Elementary School

Managing Attendance with ONE: “Sending text messages to parents is incredibly convenient”

, Updated on 2 April 2024
Primary School Attendance with ONE

Handling attendance with ONE can revolutionize the daily operations of a school. Since implementing Attendance by Cédric Correard, notifying parents of their children’s unexplained absences has become a breeze with just two clicks. This development brings immense relief to the director of Grand Châtelet Primary School in Grenoble, which boasts 7 kindergarten classes and 11 elementary classes. Rolled out by the city hall in the fall of 2023, ONE has quickly become an indispensable tool since mid-January.

Note: The Attendance application is exclusively available for schools or projects that have subscribed to the Ultima offer. You can check the applications you have access to in the “My Apps” tab.

What does a typical day at school look like when starting with roll call using Attendance?

I utilize Attendance as early as the evening prior, as there are occasions when parents contact me to report their child’s absence, while others reach out on the morning of. I input and justify absences across various classes using the application. This process allows teachers, during attendance taking with Attendance, to promptly view previously justified absences.

After addressing any urgent matters and morning issues at the school, my initial action upon returning to the office is to open Attendance. Typically, my colleagues have already completed attendance, which is becoming more common. However, if some have forgotten, I remind them via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to ensure they receive a prompt. I then review all absences and rectify those I’ve been informed about. As for unexcused absences, I utilize Attendance to send an SMS to all parents who have not reported their child’s absence.

What’s the primary benefit of this new attendance system for your school?

The ability to send SMS messages to parents in bulk with just a few clicks is undoubtedly one of the most valuable features of Attendance. It’s incredibly convenient because the school needs to inform parents of their child’s absence, but in reality, we don’t always have enough time. Making a dozen phone calls a day would simply be impossible without Attendance. Since we started using the ONE application, parents are always notified of their child’s unexcused absence. By 9:20 a.m., all text messages have been sent. This is especially reassuring for older students, who, starting from the third grade, travel to school alone. If there were ever an issue one day, I know we would have done our part, and Attendance alleviates us of this burden.

The ability to send bulk SMS messages to parents is incredibly convenient; it would be impossible for us to manage without Attendance.

How have parents responded to the introduction of the Attendance application?

The text notifications have prompted more families to respond; now, more of them are reporting their child’s absence. They are taking the process more seriously, which is really encouraging. Currently, there are still too few parents using ONE to report their child’s absence. We’re working on improving this; it will happen gradually, and it will be very convenient once it’s fully adopted. Both teachers and I will be able to receive real-time notifications without me needing to pass on the information.

How have teachers responded to the implementation of Attendance?

The app isn’t utilized in kindergarten since teachers don’t have computers, and at that age, children are accompanied to school by their parents. It’s primarily my elementary school colleagues who have quickly embraced the benefits of this tool and utilize it the most. Some take attendance directly on their phones using the ONE Pocket app, which is very efficient, but I completely understand if some prefer not to use their personal phones. We’re still in the process of implementing the tool at the school. Next year, we’ll take a significant step forward, and I anticipate relying primarily on ONE to track elementary absences, which will be much more convenient.

What other ways have you noticed the school using Attendance?

The staff in the extracurricular program have their own ONE accounts, and if a child leaves school during lunchtime, they can report it directly in Attendance. This happens quite frequently, especially when children are unwell, for instance. The extracurricular staff are increasingly relying on this feature, which is much more dependable than verbal communication. As a result, teachers are not caught off guard when a student is absent from class in the afternoon.

The interactive aspect of Attendance among parents, colleagues, and myself as the principal is truly fascinating.

Do you also have to follow-up less frequently on attendance?

I utilize the absence alert system; with over 300 children in the school, it helps me stay on top of things. This feature allows me to touch base with the teachers and potentially discuss matters with parents. The interactivity provided by Attendance among parents, colleagues, and myself as the principal is amazing. Information flows immediately. For instance, a few days ago, someone called me requesting an attendance record for a child, and with just two clicks, I was able to retrieve it. Normally, I would have needed to ask my colleague to provide me with their attendance register to make copies. However, with Attendance, I could easily review this child’s absences for the past two months while speaking with the concerned parties on the phone, which was incredibly convenient.

Do you have any tips for principals who might be hesitant about using Attendance for taking attendance?

It’s a powerful new tool, and it does take some time to get accustomed to. However, once you’re familiar with it, you can quickly access the necessary information. It definitely helps you save time, especially when it comes to sending text messages to parents, which is incredibly useful. I would say that, overall, Attendance is well-designed. The interface is intuitive, especially with the contextual help available, which is very beneficial.

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