Alert Solutions Blog

Prevent Bullying and Violence in Your K-12 School – 3 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

In today’s K-12 schools, bullying is a constant fear many children face every day. Bullying not only has an emotional impact on a child, but physically as well. Children are violently pushed, shoved and even beaten.  Violence from bullying or for any other reason needs to stop. Schools cannot watch every child at every second of every day, but there are policies and guidelines students, parents and teachers can follow in order to prevent violence or bullying from happening.

Here are 3 guidelines to prevent bullying and violence from occurring at your school.


According to a Centers for Disease Control report “about 828,000 students each year are victims of non-fatal victimization while on school property.”  This exemplifies the importance of taking violence and bullying seriously.

1. Develop Emergency Preparedness Plans. Every school has different plans to stop violence or bullying from happening. One rule that should be included is a zero-tolerance policy for students to bring weapons of any kind into school. “Some plans may require students to wear uniforms and implement security measures, including metal detectors and visitor sign-in,” as stated by It is important to have students, teachers and staff feel safe at school and not worrying about violent behaviors. <<Download Our Emergency Preparedness Guide>>

2. Develop School-Wide Bullying Prevention Policies.  Schools need to have standard rules and policies for how students, teachers and staff act towards one another. The principal is responsible for standardizing high expectations and goals for good manners and behaviors. Implementing rules for teachers to promote honesty, integrity, kindness and respect are key qualities to discouraging violence.  <<Download Our Bullying Prevention Policies>>

3. Educate Teachers and Students on Violence Prevention.  Teachers should understand how to clearly identify rules and constructive methods of communication in order to prevent violence or bullying. Teachers need to communicate to students how important it is to report any acts of bullying or violence immediately. However, students may be afraid to “tell on” someone in fear of the violent student doing the same act towards them. However, there are anonymous two-way communication methods out there so students can feel at ease about reporting bullying and violence to school administrators. 

Violence and bullying are difficult issues to manage, but it is important to take both harmful acts very seriously. There may always be scenarios of violence and bullying in K-12 schools, but with the support of students, parents and teachers violence and bullying prevention is possible. 

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education

Property Managers: 4 Simple Steps to Hosting Effective Tenant Meetings

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

Your tenant is your customer. In order maintain their residency you must keep them content and satisfied. If your tenant doesn’t like how you are managing your building they may not stay, and most likely tell other people not to reside in your building. In order to retain your tenants you should have meetings when possible to maintain a positive and problem-free relationship.

Here are 4 simple steps property managers can follow to have an effective meeting with your tenants:

1. Identify key tenant contacts at various levels of the organization.
All personnel should meet with their corresponding employee. “For example, your tenant coordinator/administrator should meet with their tenant counterpart, while a property manager or senior property manager should meet with their counterpart,” as stated by Building Engines.

2. Schedule tenant meetings with each tenant on a periodic basis.
All of your tenants should be well informed about your building. Schedule meetings with all of your residents on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis to communicate any issue or concern either party needs to discuss. happyrenters

3. Document the tenant meetings for record keeping. 
Take notes during all of your tenant meetings. Keep record of dialogue, service histories, and accounting information that could be utilized as reminders in future meetings. The more documentation you maintain the more valuable the tenant meeting will be.

4. Don’t assume you know what your tenants want.
Residents expect information online in real time. They want to track and reconcile service requests as soon as possible. All building materials such as the professional tenant handbook, building policies, procedures and internal and external amenities need to be easily accessed online. Another effective way to communicate with tenants is utilizing multiple channels of communication via SMS text message, email or voice. These communication channels are helpful when you need to connect to all of your tenants efficiently and fast. For example, notifying tenants about routine maintenances, payment reminders or emergencies.

Don’t forget to showcase everything that you have improved between meetings, such as energy efficient lighting or additional services that are at no cost to the tenant. Tenant retention is your highest priority. Organizing meetings will help keep your resident satisfied and can ultimately retain them as loyal customers.

To learn more about tenant retention and communication download our Property Management Brochure today.

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, automated collection reminders, tenant notifications, tenant satisfaction

The Many Definitions of School Bullying

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

K-12 school districts are becoming more and more involved with the subject of bullying and cyberbullying. Students, parents, teachers and researchers can agree that bullying needs to end, but what they can’t agree on is the exact definition of bullying. Everyone has their own opinion about what bullying means, but how can schools and research centers determine a generic way to end bullying, if they can’t decide on how to define it?

David Finkelhor, a sociologist and the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, describes why having numerous definitions of bullying is an issue. “There's a tremendous disconnect between how the term is used colloquially by students, teachers, and parents, and how researchers and advocacy types define it. That gap can often mean evidence-based interventions, which are based on narrower definitions used in research; fall short of expectations in schools because they aren't designed to address the problems administrators expect them to fix.”


Not only do students, parents, teachers and researchers have a wide variety of definitions for bullying, but the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and U.S. Department of Education have different methods to classify bullying as well. The CDC’s definition of bullying includes, “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social or educational harm.”

The US Department of Education uses a list of behaviors to describe the definition of bullying from a questionnaire.

However, the responses to previous surveys were not always based on the “formal” classification of bullying so the answers from the students can leave the statistics off balance. “In a 2008 study, researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada asked students to define bullying. While 92 percent of respondents mentioned negative behaviors, just 26 percent said something about the presence of a power imbalance, and just 6 percent mentioned repetition,” as stated by are plans by the US Department of Education to change the 2015 edition of its School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

What is your definition bullying? Share your thoughts on our blog.

For more information on how to prevent bullying, download our bullying prevention guide today.

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

SMS Text Messaging – A Healthy Way to Communicate with Patients

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 09, 2014 @ 12:10 PM

SMS text messaging is a popular form of communication used by millions of people today. In fact, “one-third of Americans prefer text messages to voice calls,” as stated by With that being said, venues like medical practices have started to use SMS text messaging and automated notification reminders as alternative methods to communicate and engage patients outside of the office.

Ray Peloquin, a consultant that helped reduce accounts receivable backlog for a cardiology practice in Missouri, tested one method of communication by sending a SMS text message that said, “We have an issue to speak with you about.”  Patients contacted the medical practice within the first day after receiving the message. He collected more than $4,000 in overdue balances. Peloquin was able to communicate with patients and maintain a healthy relationship, while accomplishing his goal of collecting overdue balances.appointmenttext

SMS text messaging is a fast and effective way to communicate with patients about outstanding balances. Patients have also shown interest in receiving alerts about upcoming appointments and prescription refills.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute:

27% of consumers said they would find medication reminders sent via SMS text message to be helpful

- 40% of respondents said they would be willing to pay a monthly fee for a mobile phone application that would send SMS text messages and email reminders to take medications, refill prescriptions, or to access their medical records

There are existing automated patient notification solutions that send messages to various patients simultaneously. Patients can obtain messages about future appointments, prescription refill reminders, collection reminders and lab result notifications. Enhancing communication techniques will promote a healthier patient-doctor relationship, and increase patient satisfaction and retention.

Here are some helpful tips prior to sending SMS text messages to your patient:

- During registration, ask patients to indicate their communication preference (i.e. SMS  text messaging, email, voice messaging.)

- SMS text messages sent to the patient should not include personal information – only prompted to call medical practice.

- Send SMS text messages "free to end users" to avoid unwanted text charges.

- Include an opt out option to stop SMS text messages. 

- Consult with legal counsel to avoid violating HIPAA, TCPA, and other federal and state regulations.

Discover more ways to improve patient engagement with our automated patient notification solutions. For more medical practice best practice tips, check out these blog posts.

Topics: SMS text messaging, appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction

The Rising Costs of School Bullying – See Who is Suffering

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Oct 07, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

Bullying and cyberbullying are leading concerns in schools around the world. Did you know that between 25 to 33 percent of students say they have been bullied? Or that a shocking 70 percent of students and school staff have seen bullying occur? These statistics were shared with us by

Not only can bullying have a huge impact on someone’s emotional or physical state, it is costing millions of dollars. Two major groups that have been studied based on the costs of bullying are schools and healthcare systems.NewbullyPic

School Expenses

When bullying is not reported and stopped, many students will stay home sick or skip class in fear of being bullied. If bullying is reported, then the student who was the bully could face suspension, expulsion, be transferred to a different school or might eventually drop out of school. Consequently, when these situations happen to the student who was bullied or the bully, it will increase the chance of a schools funding being cut per the lower daily attendance rates.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSA) provides a scenario to consider: If you have 1 school with 1,000 students and a 6 percent truancy rate, 60 students missing 1 day per month for the school year will equal 540 days missed. The calculated national Average Daily Attendance (ADA) rate is about $40 per day so this would result in $21,600 lost in one year based on truancy alone.

Healthcare Expenses

Bullying can also have a huge impact on a student’s future in a negative way. According to the High Mark Foundation’s chart, 30.83 percent of children who were bullied will suffer from a mental health disorder. The treatment costs for each person is an estimated $3,567. Also, an astounding 49.2 percent will end up with an alcohol abuse issue at some point in their life, with treatment costing an average of $2,150 per person.  These costs are associated with bullying alone.

Bullying and cyberbullying not only affects students today, but it can lead to an unhealthy life in the future. For guidelines to improve anti-bullying efforts in your school, download our Bullying Prevention Guide today. 

Topics: student health, bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, truancy

Get Your Email Marketing Campaign Delivered to the Inbox - 4 Dos and Don’ts

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 02, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

Email marketing campaigns are a great way to inform and communicate with your current customers and prospects. Major issues some businesses face with email deliverability include when their email marketing campaign is marked as spam or when the subscriber unsubscribes. Is your company dealing with these issues today? Here are 4 do and 4 don’t tips that may help you keep new and old subscribers engaged, and interested!


1. Use Double Opt-In
Did you know 22% of opt-in email marketing campaigns don’t make it to the inbox? Have subscribers give their email address willingly and confirm the email once they have subscribed. In return, your company will have a better list of subscribers, and fewer emails will bounce back.

2. Have an Easy-to-Find Unsubscribe Link
When subscribers cannot find the unsubscribe link, the email marketing campaign you sent will most likely end up in the spam folder.

3. Set Expectations and Meet Them
Provide subscribers with a description of what they are signing up for, details about information they will receive and how often email marketing campaigns will be sent.
4. Follow Spam Laws
It doesn’t matter where your business is located, be sure to follow the CAN-SPAM Act and/or follow the anti-spam laws when you send emails.


1. Use Rented or Purchased Lists
Sending unwilling subscribers emails is violating their privacy. Send email marketing campaigns to opt-in subscribers only.

2. Include HTML Forms, JavaScript, Flash or ActiveX
Using the above codes may be rerouting your email marketing campaigns directly to spam, even if your subscriber has opted-in. Use proper HTML code for a clean email.

3. Link to IP Address or Unknown Websites
If there is a single link or domain located in an email, it could be associated with other complaints and delivered to

4. Email Sporadically
When email marketing campaigns are sent on a different date and time every month, subscribers are more likely to forget who your company is, and why they wanted to receive your emails. 

Follow these simple steps to a better subscribing list, and enhance your company’s ability for email marketing campaigns to be sent directly to the inbox.

To learn more about how Alert Solutions helps optimize the delivery of your email marketing campaigns, download our Email Deliverability Worksheet today, or for other blogs on email marketing best practices click here

Topics: email deliverability, compliance, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Bullying can Increase Nightmares, Night Terrors and Sleepwalking in Children, Says Study

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Sep 30, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

Bullying and cyberbullying  are chronic issues for K-12 students today. When a child is exposed to bullying, the long term effects can be severe, even generating anxiety and depression over time. If a child’s anxiety is persistent enough – it may cause nightmares, night terrors, and sleepwalking. Parasomnias, or unwanted events and experiences during a sleep cycle, can also be linked to bullying.

A recent study by Professor Dieter Wolke and Dr. Suzet Tanya Lereya of the University of Warwick in the UK suggests, "Nightmares may occur when anxiety exceeds a threshold level, and several studies have suggested that trait anxiety may be related to the frequency of parasomnias. However, even after controlling for pre-existing anxiety problems, our results showed that being bullied may increase the risk for parasomnias."

This study was based on 6,796 children between the ages of 8-10 years old and included children who are bullied and children who bullied others. The results were as follows

-  Children who were bullied at ages 8-10 were more likely to experience sleepwalking, nightmares or night terrors at the age of 12 than those who were not bullied.

-  Children who were severely bullied at ages 8-10 were more likely to have both nightmares and night terrors at age 12.

-  Children who were bullied and bullied others were most likely to have parasomnias.

-  Children who bullied others at ages 8-10 and were not victims of bullying had no increased risk of parasomnias.

If a child consistently has nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking or any other parasomnias, the child’s parents should ask them about bullying. If bullying is a continuous issue, then the parent should talk with the child’s school to find out the best method to prevent bullying in the future.

For more information on how to prevent bullying, download our bullying prevention guide today.

Topics: student health, bullying, cyberbullying, power announcement, powerschool, education

Promote Tenant Safety during Hurricane Season - 6 Guidelines to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 @ 13:09 PM

Promote Tenant Safety during Hurricane Season - 6 Guidelines to Follow

September is National Preparedness Month, and with good reason as Hurricane season is upon us. Property managers need to be prepared for such intense circumstances.

Are tenants aware of evacuation procedures or communication methods the property managers will be using? If not, here are a few guidelines you should follow to prepare your tenants and property before a storm arrives.

1. Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Make sure to have the necessary supplies such as first aid kits, several gallons of water for each tenant, flashlights, blankets, batteries etc.rainoutside

2. Be Aware of the Surroundings
Understand the nature and the elevation of your property. Can it withstand flooding and high winds? Note hurricane routes and evacuation plans throughout your community.

3. Establish a Tenant Communication Plan
It is important to maintain continuous tenant communication during an emergency of any kind. Multi-channel messaging is one of the best ways to provide your tenants with notifications during emergency circumstances using the communication channels they prefer. Using tenant-preferred communication methods allows you to send messages simultaneously to all your residents via email, voice, SMS texts and desktop alerts.

4. Secure the Property to Minimize Damage
Since hurricanes can cause massive amounts of destruction to your property, minimizing damage by purchasing plywood to conceal widows is important. Securing all apartments, offices and common areas is vital to saving money and frustrations after a storm has passed.

5. Prepare the Exterior of the Property 
Secure all outside furniture, garbage cans and decorations. Ensure all trees and shrubs are not falling or are about to fall prior to any storms.

6. Get your Tenants  Ready
Distributing newsletters and flyers is one way to communicate with your tenants about evacuation plans, but using automated messages to update the tenants with the latest coverage about the storm or hurricane approaching is essential for your tenant’s safety. Whether there are evacuation plans that need to be changed or property damage during the storm – this can all be communicated fast and efficiently with a multi-channel messaging system.

Tenant safety is essential for property managers to maintain. They are obligated to keep their tenants informed and aware of what is happening within their living spaces.

To learn more about implementing a tenant notification system, download our Residential Property Management Brochure today.

Topics: multi-channel messaging, property management, tenant communication, tenant safety, tenant notifications

Mobile Device Management: Teachers are Taking Control of the Classroom

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

Technology in the classroom is a growing trend for students and teachers today. Laptops, tablets, cell phones and other mobile devices are frequently used when teaching lessons to K-12 students.

Teachers are implementing a new system into their classroom to increase the attention of students on mobile devices with Mobile Device Management Software. This type of system has allowed teachers to make their lesson strictly about the subject at hand, and not what the student was researching or downloading at any given time.

The Benefits of using Mobile Device Management Software include:


-    “Freezing” mobile devices

-    Locking student’s mobile devices for educational materials only

-    Students will be unable to browse at their leisure

-    Inappropriate applications will no longer be an issue in the classroom

-   Online safety is restored

-    Transitioning to online tests, 1-to-1 and BYOD (bring your own device)

There are certain precautions when using a mobile device management system. For example, certain systems do not work with desktop computers, and other systems can only be used for certain types of operating systems. (i.e. Microsoft Windows, Apple’s Mac OS, Linux etc.)

Another example is from Preston Winn, AirWatch Director of Business Development for Education states, “These devices, if not used correctly, can be a distraction,” Winn says.” It’s not hard to get devices to teachers, the struggle we have is helping teachers understand how to use [them] effectively in class.”

K-12 schools are spending an immense amount of money on mobile devices. Utilizing mobile device management systems properly is key to maximizing the value of an administrator’s investment.

Do you think using the Mobile Device Management system will improve your student’s attention? Share your thoughts on our blog!



Topics: mobile learning, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

Streamlining Patient Communication is Vital - The Right Strategy Can Help

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Patients are in need of fast, easy and effective communication with their medical practice.  Since the Affordable Care Act has been implemented, smaller medical practices have been forced to take on more patients, and they may not be equipped with the right patient communication strategy. Maintaining a high quality relationship with the patient can be a challenge when the medical practice does not have the accurate technology to use.

-          Patients have longer waiting times on the phone and in person.

-          The messages patients leave with the office are often not responded to quickly, or not returned.

-          When a patient is consistently waiting and ignored, they are more likely to switch medical practices.

Not only do these negative impacts affect the patient and the medical practice in the view of the public, but the medical practice can potentially lose a lot of money per patient. On average for a primary care doctor, $100 is lost per missed appointment and $200 is lost per missed appointment for a specialty practice.

The good news?  There are patient communication strategies available for medical practices to use!

Here, at Alert Solutions, these three critical strategies are incorporated into our patient communication solutions:patientwaitingroom1

-          Patient Access and Support - These are important attributes to a patient’s healthy relationship with a medical practice. There should be an established form of communication that works best for the patient.

-          Data Analysis - “With the proper data analytics in place, medical practices can gather and leverage patient contact data to pinpoint and respond to patient communication challenges that might not be obvious to the physicians or office managers.”  Personalization of data for each patient will be useful when sending messages for individual appointments.

-          Multiple Communication Venues - Using multi-channel messaging and automated message delivery, medical offices can engage patients effectively, while saving time and money by freeing up staff time.

How would this patient communication strategy be helpful to your medical practice? Share your thoughts on our blog!

Explore the options for improving patient engagement with our automated patient communication solutions

Topics: multi-channel messaging, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

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