Alert Solutions Blog

Happy Thanksgiving from Alert Solutions!

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Nov 26, 2015 @ 09:11 AM

All of us at Alert Solutions are thankful for our families, friends, and the generous support from our valued customers.

Did you know that we wouldn’t have frozen TV dinners if it weren’t for Thanksgiving? Back in 1953, Swanson foods overestimated the number of turkeys it would sell, and repackaged sliced turkey with trimmings, creating the TV dinner!  We didn’t know, either.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Topics: property management, school announcement, Medical, power announcement, powerschool, education

4 Reasons Why K-12 Schools Hate Snow Days

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

Colder temperatures are settling in across much of the United States. With that, comes school closings.

Closing school is a tough call. The decision often requires hours of preparation and discussion among school administrators, local officials, road crews and meteorologists.

While students may enjoy an unexpected mid-week play day, parents and school administrators feel differently. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Weather Forecasts Can Be Wrong.
Mother Nature is unpredictable. With every winter storm threat, superintendents wake up in the early hours of the morning to check out weather maps and local road conditions. Even after all that research, weather forecasts aren’t guarantees. Most school leaders said they take a better-safe-than-sorry approach, but it can be hard to do as the number of days off climbs.

Make it Easier with the Weather Monitor! School Announcement’s new Weather Monitor enables school administrators to automatically receive alerts of severe weather approaching your K-12 school or district.

2. Students Could Go Hungry.
School administrators know that school might be the only place where some students eat a healthy meal or experience a safe, supervised, warm environment.

3. Weather-Related School Closures Can Be Costly.
Wild weather almost always means extra costs for schools, from storm cleanup to snow removal to staff overtime. But school closures can hurt the budget in deeper ways, especially if the days off begin to pile up. For example, it may lead to cuts if standardized test scores decrease.

4School Closures Means Less Time to Learn.
We all know about  Summer Learning Loss. Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put our nation’s youth at risk for falling behind in core subjects like math and reading. Having too many snow days during the school year can have the same effect. To help prevent this, an increasing number of school districts are using e-learning to keep class in session during inclimate weather. There are many benefits to using e-learning for school administrators, teachers and students, including:

  • Administrators Avoid Adding Makeup Days to School Calendars
  • Teachers Can Continue with Lesson Plans as Scheduled
  • Students Ask Questions More Freely in Online Settings

For more emergency preparedness tips and tricks, download our best practice guide!

Download Alert Solutions'  Emergency Preparedness Guide

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, emergency preparedness, emergency response

3 Tips for Effective Landlord-Tenant Communication

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

Every successful relationship relies on effective communication, and the same is true for the relationship between a landlord and their tenants.

Often times, landlords forget that their tenants are actually their customers, so tenant communication is vital to keep them satisfied and retained.TenantCom.png

The following are 3 effective tenant communication tips shared by a leading property management group:

1. Maintain ProfessionalismUnderstand that your relationships with your tenants are business-related and must be treated professionally. A respectful, non-emotional tenant communication style is recommended, using “sir” or “ma’am” to address them.  

2. Have Flexibility with Tenant CommunicationNot one communication method fits all, and the same is true for your tenants. Rather than thinking about your own commuincation preferences or even those of the majority, ask each of your tenants how they most prefer to be contacted.

Bonus Tip!  Providing multiple options for tenant communication keeps you as flexible as possible.  In addition to email, voice and SMS text messaging, consider translating messages into the native language of the tenant as well.

3. Communicate with Tenants FrequentlyDo not hesitate to over communicate with tenant, according to experts. In fact, property managers that have effective tenant communication are more successful in attracting and retaining tenants to their properties. Clearly, getting information to your tenants, whether crucial or informational, is a very high priority.

Alert Solutions can help you experience all of these benefits.  Download our Guide to Effective Tenant Communication and get started today!

Download Now!


Topics: property management, tenant communication, tenant notifications

Many K-12 Schools Are Dedicating November to Improving Parent Engagement

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

K-12 schools in many states across the country are dedicating the month of November to increasing awareness about the importance of parent engagement. For example:

November is Parent Engagement Month in Georgia, and k-12 schools and districts across the state will be highlighting the role parents play in their children’s education.

Connecticut, California, Florida, Wisconsin
K-12 schools in these states endorse November 19th as National Parent Involvement Day and its goal of increasing overall student achievement through parent engagement. 

More than 30 years of research supports the belief that a positive relationship endures between increased parent engagement and student academic success

When k-12 schools work together with parents to support learning, children are inclined to experience improved student health, better grades and a more successful life.   

Here are a few simple steps to help parents stay engaged and involved in education: 

  • Establish a daily family routine.
  • Monitor out-of-school activities.
  • Maintain consistent teacher-parent communication.
  • Model the value of learning, self-discipline, and hard work.
  • Express high but realistic expectations for academic achievement.
  • Encourage children's development/progress in school.     

For more tips and tricks, download our best practice guide today!

Improving Parent Engagement

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement

Applying Automation to Patient Communication – 3 BIG Benefits

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Nov 12, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

According to a recent report from HealthLeaders, 75% of health system CEOs say overall cost reduction and efficiency is a top financial priority at their organizations. 

The reason is clear: increased operational expenses remain a primary challenge facing healthcare providers in 2015.

Healthcare industry experts are pointing to automation as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency.  One of the areas seeing the most benefit of automation is patient communication.

Here are three big benefits of implementing automated patient communication:

Benefit #1: Saves on Labor Costs
Since automated patient communication can apply to multiple applications, several areas of a medical practice can benefit.  Whether appointment reminders or collection reminders, automation helps to improve efficiency by allowing staff to focus on more important tasks, such as greeting patients.

Benefit #2: Improves Patient Outreach Quality

Automated patient notifications improve outreach quality because message content is standard and consistent.  The chance of human error or fatigue is eliminated with automation techniques.  This provides patients with high quality patient communications they can rely on.

Benefit #3: Reduces Paper Consumption
Medical practices that automate their patient communication reduce their costs with the consumption of less paper, ink and postage.  Snail mail will be a thing of the past, as patients can simply press a button on their touch-tone phone or reply “Yes” to an email or text .

Is your medical practice using automated patient communication to reduce costs and improve efficiency? If not, Alert Solutions can help!

Topics: automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

Why Are Some K-12 High Schools Implementing Later Start Times?

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 11:11 AM

High school students often seem to stay up too late and have trouble getting out of bed for school the next morning. There might be social and environmental factors that influence a student’s sleep behavior, but it’s much more than that.

Because the sleep-wake cycle changes as children grow into adolescents, early high school start time has been identified as an important external factor that could restrict sleep and negatively affect academic learning.

Recently, a Chicago-area school will now join the ranks of hundreds of other K-12 schools across the country that have adopted a tiny but powerful revision in their school: later start time for classes.

Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois will push classes back 25 minutes, to 8:30am, in August 2016. The decision was based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a handful of other groups.

For example, a study conducted by the US Air Force Academy proved a causal relationship between academic performance and start times.

In 2014, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement completed a three-year project that found that later K-12 school start times increase academic performance and decrease truancy.

The study was conducted with over 9,000 students in eight public high schools in three states. Students were individually surveyed about their daily activities, substance use, and sleep habits.

The following results were recorded in schools that adopted a later start time:

  • Teen (Ages 16 to 18) Car Crashes Dropped by 70% at One School
  • Student Attendance Rates Increased and Tardiness Among Students Decreased
  • Academic Performance and Standardized Testing Improved in Multiple Subjects
  • 65% Of Students Slept 8 or More Hours When School Started After 8:30am

Has your school adopted a later start time? Please share your experiences on our blog!

Topics: attendance, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

Expand Lead Generation Techniques with Automated Voice Broadcasting Campaigns

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Nov 05, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

Generating quality leads is often a struggle for organizations.  But with automated voice broadcasting, leads can call your sales team directly instead of the other way around.

By reaching out to multiple prospects simultaneously, it’s said that voice broadcasting campaigns offer a response rate three times greater than that of other marketing channels.

See for yourself!  Use the following steps to quick-start lead generation with automated voice broadcasting:

1. Select your call recipients

Choose your audience wisely and legally.  You will want to send voice broadcasts to recipients that find your message relevant and timely to their wants and needs. 

2. Create a solid voice broadcasting script

Many providers offer text-to-speech translation as well as the ability to record a script in your own familiar voice.  Best practice says that automated voice broadcasts should be kept to a length of 30 seconds or less.

3. Choose the right time to send

The success of a voice broadcast depends largely on the day and time you choose to send your call.  Voicemail answers are a good bet in the middle of the day, while live answers are most likely from 6-8pm local time. 

4. Give leads the opportunity to respond

A “hot key” is a good tool that allows call recipients to press a button on their touch-tone phone and be redirected back to your sales team. Last, but certainly not least: Know the rules and regulations

Voice broadcasting requires explicit consent from all recipients you intend on sending a call to.  Penalties for non-compliance can add up quick: $500 to $1,500 for each unsolicited call.

>>Download Alert Solutions’ Voice Compliance Fact Sheet<< 

Alert Solutions can help your organization get started with voice broadcasting the right way.  To learn more, download our Voice Broadcasting Brochure today!


Topics: lead generation, voice broadcasting, voice broadcasting best practices

U.S. School Graduation Rates to Rise for Third Straight Year, Data Suggests

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Nov 03, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

Newly released federal data suggests that national graduation rates are likely to rise for the third consecutive year.

In addition to an increase in graduation rates, most states also saw a decrease in achievement gaps for minority students, low-income students and students with disabilities.

Here are some highlights from the data:

  • Graduation rates rose in 36 states, including Alabama, Maryland and Virginia.
  • The student achievement gap between white and Hispanic students narrowed in 32 states.
  • Delaware experienced the most significant increase – up 6% from 2013.
  • Five states experienced a decline in graduation rates, including the District of Columbia and New Mexico.
  • The student achievement gap between white and black students narrowed in 28 states.

The National Center for Education Statistics is expected to release final graduation rate data in the coming months.

To compare, eighty-one percent of the Class of 2013 graduated on time - the highest figure since states began calculating graduation rates in a uniform way in 2010.

Since 2010, states, K-12 schools and districts have been using a new metric – the adjusted cohort graduation rate – to promote greater accountability.

It has also helped K-12 school administrators develop strategies that will help reduce student dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide.

To learn how you can help reduce student dropout rates at your K-12 school or district, check out the strategies in this blog post.

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

Halloween is Almost Here!  Preparation Tips for Property Managers

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 @ 10:10 AM

Halloween is only a couple of days away!  For property managers, this can mean a time of increased activity on and around your residential property.

The Institute of Real Estate Management has released some very helpful tips for property managers to prepare for Halloween.  If you haven’t already, now’s the time to think about it:

Have you planned any activities?Everyone enjoys Halloween activities close to home.  If you don’t have anything planned, think about hosting a costume contest, pumpkin decorating party or Halloween safety program for your tenants, guests and staff in the community room.

Do you have a trick-or-treating policy?Depending on the number of residential units, some properties and complexes have trick-or-treating policies, such as hour restrictions or a sign-up sheet.  If such a policy exists, be sure to have effective tenant communication so both residents and guests are prepared.

General Safety Tips: Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t just treats.  To reduce mischief and vandalism tricks around your property: 
  • Ensure exterior areas are well-lit with functional lighting.
  • Secure gates or doors where access is unauthorized.
  • Think about hiring security, if necessary.
  • Call the police and file a report if vandalism occurs.

Bonus Tip for Property Managers:  Spread the word about Halloween safety and activities to your tenants using an automated communication systemEnhance communication with residents using email, voice and text notifications.

Alert Solutions allows property managers to do all three!  Download our Resident Reach brochure today for more information.

Ready To Go Digital? Click here to learn more.

Topics: holiday, property management, tenant communication, emergency preparedness

Bullying Prevention Resources for K-12 Schools

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

We understand k-12 school administrators may need help creating an effective bullying prevention strategy that works best for their school community. To help, we compiled the following resources. Check them out!

resourceicon Bullying Prevention Guide
This guide includes tips for creating or improving your bullying prevention plan in order to reduce occurrences of bullying and cyberbullying in your school.
resourceicon Guide to Developing an Effective Anti-Bullying Strategy
Learn more about developing an effective anti-bullying strategy in order to reduce instances of bullying and cyberbullying in your school.

In honor of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, we’ve dedicated our Tuesday blog posts this October to topics surrounding bullying, cyberbullying and bullying prevention. Here is a recap:

Cyberbullying Prevention Strategies for Parents and Educators
October 20, 2015
Cyberbullying incidents occur most often when students are at home, but it can also take place during school. The emotional harm that may result from cyberbullying is significant. Combined efforts of educators and parents are needed to prevent cyberbullying in k-12 schools. 

October 13, 2015
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that in states where the laws followed at least one of the DoE recommendations for anti-bullying policies, teens were 24 percent less likely to report being the victim of bullying.
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
October 6, 2015
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, a month dedicated to discussing and supporting efforts to reduce the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying on students in k-12 schools.Did you know bullying is said to be the number two health concern for youth? Coming just under childhood obesity, the effects of bullying can be just as deadly and long-lasting as physical health problems. 

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

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