FAQs - SchoolMessenger

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My Account
General Usage
Creating/Sending A Message
Message Reporting
SchoolMessenger's Data Gathering (PowerSchool and PeopleSoft)

My Account

Q. I've been asked by my principal to send out a message using SchoolMessenger, but I don't have an account. How do I get an account?
A. Have your principal send an email to [email protected] with authorization to add you to the school's account. Once the account is created, you will receive an email from the district to let you know an account has been created. For district employees, your login will be your Employee ID and your password will be the same that you use to login to your email, PowerSchool or other district applications. Charter school users will either use an Employee ID number or first initial/last name and a password of their own choosing.

Q. I am new to a school site, but I had an active SchoolMessenger account at my old location. How do I gain access to SchoolMessenger at my new site?
A. Have your principal send an email to [email protected] with authorization to add you to the school's account. Your username and password will remain the same.

Q. I forgot my username and/or password. What do I do?
A. Remember that your username and password are the same that you use daily to login to your computer each morning. If you cannot login to SchoolMessenger OR other district applications (email, PowerSchool, etc), please contact the IT Help Desk at 619-209-4357. If you are only having trouble logging in to SchoolMessenger, contact [email protected].

Q. I have been locked out of my account. What do I do?
A. Please wait 5 minutes and try to login again. If you cannot login to SchoolMessenger, but you are not having any problems logging on to PowerSchool, PeopleSoft or other district programs, [email protected] for assistance.

General Usage

Q. Can I use SchoolMessenger from my home computer?
A. Yes. SchoolMessenger is web-based, meaning you can access the system from any computer. Just type https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/sandi into any Internet browser from any computer. Just remember the "asp" must go first and their is no leading 'www'

Q. Can I send messages from my iPad or iPhone? What about Android?
A. Yes. The first step is downloading the SchoolMessenger app from iTunes (or Android marketplace). Then review the SchoolMessenger for iPhone or SchoolMessenger for Android training manual. The customer ID is "sandi."

Q. Can my teachers send personalized messages to their students in SchoolMessenger's Classroom Teacher system?
A. No. Classroom Messaging does not allow teachers to record their own messages. However, Classroom Messaging offers professionally, pre-recorded messages in 25 languages, including Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Somali.

Creating/Sending A Message

Q. I don't know how to send a message. Where do I start?
A. We recommend attending a district-run training session or participating in a SchoolMessenger webinar before sending your first message.

If you have attended training and don't remember how to proceed, here is what you can do:

  1. Review the SchoolMessenger Getting Started guide. This guide will walk you through the basics of sending a message.
  2. Call SchoolMessenger Customer Care at 1-800-920-3897. They can assist you with every aspect of sending a message, assuming your account settings allow you to send a message.

Q. How do I send a message directly from PowerSchool?
A. To access SchoolMessenger from PowerSchool, click on "Special Functions" on the left side (under Functions). About one-third of the way down the page, you'll find "Message Sender." Click on "Message Sender" and you'll be taken to the Broadcast page. It may take a few moments to authenticate your username and password. Please be patient.

Q. Where do I check and/or change the caller ID listed for my call?
A. If you are creating a message in the "New Broadcast" feature, you can check and change the caller ID number when you are setting up your phone message. In the phone setup, to the right you will see the "Settings" button. Click here and you will have the opportunity to check and change your caller ID phone number. If you are sending a message using the "Broadcast" feature, you will have the opportunity to check and change your call ID phone number just before you Proceed to Confirmation. To permanently set your caller ID phone number, go to Account>Broadcast Defaults>Personal Caller ID.

Q. How do I change my email display and reply email so that messages don't have my name and personal email address listed?
A. When you create an email, in either the New Broadcast feature or under Messages, you can manually change the reply name and reply email. We suggest changing the Reply Name to your School Name and the Reply Email to "[email protected]. This is important so that your email will not be tagged as Spam. Even the district's own email system tags "[email protected] as Spam.

Q. How do I send a message to just my Spanish-speaking students?
A. First step is to create a list with just your Spanish-speaking students included. To do this, go to Broadcasts>Lists>Add New List. Create your list name and description, then under "List Content>Field" select the "Language" from the drop-down menu. Criteria IS Spanish or whichever language you are creating the list for. Click "Add" then "Done" to save your list. Once your list is created, you can proceed to sending a message either through the "New Broadcast" button or through the "Broadcast>Messages" tabs. Record your message in Spanish, or write your email, and select your list of Spanish-speaking students. Proceed to sending as normal.

Q. I am the principal at ABC High School. Can I send messages to the homes of students attending the middle schools in my feeder pattern?
A. Initially, principals are only given access to contact information for their own students. However, with expressed approval from the principals at the middle schools, a list of those students can be exported from PowerSchool to Excel, and then to loaded to SchoolMessenger as a custom list until those students are officially enrolled. First coordinate with IT to gain access to these contacts in PowerSchool; then contact SchoolMessenger for assistance with uploading a custom list.

Similarly, if a principal at ABC High School would like to send a message to all schools in their cluster, please obtain consent from all principals to contact their students. Then, contact your Area Superintendent's assistant for assistance in sending a message to all schools.

Q. I am an elementary school principal with standardized tests just a few weeks away. I want to send a message just to the fourth-grade parents reminding them about these important tests. Is this possible?
A. Yes. SchoolMessenger allows you to sort message recipients by grade, or you can create custom lists within your school for club affiliations, committees, etc.

Q. Can I copy and paste information from another document into the phone and/or email message in SchoolMessenger?
A. Yes and no. You may copy and paste text from another document into both a phone message and an email message, however, the phone message text will not be saved as you proceed in sending your message. You will have the option to save the email. When you paste into the phone message, copy the text from your document, place your cursor in the voice text box and press Control-V (Macs: Open Apple V). This will place the text.

For an email message, find the "paste from Word" feature and paste your text. Unlike Blackboard Connect, SchoolMessenger allows you to paste from Word without clearing the formatting.

Q. How can I attach fliers or documents to an email message?
A. When you're in the email portion of your message, just below the subject of the message, you'll see "Attach File." Click on "Attach File" and select your file like you would to any email. Then, continue with preparing your message.

Q. If I type out my phone message, can I copy and paste that message into an email rather than have to retype the message?
A. Yes. Once you type out your phone message, and move over to the email portion of your message, you have the option to automatically insert your phone message into email format. In the second line of the toolbar to the right side, there is a button "Paste text from Phone." Click on the button and your phone message should appear in the email text box. Please edit to read like an email rather than a phone message, and continue with drafting your message.

Q. How do I add an image or clip art to my emails?
A. SchoolMessenger allows you to include an image within the body of an email. Click on the image icon and follow the prompts. It's just like inserting a photo into a regular email.

Q. Can I send my weekly newsletter to parents using SchoolMessenger?
A. Yes, but it depends on the format you use to create your newsletter. If you have a PDF newsletter that is emailed home to parents, you can send that PDF as an attachment. However, this is not the best option. Most parents are using smart phones to access email, and many will not open an attachment, and viewing a PDF is difficult on a phone.
There are two options that offer better readership for your parents. First, if you post the content from your newsletter on your school website, you can email your parents a friendly reminder that the weekly newsletter is online and provide a link they can click on that will take them to your website so they can read the newsletter. The other option is to paste a text version of your newsletter, and add photos, directly into the SchoolMessenger email. This will allow families to read the newsletter on their phones much more easily. Both of these options will not only ensure families are getting your messages, but also help draw more traffic to your website.
If you have an HTML-based newsletter, this can also be pasted into a SchoolMessenger email by using the "Source" button. For details on this, please call SchoolMessenger at 1-800-920-3897.

SchoolMessenger also offers a feature called Stationery, which allows you to send customized messages and e-newsletters. All principals have access to the stationery feature. To learn more, go to "Help" and search "Stationery." A user guide will be posted when it's available.

Q. In what languages does SchoolMessenger translate voice messages? Email messages? Text to Speech messages?
A. SchoolMessenger can translate messages into many languages; however, the district prefers sites to have a native speaker translate voice and email messages if at all possible. This could be with the help of someone onsite, or from the district's Translation Department. This will ensure the message is as accurate and clear as possible. SchoolMessenger translation feature for voice messages is a word-for-word translation, and may not be delivered in a conversational manner or with the desired accuracy.

Available languages for Text-to Speech: Catalan and Valencian - Male and Female, Chinese (Mandarin) - Female, Dutch - Male and Female, Finnish - Female, French - Male and Female, German - Male and Female, Greek - Female, Italian - Male and Female, Polish - Male and Female, Portuguese - Male and Female, Russian - Female, Spanish - Male and Female, Swedish - Male and Female
Available languages for text to text (email: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino/Tagalog, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish
Classroom Comments Supported Language: Armenian, Bosnian, Cambodian, Cantonese (Phone only. No text translation. Emails will be English), English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian (Only text. No phone recordings. Phone calls will be in English.), Mandarin (ISO 639-3 code for Mandarin is cmn, but we use the code for Chinese (zh) for classroom comments. The recordings are Mandarin and the text is Simplified Chinese.), Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Ukranian, Vietnamese


Q. Is there a limit to the number of lists I can create? How do we update them?
A. You can create an unlimited number of lists. Contact information for individuals selected in a list will be automatically updated nightly from PowerSchool or PeopleSoft. However you must manually remove an individual from your list in SchoolMessenger if they are no longer affiliated with that group, but are still an active student or employee of the district.

Q. We can also create groups in PowerSchool. Can these groups be transferred to SchoolMessenger?
A. Yes! One of the best features of SchoolMessenger is that you can now conduct a query or search in PowerSchool and within a few clicks, send your message to those students using SchoolMessenger. Do you search in PowerSchool, then click on "Special Functions" on the left side (under Functions). About one-third of the way down the page, you'll find "Message Sender." Click on "Message Sender" and you'll be taken to the Broadcast page. It may take a few moments to authenticate your username and password. Please be patient.

Q. How do I add a contact, such as our School Nurse or a POI, that is not listed as an employee at our school?
A. A contact is added as part of the process of creating a list. Go to Broadcasts>Lists>Add New List and start by creating the list you would like this person a part of. If you would like to add them to an existing list, begin by going to Broadcasts>Lists and select an existing list by clicking "edit." Then proceed to the "Additional List Tools" and click on "Enter Contacts." Here, you will enter the contact information of that individual. Please make sure to include their primary phone number and email so that they receive the intended communication. Save the information. That person will now be in the list you created and saved to your Address Book for future use. You may also first add them to your Address Book and then add them to the list you are building by going to Additional List Tools>Open Address Book.

Q. What grade levels in PowerSchool correspond to the grade levels listed in SchoolMessenger?
A. The grade levels in PowerSchool are the same grade levels listed in SchoolMessenger. Both TK and Kindergarten are listed as "0" in SchoolMessenger. Preschool is -1 through -5 and match PowerSchool (-1 is preschool 4 years old; -2 is preschool 3 years old); -3 is preschool 2 years old; -4 is preschool 2 years old; -5 is preschool less than 1 year old).

SchoolMessenger's Data Gathering

Q. How does SchoolMessenger obtain information on district students and employees?
A. SchoolMessenger information is transferred directly from PowerSchool and PeopleSoft and therefore is only as accurate as the information maintained by schools and district staff. Users have different levels of accessibility based on their job function.

Q. Which phone numbers are being called for a typical outreach or attendance call? Which phone numbers are called for emergencies? Which emails are used? Which numbers are used for texting?
A. The number used for standard SchoolMessenger outreach, attendance, food services or survey calls is the parent's primary contact number listed in PowerSchool line 23. For emergency calls, all numbers listed in PowerSchool, which may include up to seven different numbers and two email contacts per student if entered properly into PowerSchool, will be contacted. These include the primary phone number, the home, work and cell of the primary contact, the home, work and cell of the secondary contact (PowerSchool line 24) and email addresses for both contacts, if listed in PowerSchool. Both cell numbers will also receive text messages if they have opted-in and the message sender includes content for text.

Mapping from PowerSchool to SchoolMessenger

PowerSchool SchoolMessenger
Parent/Guardian 1 home (23) Phone 1 (Primary Phone)
Parent/Guardian 1 Home Phone (23) Phone 2 (Home)
Parent/Guardian 1 Work Phone (23) Phone 3 (Work)
Parent/Guardian 1 Mobile Phone (23) Phone 4 (Cell)
Parent/Guardian 2 Home Phone (24) Phone 5 (Home)
Parent/Guardian 2 Work Phone Alt (24) Phone 6 (Work)
Parent/Guardian 2 Mobile Phone Alt (24) Phone 7 (Cell)
Parent/Guardian 1 Email (23) Email 1
Parent/Guardian 2 Email (23) Email 2
Parent/Guardian 1 Mobile Phone (23) SMS 1
Parent/Guardian 2 Mobile Phone (24) SMS 2

If the primary contact does not have any phone numbers listed, the priority for setting the primary phone is noted below. Please note that the student's home phone (line 15 on the enrollment form) is NOT provided to SchoolMessenger.

  1. Primary contact home phone (PowerSchool line 23, Home phone field)
  2. If there is no primary contact home phone, then primary contact mobile phone (PowerSchool line 23, Cell phone field)
  3. If there is no primary contact mobile phone, then primary contact work phone (PowerSchool line 23, Work phone field)

Q. Is it possible for both parents to receive all standard calls, not just emergency calls, from SchoolMessenger? Examples include divorced parents, split households or simply an involved second parent?
A. Yes. As long as the contact information for the second parent is listed in PowerSchool (line 24), SchoolMessenger can be updated so that the second parent/guardian receives all the same calls as the primary parent listed. The change, however, must be made by a district administrator. Please email the Communications office with the request and include the following: Student ID, phone number at which the calls should be sent, and confirm the second individual wants all the same calls as the primary contact. Message types in SchoolMessenger include: Non-school Hours Emergency, School Hours Emergency, Attendance, Food Services, Classroom Messaging, General, General with Text, Phone Only No Email and Survey.

Q. I understand that it's possible to send a message directly from PowerSchool. Where do I find this feature?
A. One of the great features about SchoolMessenger is its integration with PowerSchool. To access SchoolMessenger from PowerSchool, click on "Special Functions" on the left side (under Functions). About one-third of the way down the page, you'll find "Message Sender." Click on "Message Sender" and you'll be taking to the Broadcast page. It may take a few moments to authenticate your username and password. Please be patient. 

Q. How do I block a phone number or email address from receiving calls or emails?
A. Please email  Communications to have the phone number or email address blocked. It can only be done at the district level. We have the ability to check all phone numbers to see if it's connected to another student in the district.

Q. How do I get an email unblocked?
A. This also must be done at the district office. Please make sure the individual would like their email address unblocked and email  Communications with the request.


Q. Are there online tutorials available to users?
A. Yes. Please visit SchoolMessenger's training website.

Q. Is there a User Manual for SchoolMessenger?
A. Yes, there are many. Please visit the section of the district's website entitled "Tools, Training & Support." SchoolMessenger also has hundreds of user manuals, instructions and tutorials on various aspects of the service. Please login to your SchoolMessenger Account and at the top right of the page under the District/School Name, click on "help" and search for the information you are seeking. For 247 Customer Support, call SchoolMessenger at 1-800-920-3897.

Q. Can I get training for all my administrative personnel at my school site?
A. This may be possible. Please contact Communications. If time permits, a site training may be possible.

Dialing an extension
Q. The system says it can dial an extension when I use the "Call me to record" feature, but it's not working for me. How do I make this work?
A. The extension feature will only work if you have someone to pickup the initial call from SchoolMessenger. For example, if you don't have a direct line and must send the call to the school's main phone number, someone must be available to pickup the phone and dial the extension where you are located. The automated voice will give instructions to the individual who picks up the phone. The extension feature will not work if you send the call to an automated switchboard. The only way to work around this is to use a cell phone. If you use your cell phone, make sure to find a quiet location to make the call, as calls made from cell phones are often hard to hear.

Auto Attendance Calls
Q. I just received a call from a parent that said she called and cleared her child's absence, but still received a call indicating her child was absent. What should I do?
A. Absence data must be recorded in PowerSchool at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled call time (i.e. all absences must be recorded by 9:30 a.m. for a 10 a.m. scheduled call time). This must be done to allow time for all data to be transferred from PowerSchool to SchoolMessenger. Unfortunately, this could mean that some unverified absences are cleared (or others are recorded) during that 30-minute window in which data is being sent from PowerSchool to SchoolMessenger. Should you receive parent calls, please politely explain that the absence was verified after the data had been sent to our notification system. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause school sites.

Text Messaging
Q. I received a call from a parent who is having trouble opting-in to receiving text messages. How can I help them?
A. If you or someone who has called your school is having problems with texting 'YES' to 67587 (it used to be 68453 and was changed several years ago) to opt-in to receiving text messages from SchoolMessenger, please have them call their cell phone provider for assistance. The issue may be related to the individual's cell phone contract, service provider or phone settings. SchoolMessenger, the IT Help Desk and Communications representatives are not able to assist with this issue.