TCAPS' Outreach Communications System

Traverse City Area Public Schools utilizes the BrightArrow Rapid Communications system which allows the district and individual schools to keep parents informed about upcoming school events as well as quickly send notifications about any school incidents that may occur, such as power outages or after school cancellations due to inclement weather. 

Important school reminders will be sent by email or to the household number provided for each student. In an emergency situation, additional telephone numbers and email addresses for each student will also be contacted instantaneously.

Additional communications sent home via BrightArrow include automated attendance calls, progress and/or grade reports, enrollment information, etc.

If you have not yet provided your school with an email address and current telephone contact information, please contact your school office so you can be included in all important communications.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I play a voice message again or review past phone/email messages?

Repeat a Voice Message

If you answer a voice message live and would like to replay it, press any button on your telephone and the message will start from the beginning.

View Missed or Past Messages

Parents can log in to their External LinkPowerSchool Parent Portal at any time to review prior messages sent to their email or telephone from the school/district. 

For assistance with logging in to the parent portal, please contact your school office directly. 

What if the line is busy or there is no answer?

The system will make up to four attempts to reach each number, with fifteen minutes in between each call. If the message is not delivered by the fourth attempt, it is considered a failed number. Failures happen when a phone number is busy, disconnected, invalid, etc.

I said “hello” and no message played. Why?

The system plays the message as soon as the phone is picked up. However, errors can occur if the person repeatedly says “hello” or answers in a noisy environment (i.e. traffic, children playing, loud music or television, dogs barking, etc.). Generally, if a person offers an extended greeting such that it overlaps the BrightArrow message, the system pauses, waits for silence, and replays the message from the beginning. With background noise, it is possible that the system was unable to detect the end of the “greeting” and thus the message did not initiate. 

Why is my answering machine recording only half of the message?

If the answering machine greeting is sporadic with varied periods of silence, the system will read this as a live person and begin playing the message, even though the machine has yet to start recording. This will result in a recording of silence (if the ConnectNow message finishes playing before the machine begins recording) or of just the last portion of the ConnectNow message. The recommended solution is to have parents re-record their outgoing message so that there are no pauses. If the answering machine is set to record for a specific amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds) and the ConnectNow message runs longer than that, this will also result in message cut-off. The recommended solution is to have parents set their machines to record for a longer period. For voice mailboxes where it is necessary to enter a mailbox number, ConnectNow is unable to leave a message.

View Missed or Past Messages

Parents can log in to their External LinkPowerSchool Parent Portal at any time to review prior messages sent to their email or telephone from the school/district. 

For assistance with logging in to the parent portal, please contact your school office directly. 

My caller ID showed that the school had called but there was no voicemail. Why?

If there is a break or a substantial silence in the outgoing voicemail message, the system determines it has reached a live person and begins the message prior to the voicemail recording being engaged. Please make sure that the greeting is seamless to facilitate successful message delivery.

View Missed or Past Messages

Parents can log in to their External LinkPowerSchool Parent Portal at any time to review prior messages sent to their email or telephone from the school/district. 

For assistance with logging in to the parent portal, please contact your school office directly. 

Why doesn’t the school’s phone number appear on the caller ID?

BrightArrow passes the caller ID information to the local telephone carriers, but it is up to those carriers to pass it along to their customers. Different local telephone companies process caller ID information differently. Some provide the name associated with the number, while others do not. For example, a telephone company may require an individual to subscribe to “Advanced Caller ID” in order to receive the school name along with the phone number. Unfortunately, we have no control over this feature.

Will the system call phone numbers with extensions?

The system only works with direct-dial phone numbers. The system is unable to navigate menus or extensions.

I have a telemarketer screening device. How will that affect the call?

If a contact has a device on their telephone line designed to prevent automated phone systems from connecting (e.g. TeleZapper, Privacy Manager, Privacy Director, etc.), they may not receive the call. For example, with Privacy Director all unidentifiable incoming calls are rerouted and the callers must identify themselves for the call to go through. Because our system is automated, it will not identify itself; thus the call will not get through to the recipient. For screening systems that are dependent on Caller ID’s, recipients can authorize access for their school’s phone number through their device. Note that calls identified with the school’s number on the Caller ID generally have no trouble getting through Privacy Manager type systems. Only calls with the non-standard emergency Caller ID of 411 tend to get caught up in Privacy Manager’s net.

For More Information

For more information, please contact the TCAPS Communications Office at info@tcaps.net.