sign up.
Reaching more of our families
Parents and guardians do not need to create an account in order to receive messages. All parents and guardians associated with a student in our schooltool database will automatically receive email updates for school news, automated attendance calls, and phone calls and emails for emergency notifications. Parents and guardians can also receive SMS (text message) alerts for emergency notifications without creating an account, as long as their cell phone number is on file in schooltool, and they have opted in (simply text "Y" or "yes" to 67587). For parents and guardians, creating a SchoolMessenger account simply improves the functionality, allowing you to add additional contact information and receive two additional types of broadcasts: district news and athletics.
Multiple channels of communication
SchoolMessenger will not only provide email updates, but will also give stakeholders the option to sign up for automated calls and text alerts.
All your messages in one place
In addition to receiving updates through email, phone and text, all of your notifications are stored in one place within your SchoolMessenger account, so you can review them quickly at any time.
Synchronized with schooltool
All the contact information for parents and guardians is pulled directly from schooltool, our student information database. This means that parents and guardians will only need to update their contact information in schooltool, and it will then populate to SchoolMessenger. You are also free to add additional contact numbers and emails within SchoolMessenger.
Customizable streamlined preferences
You can pick and choose what news you want to get, and how you want to receive it. The new streamlined categories of updates are: emergency, district news, school news, attendance and athletics. For example, you can choose to receive district-level updates through email only, but school-level updates through email and text message. By default, all families will receive the following for each school a child attends:
- Emergency broadcasts: will be sent to all phone and email contacts in schooltool, as well as SMS text messaging if the number on file has opted in
- District news broadcasts: will be sent to emails and phone numbers on file
- School news broadcasts: will be sent to emails and phone numbers on file
- Attendance calls: will be made to the primary phone number on file
To receive these broadcasts in other formats, or to add district new and/or athletics broadcasts, parents and guardians will need to create a SchoolMessenger account.
Improved school association
Parents and guardians will no longer need to manual add and remove schools as students advance from elementary to middle to high school. Your contact records will automatically be associated with whatever school you currently have a child enrolled in. Staff members will also be automatically associated with the building(s) they work in, and community members are free to sign up to pick and choose which schools they want to receive updates for. If you are a parent or guardian who is interested in receiving updates for other schools in the district that your children do not attend, you are also welcome to create an account through the community subscriber portal, and sign up for as many buildings as you would like.
Room to grow: two-way communication
In addition to being used as a district and school notification service, SchoolMessenger also includes they capability for two-way communication at the classroom level. As staff and families become more familiar with the platform, we will look to roll this feature out universally.
School News Notifier (SNN)
Looking ahead: from SNN to School Messenger
SNN has been the City School District of Albany's primary means of email updates (and emergency text alerts) for more than a decade. We are currently in the process of upgrading to the SchoolMessenger platform, which will be a more comprehensive and robust tool serving all of our stakeholders.
We will continue to use SNN during the transition period, but we plan to transition fully to SchoolMessenger in July.
While you are certainly welcome to still sign up for SNN, we encourage all individuals interested in receiving email updates, as well as text alerts and robocalls if you choose, to sign up for SchoolMessenger using the links at the top of this page.