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    TalkingPoints: New 2-way communication tool available
    Posted on 10/08/2020

    TalkingPoints: New 2-way communication tool available

    Seattle Public Schools is committed to improving two-way family communications and engagement, with focus on families and students furthest from educational justice. In support of this commitment the district has purchased a new communication platform, TalkingPoints.

    This new tool provides two-way machine/human translated text functionality in over 100 home languages. While this tool was purchased to support English Learner families, it will benefit everyone.

    Watch this one-minute video for more details.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are schools and educators required to use TalkingPoints?

    No, but use of the new tool is strongly encouraged. Currently, our ability to send translated text messages is very limited. TalkingPoints will significantly increase our ability to support seamless communication with most of our families.

    Will TalkingPoints be used to communicate with students?

    No. Text-based communication will be sent to parent/guardians listed in our student information system.

    How do I opt out of TalkingPoints?

    If you receive a text message, you can unsubscribe by texting back "stop" or "goodbye" at any time in your home language.

    How will I know if my child's school is using TalkingPoints?

    You will get a text message with an introduction to the tool from your child’s principal or classroom teacher. Your child’s school may also include information in a family newsletter or by robocall.

    Do families need to sign up or opt-in?

    No. Families are automatically signed up. Because TalkingPoints integrates with our student information system, families are already enrolled to receive text messages.

    What language will I receive texts in?

    Your language preference that is listed in the Data Verification Form found on the Source.

    What if I want to change my language preference?

    Your child's teacher can change the language preference directly in TalkingPoints OR if you have downloaded the Parent Mobile Application, you can change your language preference in the app.

    This will change only your language preference for text messages and in TalkingPoints. If you want to change your language preference for all communication channels you will need to do it through the student verification form (see information below) or by asking the school administrator to change in PowerSchool, the student information system.

    What if families don't want to use their data plan? What if families don't have unlimited text messaging?

    Families can use the free TalkingPoints Parent Mobile App if they don't want to use their mobile data plan. The Parent Mobile Application is available for download on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

    Is there a character limit?

    Yes. 300 characters per text.

    Can an educator attach a PDF or other documents to a text?

    Yes, educators will be able to attach documents. Please remember that TalkingPoints only translates the body of the text – not the attachment. School staff will need to translate all attached documents.

    How often is data updated in PowerSchool, the student information system? If I update my contact information when will it be available in TalkingPoints?

    There is a nightly update process. Any changes made in PowerSchool will be reflected in district communication tools the following day, including TalkingPoints and School Messenger (phone calls and emails).

    Why is it important the family contacts/phone numbers are up to date?

    Talking Points and many other communication systems (School Messenger – emails/phone calls and the Source) receive the data from PowerSchool so we must keep the source data accurate. In the event of a districtwide emergency, we need to be able to reach families.

    How do families update contact information?

    Each fall families are asked to update student/family contact information by completing the student data verification form. The 2020-21 student verification form will be available through October 8, 2020 at 6 p.m. The form is accessed via the Source. The online form replaces the paper form historically sent home at the beginning of the year and offers a secure and green alternative to the paper-based process.

    If you need to change contact information (email, phone number, parent/guardian, emergency contacts) AFTER October 8, please let your child's school know. The school administrator and administrative assistant can make changes in the Source and PowerSchool.

    Learn more about the Source, student verification form, and how to update your child's information.

     

    Still have questions? Please send questions to publicaffairs@seattleschools.org and we will add to the FAQ.