TalkingPoints is a platform that lets teachers easily send messages to families via text message or mobile app.
What is TalkingPoints?
TalkingPoints is a communication platform for teachers and schools to exchange short messages with families. The platform syncs with Aeries rosters so that teachers automatically have their class rosters loaded into their TalkingPoints accounts. School admins can also send messages to all families. TalkingPoints uses SMS text messages, unless users have the TalkingPoints mobile app, in which case the app takes over.
Messages are automatically translated to and from the family’s home language.
Why would my school need to use TalkingPoints if we already use an email newsletter or another platform?
You may already use another communication system such as an email newsletter. But TalkingPoints can facilitate quick, easy communication of short messages. This could be very useful for urgent messages, important reminders, or emergencies. Also, the translation feature of TalkingPoints can be very useful for families who need it.
How do I sign into my TalkingPoints account?
Starting this school year, you can use Clever to sign into your account. You can also go to the TalkingPoints website and sign in with your OUSD Google account.
How does TalkingPoints know what language to translate my messages into?
TalkingPoints will automatically send messages to families based on the language that is being pulled in from Aeries. You don’t have to do anything extra for the messages to be translated! You can even send one message to your entire class or school, and every single message will be translated for you and received by families in their preferred language.
I’m a teacher or staff member and I don’t have access to my school’s TalkingPoints account. What do I do?
Please reach out to your Principal or CSM who should have administrative access to the account, they can either ensure that you are being sent in the list from Aeries, or add you directly into the TalkingPoints account.
If you are a school administrator who has been asked to add additional staff members, please keep reading for instructions below.
How do I get more help with TalkingPoints?
Email email@example.com or use the message/chat feature on the TalkingPoints website. If you have previously been communicating with a member of the TalkingPoints team directly, please try to avoid emailing only them directly, as their team is fairly small, and your message may get lost in one person’s inbox.
Please also keep in mind that the TalkingPoints team works from 7PT to 6PT on weekdays, and any support requests submitted after that will not be answered until the next business day.
How do we add staff members to Talking Points at our site?
Site staff members can be added by existing school administrators. The principal at your site should already be set up as a staff member, and can add staff members. Existing staff members can sign into Talking Points at https://talkingpts.org/, or sign in through Clever.
How do I add students to TalkingPoints?
Since TalkingPoints syncs with Aeries and Clever, it is not possible to add students to TalkingPoints directly. Student additions to Aeries will sync to Clever overnight, which will then sync to TalkingPoints overnight. So changes in Aeries may not be reflected for 48 hours.
How do I add more contacts to TalkingPoints?
School administrators can add more contacts to a particular student in TalkingPoints by locating their name in the “Students” list, and finding the desired student in the list by scrolling between pages, or using the search bar in the top right corner. Once you have located the desired student, click on their name, and on the right details menu, click on “Add Another Contact.” This will allow you to add another family member who will receive messages for this particular student.
How do I change the home language for a student? Is it possible to have more than one home language?
There are two methods for changing a family’s home language.
Option 1: If families are using the TalkingPoints for Parents mobile application to receive messages, they can change their own language using the instructions in the Help Article here.
Option 2: If you are an administrator for your school, you can change a family’s home language by selecting that student in your “Students” list, and locating the family member whose language needs to be changed. Above their name, there will be three dots that when clicked on, will give you the option to “edit contact.” Here you can change the language preference, and click “save.”
Two different family contact numbers can each have a separate home language, but one contact can’t have two languages.
I’m a TalkingPoints admin for my school. How do I add or change staff (including teachers)?
If you are an admin for your school, you can follow the instructions in the video here to learn how to add and edit staff members.
I’m a TalkingPoints admin for my school. How do I add or change school admins?
If you are an admin for your school, you can follow the instructions in the video here to learn how to add and edit staff members. When adding the staff member, please make sure to select the “School Admin” checkbox to grant them those permissions.
There are staff listed in my school who do not work here. How can I delete them?
Any staff members listed in your school have either been pulled in directly from Aeries, or added manually by a member of your school administration. Please check the list of staff to verify whether the former is the case. If they are being pulled in from Aeries, they cannot be deleted directly from TalkingPoints, since they will be repopulated every night.
If they are not on the staff list from Aeries, you can delete them in TalkingPoints by clicking on their name in the “Staff” list, and then on “Delete” from the upper right corner.
If you are not sure whether they are coming in from Aeries or not, you can always try deleting them, and seeing if they show up the next day.
How can we set up co-teachers in TalkingPoints?
Classes that are being imported from Aeries and Clever can’t be modified directly in TalkingPoints. There are two options for working around this:
Option 1: You can ask OUSD Central Office to add your co-teacher to that class directly in Clever so that they will be represented accordingly in TalkingPoints. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make the request.
Option 2: You can ask your school administrator to create a new class for you and your co-teacher directly in TalkingPoints, and include the same students and staff that would like to have access. This option will require you to add a brand new class in TalkingPoints, as opposed to modifying an existing class.
If you are a school administrator, you can view the video on viewing and adding classes here.
My families are being asked for a class code to enter their classes. Where can I find a class code?
If family members are being asked for a class code to enter the TalkingPoints for Parents mobile application, this means that their phone number is not listed in the TalkingPoints system, and for that reason, it is not being recognized as a part of OUSD. (Currently, we are only importing one Primary Contact into TalkingPoints from Aeries.) There are two potential solutions to this issue.
Option 1: Ask your school administrator to add an additional contact to that student’s details page, following the instructions by following the instructions in the answer to the question, “How do I add more contacts to TalkingPoints?”
Option 2: Change the Primary Contract for the student in Aeries, and the new phone number will appear the next morning.
A family let me know that I have the wrong phone number for them. How can I change it?
Family phone numbers cannot be removed or changed in TalkingPoints. Since we are pulling that information directly from Aeries and Clever, the information will revert back to what is coming from the system every night. Please have your school staff change that phone number directly in Aeries, so that it can be synced to TalkingPoints through Aeries.
How do I learn more about how to use TalkingPoints?
Use the TalkingPoints Resources Page (click on the images below). Also, click here to see the dates for the upcoming webinar Zoom training sessions so that you can learn how to get started with TalkingPoints, as well as some tips and tricks to engage with families and get the most out of your communication platform. There will also be time for a live Q&A.