Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 19-02-2014

Parents do you know about Snapchat?  When I tell you it is an app for your smart phone or tablet device does your head start to spin?  Have you heard your children mention it?

Snapchat is an app that has been a buzz within schools and among parents a lot this year.  The reason it has been a buzz is because Snapchat is a trendy service used by young people that allows them to send messages, pictures, or videos to other users in real time.  These messages are quick and more personal then standard text messages.  One of the initial cool features of the app was that the messages were believed to be only retained for only as long as the user viewed them the 1st time. (Not totally true)  Young people were enticed to believe that they could communicate in a way that was not being recorded, retained, or able to be shared with others.

If you have not used Snapchat here is a video that may benefit you.   It explains more about what Snapchat is and how it is used.  http://www.kidsinthehouse.com/video/what-should-parents-know-about-snapchat

What should parents be concerned with?  Here is a wonderful guide to what parents should know about Snapchat. http://www.connectsafely.org/wp-content/uploads/snapchat_guide.pdf

Snapchat and other social media apps can be wonderful tools or they can be problems for kids and their parents.  Either way it is important for the adults in students lives to know more about them so we can help guide our kids as to what is acceptable behavior with these services.  At Ellendale School we believe that by helping to educate you on these services we help our kids. Specifically EPS has blocked Snapchat on our student issued iPads.  However, it is impossible to block it on their personal smartphones, nor would I want to do that.  We must be informed and watchful. If you or we see problems stemming from its use, lets communicate and work together to educate our kids on how it could be used better.

Hope you found this article to be beneficial.  Don’t lie, how many of you are installing it right now….

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 10-02-2014

It is always good to hear when parents or families have concerns with some aspects of how we communicate with them as often we are unaware when technologies are not working.  One of these is commonly notification of a child’s lunch balance.  To help clarify here are the steps EPS will take to communicate your child’s lunch balance.

1. PowerSchool Parent – This is by far the best way for you to track your child’s lunch balance and grades.  This can be accessed via the EPS web site.   You will need to know your login and password to access PS Parent.  If you have difficulty please contact the office as we can assist you.

2. PowerSchool Parent Emails – You can set up automatic email notifications within PS Parent in the Email Notification section.  Here you can set up either grade or lunch balance emails to be sent to you daily, monthly, every 2 weeks, or weekly.  This is a very easy way to keep track of both grades and fees.  If you are unable to access PS Parent to set up this feature we again can help you, please call.

3. SchoolReach – When your child’s lunch balance reaches $5 or less EPS will send you an automated reminder call once a week.  This commonly happens on Monday evenings and goes to your home phone.  This is one of the steps that is difficult for us to monitor to see if it is working properly.  PowerSchool and SchoolReach have both automated this process so it happens without any direction from us.  Thus, if the technology is not working we really don’t know till someone lets us know.

4. Reminder Letters – The EPS office will send out reminder letters to families every other week to those that have a balance of $5 or less.   Unfortunately, to save some postage, if your child had a balance of $6 on that date, they could be -$15 or so by the time the next notice goes out.  We know this, and that is why the first notice is just a courtesy.

5. Reminder Letter with a personal message – If a balance remains unpaid after 1 reminder letter then we often send another reminder letter home a couple weeks later.  However, I will personally jot a quick note at the bottom of this letter to better let you know that the balance needs to be paid.

6. Phone call – If the balance remains yet unpaid I will reach out to you personally by phone, email, or text.  This varies on the family and the best way I know to communicate with you.  This is the step taken before a child is put on the peanut butter/cheese sandwich option that is shared in the letter.

Thanks for your questions on this matter and I hope this helps everyone understand what steps are taken by EPS to inform you about your child’s lunch balance.