As you are aware, the North Vancouver School District is using a new tool, called Sangha, to communicate with parents. There have been several questions, suggestions and feedback themes that have arisen. Below are frequently asked questions and answers that we hope will provide parents additional information. Thank you for your feedback and also for your patience as we work through implementation of this new system.
Sangha – FAQ
Why did you move to the Sangha platform?
There are several reasons:
- First, we are hoping to improve school district communications with parents. Sangha enables us to not only email and call parents/guardians, but also to offer an app with notifications, calendar integration, event sign-ups, and RSVPs. There are also future potential uses for Sangha, such as online permission forms.
- The second reason is that the prior system we used for emails and phone-callouts was reconfigured and no longer met our needs or legal requirements. The updated version of the prior system was piloted in several of our schools and did not work well. Also, the updated version of the prior system did not meet privacy requirements under the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC FIPPA). We had to move to a new system.
- The third reason is that Sangha in Canada is offered by Scholantis. We have worked with Scholantis for years; they operate our websites and our internal staff web portal. We are confident in their expertise, their understanding of the laws in which BC school districts operate, and their customer service.
How is Sangha being used in the North Vancouver School District?
Currently, we are using the system to send emails and phone callouts (secondary school attendance and mass emergency calls) to parents/guardians.
Why are the emails looking odd, with HTML coding, broken links and missing attachments?
We apologize for configuration issues we have experienced. While some computers and browsers are displaying the information properly, some are not. In particular, we are having issues with Outlook on PC computers (as well as some web browsers). We are working hard to resolve these issues. In the meantime, please open the emails in a web browser (perhaps try a second browser if the first you try still doesn’t work) or look at the email on your phone.
Also, we are working to improve the look of the messages you receive so that your school's branding and/or the school district's branding appears; the goal is to improve the distinction of where messages are coming from.
Why am I no longer receiving emails?
If a parent has signed-up for the app, her/she will no longer receive emails. Sangha uses the least instrusive communications method to contact parents. Thus, if parents have the app they will receive app notifications instead of emails. In order to be notified, parents need to allow push notifications for the Sangha app on their phones. Some people may have chosen to have this disabled and would therefore need to open the app to see messages. To ensure push notifications are on, please go into the settings on your phone and allow push notifications for Sangha.
How will Sangha be used in the future?
We will soon invite parents to download the app. The app will enable parents to receive message notifications to their mobile devices. Along with the app, will come the potential to see updated student course information, sync the calendar to mobile phone calendars, and sign-up for school events including volunteering and registering to bring items to an event. Also, once the app is fully configured, there is potential to use the system to sign-up for parent-teacher interviews and to sign permission forms.
Should I download the Sangha app now?
While the app can be downloaded now, it is not fully configured and may contain inaccurate information. We encourage parents to wait for a formal invitation to download the app. Some parents have expressed frustration that they cannot log into the app. This is because we have not invited parents to the app yet. Their is a work-around that some parents have figured out that does allow them to login. However, parents should wait until they are invited to the app to ensure that the information in the app is accurate.
Can I communicate with my child's teacher, school or the school district through the Sangha app?
While there is potential to communicate directly with your child's teacher(s) or the school office or school district office, we are not using this function of Sangha. Schools and the school district will not be regularly checking the direct messaging function of the Sangha app. If you wish to contact the school or school district, please email your school office or the appropriate school district personnel (do not send a message via the Sangha app). Do not message teachers via the Sangha app. There is future potential for teachers to use the app for direct messaging with parents, but teachers have not yet received access to the system nor have they received training. Plus, the direct messaging function of Sangha may not work for teachers; it needs to be tested first and, after the testing and training, will be under the discretion of individual staff members in terms of how they use it.
Can I reply to the emails I receive via the Sangha system?
Do not reply to emails you receive via Sangha. The replies currently go to the company that operates Sangha in Canada (Scholantis Inc, a Vancouver-based company), and that email inbox is not monitored. Please email staff, office staff or school district staff directly. All contacts are posted on the schools and school district websites.
Why am I receiving information from two schools for my child?
If a student is cross-enrolled at two schools, usually for a specific program such as an academy, they will receive information from both schools.
Does the calendar subscription through the Sangha app include the school's calendar posted on the school website?
At this point the calendar in Sangha is only events that have been sent to parents as notifications. Please subscribe to the calendar on your school's website for the proper calendar. In the future, the school website and Sangha calendars will be synced, but they are not yet synced.
Why, the week before school, did the Sangha app inform me that my child was 'removed' from his/her school?
The week prior to school starting we needed to update the demographic information in Sangha. Unfortunately, in performing this update any parent who had already downloaded the app received a notification via the app that their child was removed from his/her school. Students were not actually removed from their schools; their information was briefly removed from the Sangha system and then re-uploaded. We apologize for any inconvenience and angst this may have caused.
Why, the week before school, did the Sangha app provide a list of courses for my child that were not my child's courses?
While we were configuring the data in Sangha during the week prior to school starting, a listing of course information was pulled into the Sangha app. This course information was not students' courses, but it appeared as if it was students' courses. We apologize for the confusion and angst this may have caused.