PAnet Alert System Allows Faculty To Voice Concern About Students

Within Phillips Academy’s internal online network, PAnet, a student alert system exists that enables faculty and staff to communicate with each other about issues involving students. The student alert system is composed of four parts: Red Flag, On Report, Dean’s Notice, and Other Concerns. Members of the faculty who are officially linked to a student are able to use the Red Flag function in order to alert house counselors, cluster deans, advisor, and a handful of administrators of a specific concern. The flag indicates an array of issues that students may face, such as frequent unexcused absences in one or more classes, missing work, failing or work that is close to failing and is declining sharply, or unexpected behaviors that appear worrisome. Assistant Dean of Studies Elizabeth Korn said, “The system is set up to share vital information so that we on the faculty can be supportive of students, so that we can act in a student’s best interest. The hope is that we can intervene early to prevent a small concern from becoming a larger one.” The On Report tool, the second component of the student alert system, allows faculty members who are directly responsible for a student, like house counselors or advisors, to request information concerning the student from all those who are officially connected to the student, such as teachers. According to Ms. Korn, the On Report function is used, “If a house counselor or advisor needs to have a sense of how a student is doing at a time other than mid-term or end-of-term…Sometimes they are issued because the house counselor or advisor has received a Red Flag from one teacher and wants to make sure that there aren’t also concerns arising in other classes.” A Dean’s Notice is issued to allow cluster deans, Dean of Studies, Dean of Students, and members of the student support services to send information concerning a student to all members involved in the student’s life at PA. According to Ms. Korn, a Dean’s Notice is issued to get out important information quickly and is immediately sent to the student’s instructors, cluster dean, house counselor, advisor, coach, college counselor, work duty supervisor and certain key administrators. The final aspect of the Student Alert system is called Other Concerns. It allows a member of the faculty and staff to alert anyone concerned with the student’s life at PA of an issue. The sender of an Other Concerns message may choose to whom the message will be sent. Before a student is red-flagged, the faculty member sending the alert is required to speak to the student about his or her concerns. Ms. Korn said, “Our hope is that the student will learn about a teacher’s concern directly from the teacher and not from a house counselor or advisor who has received a Red Flag.” Although a student would be informed about the issuing of a Red Flag, according to Ms. Korn, a student might not be informed in advance; however, it is probable that the On Report will become a topic of discussion between the student and his or her house counselor or advisor soon after the report is issued. Regarding the student alert system and the student’s record Ms. Korn said, “Every student’s name is listed in the student alert system. Any message sent becomes part of the student’s record. These messages are considered official school documents, although they are not included in the student file maintained in the Dean of Studies Office.” Parents are not informed immediately if their child is placed on the Student Alert System. However, if a serious concern is expressed over the alert system, the parents of the student will be notified through the house counselor or advisor. In most cases, the student’s main contact, such as his or her advisor or house counselor, will speak directly with the student concerning the problem and not call on his or her parents unless deemed completely necessary.