New Teacher Password Policy


StrongPassword

As part of our continuing effort to enhance our services, a new policy has been put in place to improve schools’ website security.

All new staff members will be prompted to change their passwords.  The new password:

  1. cannot be the same as the old one,
  2. should be at least 8 characters long,
  3. should have at least 1 digit and 1 alphabet,
  4. is case-sensitive,
  5. will expire every year, after which the user will be prompted to create a new one.

Please note that accounts will be de-activated after 5 failed sign-in attempts.  Only the website admin can re-activate them.

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New Customer Service Portal


customer-service

As part of our mission to deliver exceptional customer service, e-Skool launched a new customer service portal in collaboration with Zendesk.  Zendesk is a cloud-based customer service portal trusted and used by more than 25,000 companies worldwide including Disney, Groupon, Pinterest, Vodafone, and Sony Music.

The new portal can be accessed by visiting  http://support.eskool.ca or by clicking the Feedback button at the lower right corner of your school website, after signing-in.

Fantastic service requires continuous improvement, and you can count on e-Skool team to share and collaborate with you as we embark on our journey together.

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e-Skool Starts 2013 with 15,000 Students on Board


e-Skool has started 2013 with 15,000 students on board, according to company executives. The number of students increased by 50% in the past year.

“The increase is impressive when compared to the number of students that e-Skool was serving just few months ago,” declared Alaa Hamid, Managing Director, Styrax Technologies. “I believe that thousands of e-Skool students, parents, and teachers will benefit from the new features being added to e-Skool on a monthly basis.”

Company executives also declared that they’re targeting 30 thousand students mark by the end of the current academic year, as more schools are launching e-Skool every month.

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Uploading Photos Tips


Uploading medium-size photos to your school website is highly recommended because it allows website visitors to download these photos and view them easily.

The recommended size of uploaded photos is 800×600 pixels.  However, you can upload photos up to a maximum size of 1024×768 pixelsAny photos that exceed these dimensions will

automatically be resized by e-Skool and their quality will be degraded.

To maintain high quality photos, it is highly recommended to resize the photos to 800 x 600 pixels using a photo editing tool, like Microsoft Office Picture Manager, or Windows Live Photo Manager before uploading them to e-Skool.

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How to Add a New Announcement


In order to add a new announcement to the school website, you have to be signed-in as either a School Administrator or as a Staff member with permission to publish news and announcements on the website.

  1. Sign-in to your school website.
  2. Click on the Admin or Teacher Dashboard menu item.
  3. Under the Content Info. section, click on Announcements link to open the Manage Announcements page.
  4. To add a new announcement, click on the Add New Item link to open the Add New Item page.
  5. Fill out the following fields:
    • Title: the title of the announcement.
    • Details: the content of the announcement.
    • Posted On: the date the announcement will be published.
    • Expires On: the date the announcement will be removed from the homepage of the website.
    • Posted By: the staff member who is publishing the announcement.
    • Visible To: select Public to allow all website visitors to view this announcement. Select School Members to allow all staff, parents, and students to view this announcement after signing-in to the website. Website visitors who cannot sign-in to the website will not able able to view this announcement. Select Grade Members to allow only teachers, parents, and students of a selected grade and/or section to view the announcement.
    • Applies To: select General if the announcement applies to all the school, or select a specifc grade/section if the announcement applies to certain grades.
    • Closed for Comments: select if you do not want to allow website visitors to comment on the announcement.
    • Show in News Bar: select if you want to show the title of this announcement in the news bar on the homepage. If selected, the title will be removed from the news bar on the Expires On date.
  6. Click Save button to save the announcement.
  7. After the announcement is saved successfully, select Notify Subscribers to send an email notification to all website members when publishing the announcement.
  8. Click Publish button to publish the announcement on the website.

Adding Pictures and/or YouTube Videos:

  1. Click Add Picture to add pictures and/or YouTube videos to the announcement.
  2. To add picture(s) follow these steps:
    • On the Add File Attachment page, click on the Browse button and locate the picture file on your machine.
    • Select Show as Thumbnail to show the picture as a small thumbnail inside the news article. If unselected, the picture will be shown in actual size.
    • Click Upload File button, to upload the picture to the announcement.
    • Repeat the above 3 steps to upload additional pictures.
  3. To add a YouTube video, follow these steps:
    • Go to YouTube website in another window.
    • Find the video that you want to add to the announcement.
    • Click on the Share button under the YouTube video.
    • Click on the Embed button under the Share section.
    • Copy the embed code that appears and paste it in the Video Embed Code box on the Add File Attachment page.
    • Click Add Video button to save the YouTube video under the announcement.
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How to Upload a New File under Online Resources


In order to upload file attachments on the school website, you have to be signed-in as either a School Administrator or as a Staff member with permission to upload files to the website.

  1. Sign-in to your school website.
  2. Click on the Admin or Teacher Dashboard menu item.
  3. Under the Content Info. section, click on Online Resources link to open the Manage Online Resources page.  The files under Online Resources are grouped under a 3-level hierarchy: Grade->Subject->File Type.
  4. To upload a new file, click on the Add New File link to open the Add New File page.
  5. Fill out the following fields:
    • Add New File: click on the Browse button to locate the file you want to upload on your computer.
    • Subject: the subject the file will be grouped under.
    • File/Document Type: the type of the file, e.g., Study Material, Practice Questions, etc…
    • Title: the file title that will be displayed to the website visitor.
    • Posted On: the date the file was prepared and published on.
    • Posted By: the staff member who is uploading the file.  If you are an Administrator, then you can upload a file on behalf of another staff member.
    • Visible To: select Public to allow all website visitors to download this file. Select School Members to allow all staff, parents, and students to download this file after signing-in to the website. Website visitors who cannot sign-in to the website will not able able to download this file. Select Grade Members to allow only teachers, parents, and students of a selected grade and/or section to download this file.
    • Applies To: select the grade(s)/section(s) that this file will be grouped under.
  6. Click on the Save button to upload the file to the school website.
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How to Publish News on the School Website


In order to publish news on the school website, you have to be signed-in as either a School Administrator or as a Staff member with permission to publish news and announcements on the website.

  1. Sign-in to your school website.
  2. Click on the Admin or Teacher Dashboard menu item.
  3. Under the  Content Info. section, click on News link to open the Manage News page.
  4. To add a news article, click on the Add New Item link to open the Add New Item page.
  5. Fill out the following fields:
    • Title: the title of the news article.
    • Details: the content of the news article.
    • Posted On: the date the news article will be published.
    • Expires On: the date the news article will be removed from the homepage of the website.
    • Posted By: the staff member who is publishing the news article.
    • Visible To:  select Public to allow all website visitors to view this news article.  Select School Members to allow all staff, parents, and students to view this news article after signing-in to the website.  Website visitors who cannot sign-in to the website will not able able to view this news article.  Select Grade Members to allow only teachers, parents, and students of a selected grade and/or section to view the news article.
    • Applies To: select General if the news article applies to all the school, or select a specifc grade/section if the news article applies to certain grades.
    • Closed for Comments: select if you do not want to allow website visitors to comment on the news article.
    • Show in News Bar: select if you want to show the title of this news article in the news bar on the homepage.  If selected, the title will be removed from the news bar on the Expires On date.
    • News Picture: is the main picture that will appear on the top-left corner of the news article.
  6. Click Save button to save the news article.
  7. After the news article is saved successfully, select Notify Subscribers to send an email notification to all website members when publishing the articles.
  8. Click Publish button to publish the news article on the website.

Adding Pictures and/or YouTube Videos:

  1. Click Add Picture to add pictures and/or YouTube videos to the news article.
  2. To add picture(s) follow these steps:
    • On the Add File Attachment page, click on the Browse button and locate the picture file on your machine.
    • Select Show as Thumbnail to show the picture as a small thumbnail inside the news article.  If unselected, the picture will be shown in actual size.
    • Click Upload File button, to upload the picture to the news article.
    • Repeat the above 3 steps to upload additional pictures.
  3. To add a YouTube video, follow these steps:
    • Go to YouTube website in another window.
    • Find the video that you want to add to the news article.
    • Click on the Share button under the YouTube video.
    • Click on the Embed button under the Share section.
    • Copy the embed code that appears and paste it in the Video Embed Code box on the Add File Attachment page.
    • Click Add Video button to save the YouTube video under the news article.
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How to be Specific when Communicating with Parents


Research suggests that school-to-parent communication can promote productive parental involvement, and this, in turn, can have a positive impact on student achievement.  How can teachers and schools effectively communicate with parents to promote the positive parental involvement that may result in improved student achievement?

One of the pillers of effective communication with parents is to be specific and avoid ambiguity.

Parents’ lack of familiarity with instructional processes may present a challenge to their cooperation with teachers’ requests.  Teacher communication lacking specific instructions for parents may result in frustration for both the parents and the teacher.

Teachers should always avoid vague statements like:
“Children who read more become better readers”, or
“Please read with your child for ten minutes every day”

The teacher has made what she perceives as a specific request, but without a definition of “read with”, do these statements tell the parents precisely what the teacher wants them to do? Some parents would have questions like: “How much do I read during each session? How do I structure these readings? What should I look for when we are reading? How do I know he is making progress? How can I measure this progress? Would you show me how I should read to/with him?”

Parents who do not know how to comply with the teacher’s request may perceive ambiguity as a reflection of indifference or insensitivity to the parent’s needs. When the parent does not comply, the teacher perceives the noncompliance as indifference on the part of the parent. In this scenario, what started as a well-intended suggestion resulted in a mutual perception between the parent and the teacher that the other is indifferent to the child’s needs.

If the teacher provides specific instructions, parents will know—or at least have a better idea of—how to help.

A better specific statement might be:
“One way you can help your child develop her reading skills is to read (this book) out loud to her for two minutes and then have her read (this book) out loud to you for two minutes for a total of ten minutes every day”

The message could also be customized with suggestions for follow-up activities to address the students’ needs while respecting the parents’ ability to comply. If a written explanation is too daunting, a video explanation and demonstration could accomplish the same purpose.

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The 5 greatest challenges facing private school administrators


Challenges facing private schools make it extremely difficult to keep them thriving and competitive. We studied what these challenges are, as well as uncover strategies to overcome them. We are pleased to share this study with you!

The 5 greatest challenges facing private school administrators:
1. Competition
2. Parental Engagement
3. Communication
4. Pitfalls of Technology
5. Inefficiencies

Challenge #1: Competition

Competition is beneficial to a school and to students in ensuring that all schools strive to improve student outcomes, advance technology, and maintain facilities.  However, it can make an administrators job even more stressful and demanding as they try to maintain a competitive edge.  “Every private school is looking for a competitive edge so they can attract the top tier of kids” ~Sandra Bass, Private School Insider~

Challenge #2: Parental Engagement

The parents of private school students tend to be extremely committed to having a say in their child’s education.  36% of teachers say they often come across parents who need ‘constant reassurance’.  Interacting with faculty, students, the community, policymakers, and parents can be stressful and demanding for administrators.

Challenge #3: Communication

The majority of contact parents have with schools takes place in a rush at the end of the school day.  Parents were asked what type of communication they needed to feel more in touch and involved with the school and their child’s learning process.  Participants wanted a better understanding of:
+ The grading system
+ Homework assignments and ways to help with homework
+ Progress reports or early warnings of academic difficulties
+ Test dates and results
+ Extracurricular activities

Challenge #4: Pitfalls of technology

Rampant viruses, malware, human error, and other technology issues are prevalent in schools.  The costs for technical services, lost productivity, and the value of lost data average $3,957 for each incident.  If data is permanently lost, the average costs are estimated to be amuch higher $20,557.

Challenge #5: Inefficiencies

The lack of effective continued training makes it difficult for teachers to find a place for integrative technology in their classrooms.  Office staff continue to be burdened with paper-work and retyping data.  Teachers complain they do not have the support personnel or training they need to take advantage of current technologies.  Investments in technology don’t promise the returns and benefits expected.

Let us know your feedback on these and any other challenges you’re facing at your school.

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e-Skool Hits 10,000 Students Mark


e-Skool has hit the 10,000 students milestone in October 2011, according to company executives. The number of students doubled in size in just under 3 months, enjoying a 100 percent increase when compared to July 2011.

“The increase is impressive when compared to the number of students that e-Skool was serving just few months ago,” declared Alaa Hamid, Managing Director, Styrax Technologies. “I believe that thousands of e-Skool students, parents, and teachers will benefit from the new features being added to e-Skool on a monthly basis.”

Company executives also declared that they’re targeting 30 thousand students mark by the end of the current academic year, as more schools are launching e-Skool every month.

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