Parent Portal lets schools share responsibility for student alerts with families after school hours, on weekends, and during holidays. These are times when students still use their school-issued accounts, but your administration might not be available to respond to urgent alerts.
Preparing for the Launch
Schools that have reported the best parent engagement start by first:
- Announcing that they're using Bark for Schools to help protect their students
- Introducing Parent Portal as a free resource for parents to get alerts
- Sending the Parent Portal invite email to encourage parents to link accounts
To help you out, we’ve created an introductory letter explaining Parent Portal that you can edit and send to the parents and guardians in your school community.
Parent Portal Implementation Strategies
When to use: Your school/district is ready to invite all parents to partner with them in online student safety. Choose to launch with Clever, PowerSchool, or .csv from your dashboard here.
Vulnerable and High-Risk Students
When to use: Your school/district recognizes the value in a home-school monitoring partnership, but only wants to offer it to specific students at this time. Select a group of students most in need of additional oversight and submit their emails in .csv format from your dashboard here.
Need help identifying vulnerable and high-risk students? Let us help!
Recommendation: A great way to pilot Parent Portal is to use the .csv upload to invite other administrators who have children that attend the school. This helps schools get an idea of what parents will see, allowing for a calibrated launch.
Launching Parent Portal
From your Parent Portal settings page, you can choose three ways to sync contacts. With Clever and PowerSchool, we only require the student and parent email addresses. For .csv upload files, student addresses must be listed on the same row as the addresses of their parent or guardian. (When families have multiple children at the same school, parent/guardian addresses should appear next to each child).
Once you’ve uploaded the information using one of the above methods, the invitations will be sent within two hours of confirmation. If your school launches Parent Portal after hours (school hours are on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST), it will be processed the following business day by 11 a.m. EST.
After the Launch
Schools can control the severity of the issues parents receive, as well when they’re sent.
- Severity: Can be adjusted between "Severe Only" and "All."
- Time: Can be adjusted between "Anytime" and "After Hours." The after-hours time frame is 3 p.m. to 8 a.m. local time, including during weekends and holidays.
Schools generally select "Severe Only" and "After Hours" while school is in session, and they set them to “Anytime” and “All” on weekends and breaks.
What Parents Can Expect After Launch
Our After the Invite article outlines what families can expect from the first day of monitoring through the ongoing management of their child’s school-issued account.
Educating Parents About Digital Dangers
Tech nights are a great way for parents to learn more about what could occur online and how they can best protect their children. Our Tech Night resource page provides information, videos, handouts, and more to help you host a successful gathering.
Resources for Parents
Along with launching Parent Portal, equipping parents with the tools they need for acting on issues they receive is vitally important. Bark has developed our Parents Resource Toolkit for parents who need help with recommended actions after receiving alerts.
Many parents also have children receiving online accounts for the first time at schools. We’ve got those parents covered with our Parent Start Guide. These resources help parents with what to expect on school-issued accounts.
Best Practices for Administrators
Together with our partner schools and districts, we developed some tips for how to successfully implement the Parent Portal. These recommendations will help your team get the most out of Bark for Schools.
Choose When to Launch the Parent Portal
We recommend launching the Parent Portal after Bark for Schools has been connected for at least 30 days. This allows you to calibrate your settings and ensure that you’re receiving the most relevant results from Bark.
- Tips for Admins: If your review team is getting either too many or too few alerts in a particular category, you can adjust your Issue Sensitivity settings here. Please note that even if the sensitivity of all issues is set to “Only Most Severe,” you won’t be in danger of missing a severe alert. Bark will always send email notifications for potentially imminent threats.
- Tips for Reviewers: At the bottom of every alert, you’ll find an Issue Feedback button. Instruct your team to get into the habit of always clicking “Yes” or “No” to an alert’s usefulness — this helps our algorithm continually learn and improve. Review teams that consistently provide feedback report a higher level of satisfaction with the accuracy of their alerts. You can also reach out to us for information on particular alerts.
Develop a Rollout Strategy
Schools with the highest levels of self-reported parent engagement have one thing in common: they send an official announcement about Bark for Schools and the Parent Portal to their communities. We’ve provided sample letters below to help you introduce your parents to Bark for Schools, explain why you're monitoring school-issued accounts, and let them know what to expect in the coming days. You can download and edit them to suit the needs of your school community:
Get Help From Bark Support
If families have any questions or need advice on how to approach a difficult topic with their child, please send them our way. The Bark for Schools team is here for your parents and guardians, too! Families can reach our team at any point via the Bark app for Android or iOS, as well as our website. Bark Support is available every day of the year.
- Parent Start Guide
- Parent Guides to School-Issued Accounts
- Parent Response Toolkit
- How to Activate your Parent Portal Account
- How to Add Another Child to a Parent Portal Account
How do I reach the Bark for Schools team?
We have an incredible group of people behind the scenes here at Bark. If you have any questions, we can be reached here.