After many years of integrating with Finalsite, Whipple Hill and Blackbaud, PCR Educator has announced that it will extend its API to any other provider. This move will allow any independent school who uses PCR Educator to connect with other providers ensuring seamless experience for their constituency.

PCR Educator Parent Portal and Teacher Portal have so many important and convenient features that you are pretty much guaranteed to visit them several times a day. While our responsive design layout makes online access from mobile devices convenient and user-friendly, we want to remind you about one cool feature which will further enhance your teachers and your parents’ experience. Using visual bookmark option for iPhones and iPads you can now add PCR Educator’s icon to your tablet’s home screen. What’s more amazing is that the icon can display the school logo if you also use PCR Educator’s website. To make this feature even more exciting, we should mention that it takes less than a minute to setup:

Step 1:

Load the desired page using Safari on your device. Touch the action button.

Tip 1:

Make sure that you choose a page within Parent Portal or Teacher Portal (as opposed to the login pages)

Tip 2:

If you don’t have the link handy, email it to yourself so that you don’t need to type long URLs.

Step 2:

On the popup screen, touch the “Add to Home Screen” option.

Step 3:
Either keep the default name provided or type another name you prefer. When you are ready, tap the Add button to create the icon on the Home screen.


Don’t choose a name that’s too long because it needs to fit under a standard icon. 

Now you have your icon on the home screen:

Independent Schools rely on data analysis on a daily basis. Easy access to accurate data metrics may create opportunities which may not exist otherwise. For example, you may see a quick opening to accept a waitlisted student, because another one just declined re-enrollment. You may also see that your major donor efforts need reinforcement in a particular area, as you don’t have enough qualifying projects or some solicitors are underperforming. There are many answers which can be obtained using PCR Educator Dashboards, which allow you to view key metrics at a glance and tailor the view to your own needs even if you don’t have a data analysis degree.

1.    Customize the Widgets on your Dashboard

PCR Educator has created a default dashboard for each relevant area: Admissions Dashboard, Student Dashboard, Applicant Dashboard and dozens more. Each dashboard consists of a default set of elements. Add the elements you need and remove the irrelevant ones: every user in the system has their own dashboard configuration and your actions won’t affect anyone besides your account. You can also rearrange your elements by dragging them to the desired location. Furthermore, each widget has its own set of configurations and parameters that you should select to obtain the desired results. The system automatically saves all of your settings, so the next time you access the same dashboard; it will have the correct layout, arrangement, and configuration.

2.    Create Multiple Dashboards

Go beyond single dashboards by creating multiple versions for each dashboard for different purposes and situations. Instead of one Admissions Dashboard, you could create multiple impressions. For example, make an “Enrollment” dashboard that would consist of widgets which are necessary during the enrollment season: custom grids comparing returning students, available spots for each grade level, gender ratios and waitlisted students; enrollment agreements. “Marketing” dashboard, in turn, would focus on your marketing efforts – newsletter metrics; analysis of the previous schools for applicants; source of inquiry which would indicate whether your radio advertisement is more successful than google ads.

3.    Create your own widgets

If you have access to PCR Educator Data Analytics Tool, take advantage of one of its favorite features which allows you to produce your own dashboard widgets in a form of a grid or a chart and place it on any dashboard in the system. Data Analytics Tool is fantastic for generating complex grids, charts, and reports. It includes “left join” support, functional conditions, parameterized conditions, data formatting, aggregates, and pivots.

4.    Export the data right from the dashboard

Exporting functionality is easily the simplest and most unknown feature of PCR Educator dashboards. Simply click on the “up arrow” on any of the widgets to export the data.

5.    Use Dashboards for Presentations and Meetings

Toss those folders with printed reports aside – the data is no longer accurate by the time you enter the conference room. Instead, prepare a presentation using our Dashboards. First, create a new dashboard for your upcoming presentation. Then, add all relevant elements and configure them for the presentation. If your colleagues need access to some very specific charts or reports which are not included in the standard list, just use Data Analytics Tool to create the necessary widgets. Once you are presenting, remember that all widgets allow you to drill-down by clicking on the data inside each widget.

Emergency Notification System for Independent SchoolsPCR Educator’s Voice/Text/Email Emergency Notification System for independent schools was upgraded with a Machine Detection Algorithm from our partner Cisco. The algorithm analyzes the call recipient’s voice to determine whether it’s a human or a machine, improving the quality of the delivered message and the accuracy of voicemails left with answering machines. Thus, when our system executes emergency calls to your constituency, it is also able to leave voicemails when the call is not picked up by the recipient.

One of the important concepts related to machine-human and machine-machine interactions is the accuracy of the aforementioned algorithm. It can be quite tricky to distinguish a machine from a human because of the variety of answering machines and service providers. Ultimately, only a human, scoring the call, can guarantee if it was answered by a machine or a human as we don’t have true artificial intelligence machines yet.

Nevertheless, the machine detection algorithm can be relatively successful in recognizing the answering machine by analyzing the length of the silence period and deciding when to start dictating the message to ensure that the answering machine on the other end is ready to receive that message. For example, we analyze vocal patterns when distinguishing humans and machines. Additionally, our algorithm evaluates the user’s reaction to prompts. By offering the call recipient to take an action when asked whether they want to listen to the emergency message, we are able to detect answering machines which cannot react to the given prompt and provide no input.  We are also waiting for a beep signal which usually identifies an answering machine.

While our engineers constantly work on improving the accuracy of machine detection, there are several measures our schools can take which would greatly improve the results.

Customer Awareness

For example, if your customers are aware of the fact that they may occasionally receive an important call from you, they would be more likely to listen to the introductory message, which gives the machine detection algorithm a chance to analyze the user behavior when asked to perform certain actions to continue the call, therefore identifying themselves as humans. PCR Educator Emergency Notification System includes your school name in its introductory message lest call recipients discard the call as a spam.  

Caller Identification

Similarly, your users will likely pick up the call if they are familiar with your number. Thus, it is important to invest time and resources in educating your constituency. Just like you may occasionally practice fire drills; it may be worth conducting test emergency message distribution on a yearly basis. It also goes without saying that it is crucial to maintain an accurate list of your constituency and all relevant numbers which could be used in case of an emergency.

Accurate Emergency Numbers

Since PCR Educator provides an integrated database that includes Student Information System, Admissions, Finance and Fundraising, the phone numbers would usually be very accurate and up-to-date as they will be constantly updated and verified by all departments as well as parents. We also recommend that you use our electronic Reenrollment and Enrollment Forms application which walks your parents through the process of updating their information and confirming the accuracy of unchanged information.
PCR Educator School Information System is engineered for independent schools to deliver the highest level of flexibility, unique experience, transparent constituency communication and customized design. Being a complete cloud based solution, PCR Educator system guarantees convenient access anytime, anywhere.