Last year, PGCPS introduced the use of the Blackboard(Bb) District App as a companion to SchoolMax. This platform allows for greater access to much of the information that formally was only found on SchoolMax. Additionally, it is used as a mobile platform to communicate with parents that subscribe through email, text, or phone. Many of us (myself included) assumed that our SchoolMax contact information would continue to be a sufficient source for school communication. Additionally, in years past, Ms. Manuel used a listserv with our email addressed (which we provided for her) to distribute her weekly "Principal's Post". HOWEVER, last year, Ms. Manuel shifted to sending most communication through SchoolMax via Blackboard. I realized there was a problem when all of a sudden I stopped getting "Principal's Posts" every week. Long story short, IF you do not have the BB District App, or IF the correct contact information is not there, you MAY be missing some school communication. So... now, HOW TO FIX THIS:
1. Download the "Bb District by Blackboard" app, which is available for iPhone and Android devices.
2. When you first open the app, it asks for your location. You can type in "Prince George's County PS" and then make sure you click on the MD PGCPS (and not the VA one). After you do that, it asks for specific school, but that is unnecessary because once you login with your Schoolmax email and password, it automatically connects to your children's school.
3. To sign in using your PGCPS Schoolmax email and password, swipe to the left on the main screen to go to the second screen. At the top, there should be icons for "Directory," "News," "Student Info," etc. Click on "Student Info."
4. On that screen, you'll see an option to enter id and password and then the green button that says "Log in." Do not enter information in that space! Instead, look at the bottom half where it says, "Or log in with:" and then, "Single Sign-On." Click on "Single Sign-On."
5. Then, you'll see the familiar window for signing into Schoolmax. The sign-in window will be small, so you'll have to zoom in somewhat. Enter the same username (email) and password that you enter when you log on to Schoolmax via the PGCPS website.
6. Once you officially log in, you'll then see icons for your children, as well as an icon for yourself. There are other useful icons there for myschoolbucks and other stuff. When you click on your children's icons, you'll see information for bus, phone numbers, class info,etc.
7. To update email addresses and phone numbers, click on your (parent) icon. First off, make sure all of your relevant phone numbers and email addresses are included on this page. Click "Edit" in the upper-right corner to add phone numbers (cell for texts and phone calls, home number) and email addresses. I believe the current policy is one login per family. But you can add multiple email addresses and phone numbers (both parents, grandparents, etc).
8. To update contact preferences for things like principal emails and calls, emergency notifications, emails, texts, and phone calls from school, teachers, etc., stay within your parent menu and click "Edit Delivery Preferences." This option allows you to specify how you get notifications about five topics: Emergency, Attendance, Balance (I believe Myschoolbucks), Survey, and Other. The four delivery options are app notification, text message, email message, and phone call. For each topic, you can specify no delivery option, one option, multiple options, or all four options. We recommend activating at least one delivery mode (and most times multiple options) for each category.
Hopefully this will help some of us that might still not be receiving emails and information from the school. As a PTO, however, we will continue to do our best to spread the word on things when necessary, but if we are all connected on the same platforms, it surely makes life easier!