Continuing To Lead The Way In K-12 Communications

For the past twenty years, West's SchoolMessenger solutions team has served the needs of K-12 schools, districts, and school boards across North America. We're proud that 63,000 schools rely on us for help with school-to-home communications, and we take our role as the leader in the K-12 communications space very seriously.

To ensure that our clients are ready for the changes and challenges the next twenty years will bring, we've been hard at work - creating the next generation of communications tools and capabilities, guiding our clients through challenging times, and laying a foundation for future success.

Here are just a few of the ways we've been helping to build the future of K-12 communications:

• Investing in our platforms - We've maintained our leadership position in the K-12 space by consistently innovating and investing in product development. Those efforts remain robust today and we're fully committed to future investment in our systems. In the past year alone, for example, we've invested millions of dollars into our SchoolMessenger solutions platforms and have introduced a broad array of new product features and capabilities.

• Building on our strengths - Long ago, we built the most reliable communications network in K-12 education, and this has been a key reason for our success over time. Over the past few years, we have continued to enhance and evolve our infrastructure to respond to shifts in the communications landscape. A key move in recent times has been an expansion of our secure cloud infrastructure to enhance the speed and scalability of our applications. This move and other behind-the-scenes improvements are helping to ensure we can continue to deliver the high level of performance our customers have come to expect from us.

• Taking action on your feedback - We've always welcomed and relied on our customers' feedback to improve as a company, and that tradition continues today. Most recently, client requests have led us to introduce new products, such as our Premium Community Engagement Module and our accessibility monitoring solution for schools, as well a wide variety of individual features and product enhancements. With these improvements, we're responding to both your needs and current trends in how parents want to receive school-to-home communications.

• Enhancing our staff - In the ever-evolving education technology world, hiring great people and investing in their professional development is a prerequisite to success. That's why we've continued to grow and invest in our staff over time. Currently, we're expanding our customer service team to ensure we can maintain our reputation for providing award-winning support. In addition, all of our employees are benefiting from West's new internal professional development program, which provides access to thousands of on-demand professional courses, texts, and learning opportunities.

• Meeting more of your needs - We're always looking for ways to offer more value and service to our clients, and those efforts have only increased over the past few years. That's why we've recently partnered with West's Safety Services division to offer West's tested-and-trusted E911 solution for schools. It's why we've recently launched a new online K-12 professional development solution that offers school communications courses with leading K-12 experts. And it's why we launched our free SchoolMessenger app a few years ago and have continually upgraded its teacher messaging capabilities. Through these and other offerings, we're enhancing our position as your one-stop shop for K-12 communications solutions.

• Guiding you through tough times - A few years ago, changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) had K-12 leaders concerned. We responded by launching our K-12 TCPA Resource Center and working with NSPRA to keep school leaders informed about important developments. Later, school website accessibility became a hot topic. We responded by adding even more accessibility features to our SchoolMessenger Presence CMS and offering professional development materials on accessibility to help school administrators understand key concepts. Most recently, we've helped our U.S. clients understand FCC rule changes that have caused problems for other vendors in the K-12 communications space. As new issues and concerns emerge, we stay on top of key developments to make sure that you can handle any significant shift in the communications landscape.

• Protecting student data - In 2015, we became an early signatory of the Student Privacy Pledge, a legally-binding commitment to protecting student data, and we've adhered to the Pledge’s twelve stringent standards ever since. Incredibly, years and hundreds of other signatories later, some education technology companies have chosen not to adhere to the Pledge. We hope that our continued leadership in this area (as evidenced by the professional development material on student data privacy that we've freely provided to K-12 leaders) will encourage others to commit to the Pledge in the future.

• Helping you keep schools safe - School safety has been a key focus for our organization from the very beginning. K-12 leaders have relied on our notification system to send school emergency alerts in crisis situations for many years, and that's just one of many safety-related things that we do. From monitoring G Suite and O365 for threats to student safety to helping you account for absent students, our broad array of safety solutions helps you prevent problems, identify threats, communicate in emergencies, and deal with the aftermath of crisis situations. What's more, we've consistently offered free professional development materials authored by school safety experts to our K-12 clients and friends for many years. Resources like our school lockdown best practices guide and our "10 Things To Do After A School Crisis" guide have been downloaded by school administrators across North America.

In all of these areas and more, our efforts have been thoughtful, consistent, and action-oriented, and we take great pride in that. As we look ahead to the future, those values won't change. Serving K-12 schools is what we are about, and we will continue to be the communications partner you've always known and trusted.

It's been our privilege to guide you through quickly-changing times for the past two decades, and we look forward to working alongside you in the years to come.