This wasn’t on the syllabus!

Anna Logan (Alma’s Director of Strategic Sales) shares her view on the continuity of education during a pandemic.

By: Anna Logan, Director of Strategic Sales

It’s upon us – school year 2020-21 has officially begun. Virtual high-five for getting through the first days! After contingency planning, classroom cleaning and many many prep hours (and taking a well-deserved break), K-12 learning communities are encouraging shared learning experiences to happen from anywhere. For Alma users, teachers, educators, parents and students, the light at the end of the tunnel is shining a bit brighter.

This year more than ever, school is an especially unique community no matter where it takes place. The good news? Alma users put their trust in us, with tools to remain highly-flexible and allow for complete customization that meet the needs of every community. In other words, we take care of the tricky stuff so educators of the Alma family can be their best selves.

While the era of messages in bottles and carrier pigeons was fun, Alma has a better way. No matter where students are physically, Alma messaging makes it easy and fun for its users at any tech level to stay connected and access important school day information in real-time. Embedded messaging tools and alert functionality guarantees reliability so staff, teachers, and families stay connected and informed on what to do next, not just in emergency situations, but under any circumstances. 

This year, morning high fives, fist bumps, and handshakes have been replaced by temperature checks and social distancing. In our most recent press release, we introduced Alma’s wellness check, Surveys, which allows school admins to check temperatures and identify potential COVID symptoms at the start of each day. What’s more, once parents and students respond to customizable screening questions, staff can view results in Alma for a snapshot of the school population, ensuring kids are safe and accounted for. 

2020 may feel like one big Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but rest assured that parents and students can self-record their school learning hours, so nobody is stuck calling out “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…” Alma’s online attendance tool ensures students are accountable for their school day, whether it’s half-day, full-day or by-the-hour. What’s more, parents can log time their kids spend learning, and educators using Alma can keep track of unexcused absences and tardiness and alert parents via email and phone if a student doesn’t appear in class. Nice try, Ferris.

For K-12 technology directors, this could be their toughest year yet. Luckily, Google and Microsoft single sign-ons eliminate multiple logins, simplifying access to class and daily assignments with one central Alma location. With easy data synchronization, Alma users of all levels can instantly take advantage of Google, Microsoft, Google Drive integration, Google Classroom and other LMS grade passbacks. Sure beats forgetting your locker combination.

It’s true, this is a school year like no other, so roll up your sleeves, (if you have any left to roll) and know that Alma proudly deploys uniquely designed tech tools for its users to spark student creativity while confidently tracking COVID-19 symptoms and social distancing status. Alma’s flexible tech enables districts and schools of all sizes to quickly pivot and embrace immediate opportunities for their learning communities, yesterday, today, and tomorrow!

You got this!

Need a helping hand?
We’ve put together some tools that might be helpful to you.

Alma SIS cannot keep growing without the continuing collaboration and partnership of educational leaders like you.

From attending Q&A sessions, panel discussions, webinars, conferences, sending us user stories, and amazing testimonials, your stories have not only impacted everyone here at Alma, but show how deeply you care about the success of your students.

Because of your critical feedback and requests to better serve your learning community’s unique needs, this year Alma has been able to create and rollout programs like:

Navigator, to give administrators a better onboarding experience and more control over workflows across their schools

App Center, to make sure your school or district is able to seamlessly integrate mission-critical 3rd party applications …

And Alma’s Spanish parent and student portal, for more accessible communication with your students and their families, increasing family engagement and promoting equitable educational practices.

Above all, we are incredibly grateful for your tenacity, creativity, care, intentionality, and commitment to the students and families you serve.

We can’t think of anything more worthy of celebration. So here’s to you!

From all of us at Alma, may you enjoy this season of gratitude, celebration, and collaboration not just in this last month of 2021 but into 2022, and beyond.

Alma will be with you every step of the way. Cheers!

Andrew Herman

Co-founder + Chief Executive Officer

Mike Oliver

Co-Founder + Head of Product

Elizabeth Long

Co-Founder + Vice President of Services