Site Update
A Blog to Help Everyone Become an Expert

The first four posts are an introduction to the site. Reading them now will save time later!

If you're here for the first time, you'll want to read them In Order (as they are when you arrive at the page). After we begin to add new posts and you come back to see if something's new, click New Posts at the Top. Once we've accumulated several posts, we'll add search features.

You can access this blog directly at pcds.org/update.

Have a website issue following site launch? Please don't call or email. Submit the form at pcds.org/helprequest.

Site Launch Update

The site should now be available for everyone at www.pcds.org. If you are still seeing the old website, you may need to clear your web browser's cache. Here's how.

The email messages with instructions for logging into the site were sent on May 25 to current families and June 4 for new families.

In Order

1 • Welcome!

Take a deep breath! Here we go...

PCDS has a new website. In addition to providing a fresh look at Phoenix Country Day School, it gives us the opportunity to update, expand, and streamline our online resources. We're writing this blog to guide the PCDS community through this new landscape: to describe new features and changes to existing ones, to explain how the new systems work, and provide hints for getting around efficiently. We'll also point out any bumps in the road to help minimize confusion.

The new site has enabled us to gather many school-related functions under one roof.

Parents: When you log into the new myPCDS, you'll have one place to:

  • Get timely information about the school and the divisions in which your children are enrolled
  • Search the new online family directory by parent, student, grade, or class
  • Update household and parent information
  • Update your family's pickup and emergency contacts
  • View your children's schedules and, beginning next year, their grade reports
  • Submit school enrollment forms
  • Beginning in June...
    • View tuition invoices and scheduled payments
    • Pay tuition manually or through auto-pay
  • And more as we grow into the new possibilities

Students in grades 5-12: You'll be able to quickly access and print your schedules and, next year, grade reports. You'll be able to search the family directory, as well.

Websites are always works in progress; this is especially true for new sites. And, in our case, we have launched a bit earlier than is ideal, since we want everyone to have an opportunity to get acquainted with the site well before the beginning of the next school year. Launching early, though, means that a few things aren't quite finished yet, so we ask that you "pardon our cyber-dust" as we tend to those things.

An important work in progress is student grade reports. At the end of the school year, we will be directing you to the old myPCDS to access these. Details will follow.

We invite you to come on in and explore. The second post will provide an overview of the site and describe how to log in for full access...

2 • A Brief Overview + How to Log In + How to Get Help

As with the old website, the new site has both a public side and a personalized side. The public side provides a comprehensive introduction to the school through media, description, and storytelling. We will continue to refer to the personalized side as myPCDS, which provides parents, students, and faculty & staff with access to school news, event information, and a variety of resources for managing the business of school.

  • News items provide need-to-know information and are published on four major feeds: The Latest (all-school) on the main myPCDS page, and on the myPCDS Lower, Middle, and Upper School pages.
  • News stories, available, as well, to the public, provide a look at the noteworthy happenings in our community and are published primarily on Campus News & Media, though can also appear alongside the news items. Additionally, stories that reflect the culture of the school can be found on the home page and throughout the site.
  • Listings of major events, all-school and by division, accompany the news-item feeds. These listings are drawn from the PCDS Calendar, which is the central source of all event information, links to which are available at the bottom of every page as well as in the Community menu.
  • Resources are a diverse collection of online tools and information to facilitate a wide range of school-related tasks for students, parents, and faculty & staff. These will grow and develop over time.

Personalization is the primary function of the new FamilyConnect resource, which will be the subject of the next post.

To gain full access to the site, click myPCDS at the top right of any page. This will take you to the myPCDS page where you log in. A bit about logging in...

  • Usernames and passwords were emailed the day of the launch. Each account must have an associated, unique email address, so parents who have provided the same email address will have just one account. 
  • If you did not receive this email, you can attempt to obtain login information by clicking Forgot Username or Password and entering your email address. If this does not work, use the link below to let us know and we'll provide some help.
  • Once logged in, you'll see a menu at the top left, titled with your name, which is where you go to change your password. You can log out from there, as well, or click the Logout link at the top right.
  • Bump in the Road: If you choose to change your password, you'll notice a Subscriptions tab in the dialog box. Please note that this feature is not yet available, but we are unable to turn off its preferences. Any changes made on the Subscriptions tab will have no effect.
  • With the new configuration, the School recommends logging into myPCDS whenever you come to the site. This will guarantee access to all available information.

Need help? With upwards to 2000 people arriving for the first time, we want to make assistance as efficient as possible. Instead of email or phone, we ask that you bring issues or questions to pcds.org/helprequest and complete and submit the form. If there is no checkbox to quickly indicate your issue, please take a moment and describe it as well as you can. We will get back to you as soon as we are able. Patience will be greatly appreciated!

Keep reading to learn all about FamilyConnect...

3 • FamilyConnect

FamilyConnect, available from myPCDS, is a set of tools for managing your individual family's PCDS connection. (It replaces and extends both NetClassroom and the PCDS Portal.) What each of its tools offers to parents:

Family Access Module
for managing your family's information

  • Family Directory, searchable by parent, student, grade, and class
  • Household, for updating address, parent, and contact data
  • For each student...
    • COMING NEXT YEAR: Grades, for marking period grade reports
    • Schedule, for students in grades 5-12
  • About, information about FamilyConnect

SchoolForms Online
for re-enrollment

  • Enrollment Contract
  • Information Update, for updating student data
  • Paper enrollment forms status

BillPay
for payment of tuition and other school charges beginning in 2018-19

  • Make a Payment, with auto-pay capability
  • Invoices 
  • Payment History

Apply will also be available if needed for applications for other children.

FamilyConnect provides students in grades 5-12 with access to their Grades (COMING NEXT YEAR) and Schedule, as well as the Family Directory.

A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Currently, we have seen a few occurrences of accounts logging out when users click FamilyConnect, with the second attempt then working fine. If this happens to you, simply log in again and click FamilyConnect again (and you have a moment, we'd appreciate if you went to pcds.org/helprequest and let us know.)

AN ASSIGNMENT FOR PARENTS

Go to the Household area in the Family Access Module and make sure that all of your family's data is up-to-date. Of special note is that cell phones are now included in the directory, but since currently attending families have not indicated whether they'd like them published or not, everyone's setting is currently DNP (Do Not Publish). If you'd like your cell number published, then un-click its DNP checkbox. (New families: You provided your cell phone preferences on the Family Information Form, but are free to make changes, as well.)

GEEK NOTE: FamilyConnect, like myPCDS, is an account. Fortunately, once you log into myPCDS, you are already logged into FamilyConnect, so you don't need a separate username and password. For a comprehensive look at your PCDS accounts, visit Online Accounts.

Next, we'll take a look at some of the changes that come from the new systems doing things differently.  Read on...

4 • Changes

With new systems come new ways of doing things. We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we make a variety of transitions.

The most noticeable changes involve email addresses.

  • Each myPCDS account must have an associated, unique email address, which means that parents who provide the same email address will have one account. File a request at pcds.org/helprequest if you wish to provide another address to obtain a second account.
  • Over the summer, we will move to each parent/guardian having one email address for all school business.
    • For most, this will not be an issue since the majority's "personal" and "school mailings" addresses are the same.
    • We now provide a preference (in FamilyConnect) to opt out of the school's bulk email, which will provide the same functionality to those who have not specified a "school mailings" address. This preference will be initially set, based on the presence or lack of your "school mailings" address. Please note, however, that we require at least one parent/guardian within a family to receive the school's email messages.
    • Those who have different "personal" and "school mailings" addresses will initially be assigned one of them. If you would prefer to use a different email address, it can be changed at any time in FamilyConnect.

Other changes involve differences in access, based on one being logged in or not. The following access now requires being logged in.

  • Lower, Middle, and Upper news, events, and resources
  • Parents' Association news, events, and resources

And, a few new things worth mentioning:

  • The site is optimized for mobile devices. In addition to responsive layouts, one can access any page from any other page via the "stack" menu (the three bars at the top right).
  • The PCDS Calendar now provides a MS/US rotation day view. The current day is always displayed on the myPCDS page, as well (whether one is logged in or not).
  • The enrollment/back-to-school page is now named Preparing for 2018-19 and is available from the myPCDS page or, directly, as before, at pcds.org/2018-19 or pcds.org/backtoschool.

That's it for the introduction to the new site. Many thanks for taking the time to learn it. Additional posts will follow soon as new features come online, including the new student billing system, athletic game status notification via text, and more. Stay tuned!

5 • BillPay Launches

On Friday, June 8, we launched BillPay, our new online billing system that provides a single location for managing the payment of PCDS tuition and fees. In addition to being able to view invoices and make payments, BillPay provides the ability to save payment methods and to schedule recurring payments. To further assist with the process, BillPay displays families' payment schedules based on their selected payment plans.

Unfortunately, we are still waiting for credit card capability; ACH/E-check is the one method for making online payments at this time. We will notify families when credit cards can be used. (As in the past, credit card payments for tuition will have a 3% service fee.)

Families with 10-payment plans: Per your enrollment contract, you have authorized PCDS to withdraw your monthly tuition installments via ACH/E-Check. Please do not make or schedule payments within BillPay.

To access BillPay:

  1. Go to www.pcds.org.
  2. Click myPCDS (in the top right corner on any page).
  3. Log in.
    If you have not yet logged in to the new site and have misplaced or not received the email sent from the school (on May 25 to current parents and June 4 to new parents), click Forgot Username or Password and provide the email address to which this email message is addressed.
  4. Click FamilyConnect (in the blue bar or along the right)
  5. Click BillPay (from along the top)

Options to make payments follow the instructions.

PLEASE NOTE: As with the website launch, if you encounter issues or have questions, please do not call or email the school. Visit pcds.org/billinghelpform and submit the requested information. We will respond as soon as we are able.

 

New Posts at the Top

5 • BillPay Launches

On Friday, June 8, we launched BillPay, our new online billing system that provides a single location for managing the payment of PCDS tuition and fees. In addition to being able to view invoices and make payments, BillPay provides the ability to save payment methods and to schedule recurring payments. To further assist with the process, BillPay displays families' payment schedules based on their selected payment plans.

Unfortunately, we are still waiting for credit card capability; ACH/E-check is the one method for making online payments at this time. We will notify families when credit cards can be used. (As in the past, credit card payments for tuition will have a 3% service fee.)

Families with 10-payment plans: Per your enrollment contract, you have authorized PCDS to withdraw your monthly tuition installments via ACH/E-Check. Please do not make or schedule payments within BillPay.

To access BillPay:

  1. Go to www.pcds.org.
  2. Click myPCDS (in the top right corner on any page).
  3. Log in.
    If you have not yet logged in to the new site and have misplaced or not received the email sent from the school (on May 25 to current parents and June 4 to new parents), click Forgot Username or Password and provide the email address to which this email message is addressed.
  4. Click FamilyConnect (in the blue bar or along the right)
  5. Click BillPay (from along the top)

Options to make payments follow the instructions.

PLEASE NOTE: As with the website launch, if you encounter issues or have questions, please do not call or email the school. Visit pcds.org/billinghelpform and submit the requested information. We will respond as soon as we are able.

 

4 • Changes

With new systems come new ways of doing things. We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we make a variety of transitions.

The most noticeable changes involve email addresses.

  • Each myPCDS account must have an associated, unique email address, which means that parents who provide the same email address will have one account. File a request at pcds.org/helprequest if you wish to provide another address to obtain a second account.
  • Over the summer, we will move to each parent/guardian having one email address for all school business.
    • For most, this will not be an issue since the majority's "personal" and "school mailings" addresses are the same.
    • We now provide a preference (in FamilyConnect) to opt out of the school's bulk email, which will provide the same functionality to those who have not specified a "school mailings" address. This preference will be initially set, based on the presence or lack of your "school mailings" address. Please note, however, that we require at least one parent/guardian within a family to receive the school's email messages.
    • Those who have different "personal" and "school mailings" addresses will initially be assigned one of them. If you would prefer to use a different email address, it can be changed at any time in FamilyConnect.

Other changes involve differences in access, based on one being logged in or not. The following access now requires being logged in.

  • Lower, Middle, and Upper news, events, and resources
  • Parents' Association news, events, and resources

And, a few new things worth mentioning:

  • The site is optimized for mobile devices. In addition to responsive layouts, one can access any page from any other page via the "stack" menu (the three bars at the top right).
  • The PCDS Calendar now provides a MS/US rotation day view. The current day is always displayed on the myPCDS page, as well (whether one is logged in or not).
  • The enrollment/back-to-school page is now named Preparing for 2018-19 and is available from the myPCDS page or, directly, as before, at pcds.org/2018-19 or pcds.org/backtoschool.

That's it for the introduction to the new site. Many thanks for taking the time to learn it. Additional posts will follow soon as new features come online, including the new student billing system, athletic game status notification via text, and more. Stay tuned!

3 • FamilyConnect

FamilyConnect, available from myPCDS, is a set of tools for managing your individual family's PCDS connection. (It replaces and extends both NetClassroom and the PCDS Portal.) What each of its tools offers to parents:

Family Access Module
for managing your family's information

  • Family Directory, searchable by parent, student, grade, and class
  • Household, for updating address, parent, and contact data
  • For each student...
    • COMING NEXT YEAR: Grades, for marking period grade reports
    • Schedule, for students in grades 5-12
  • About, information about FamilyConnect

SchoolForms Online
for re-enrollment

  • Enrollment Contract
  • Information Update, for updating student data
  • Paper enrollment forms status

BillPay
for payment of tuition and other school charges beginning in 2018-19

  • Make a Payment, with auto-pay capability
  • Invoices 
  • Payment History

Apply will also be available if needed for applications for other children.

FamilyConnect provides students in grades 5-12 with access to their Grades (COMING NEXT YEAR) and Schedule, as well as the Family Directory.

A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Currently, we have seen a few occurrences of accounts logging out when users click FamilyConnect, with the second attempt then working fine. If this happens to you, simply log in again and click FamilyConnect again (and you have a moment, we'd appreciate if you went to pcds.org/helprequest and let us know.)

AN ASSIGNMENT FOR PARENTS

Go to the Household area in the Family Access Module and make sure that all of your family's data is up-to-date. Of special note is that cell phones are now included in the directory, but since currently attending families have not indicated whether they'd like them published or not, everyone's setting is currently DNP (Do Not Publish). If you'd like your cell number published, then un-click its DNP checkbox. (New families: You provided your cell phone preferences on the Family Information Form, but are free to make changes, as well.)

GEEK NOTE: FamilyConnect, like myPCDS, is an account. Fortunately, once you log into myPCDS, you are already logged into FamilyConnect, so you don't need a separate username and password. For a comprehensive look at your PCDS accounts, visit Online Accounts.

Next, we'll take a look at some of the changes that come from the new systems doing things differently.  Read on...

2 • A Brief Overview + How to Log In + How to Get Help

As with the old website, the new site has both a public side and a personalized side. The public side provides a comprehensive introduction to the school through media, description, and storytelling. We will continue to refer to the personalized side as myPCDS, which provides parents, students, and faculty & staff with access to school news, event information, and a variety of resources for managing the business of school.

  • News items provide need-to-know information and are published on four major feeds: The Latest (all-school) on the main myPCDS page, and on the myPCDS Lower, Middle, and Upper School pages.
  • News stories, available, as well, to the public, provide a look at the noteworthy happenings in our community and are published primarily on Campus News & Media, though can also appear alongside the news items. Additionally, stories that reflect the culture of the school can be found on the home page and throughout the site.
  • Listings of major events, all-school and by division, accompany the news-item feeds. These listings are drawn from the PCDS Calendar, which is the central source of all event information, links to which are available at the bottom of every page as well as in the Community menu.
  • Resources are a diverse collection of online tools and information to facilitate a wide range of school-related tasks for students, parents, and faculty & staff. These will grow and develop over time.

Personalization is the primary function of the new FamilyConnect resource, which will be the subject of the next post.

To gain full access to the site, click myPCDS at the top right of any page. This will take you to the myPCDS page where you log in. A bit about logging in...

  • Usernames and passwords were emailed the day of the launch. Each account must have an associated, unique email address, so parents who have provided the same email address will have just one account. 
  • If you did not receive this email, you can attempt to obtain login information by clicking Forgot Username or Password and entering your email address. If this does not work, use the link below to let us know and we'll provide some help.
  • Once logged in, you'll see a menu at the top left, titled with your name, which is where you go to change your password. You can log out from there, as well, or click the Logout link at the top right.
  • Bump in the Road: If you choose to change your password, you'll notice a Subscriptions tab in the dialog box. Please note that this feature is not yet available, but we are unable to turn off its preferences. Any changes made on the Subscriptions tab will have no effect.
  • With the new configuration, the School recommends logging into myPCDS whenever you come to the site. This will guarantee access to all available information.

Need help? With upwards to 2000 people arriving for the first time, we want to make assistance as efficient as possible. Instead of email or phone, we ask that you bring issues or questions to pcds.org/helprequest and complete and submit the form. If there is no checkbox to quickly indicate your issue, please take a moment and describe it as well as you can. We will get back to you as soon as we are able. Patience will be greatly appreciated!

Keep reading to learn all about FamilyConnect...

1 • Welcome!

Take a deep breath! Here we go...

PCDS has a new website. In addition to providing a fresh look at Phoenix Country Day School, it gives us the opportunity to update, expand, and streamline our online resources. We're writing this blog to guide the PCDS community through this new landscape: to describe new features and changes to existing ones, to explain how the new systems work, and provide hints for getting around efficiently. We'll also point out any bumps in the road to help minimize confusion.

The new site has enabled us to gather many school-related functions under one roof.

Parents: When you log into the new myPCDS, you'll have one place to:

  • Get timely information about the school and the divisions in which your children are enrolled
  • Search the new online family directory by parent, student, grade, or class
  • Update household and parent information
  • Update your family's pickup and emergency contacts
  • View your children's schedules and, beginning next year, their grade reports
  • Submit school enrollment forms
  • Beginning in June...
    • View tuition invoices and scheduled payments
    • Pay tuition manually or through auto-pay
  • And more as we grow into the new possibilities

Students in grades 5-12: You'll be able to quickly access and print your schedules and, next year, grade reports. You'll be able to search the family directory, as well.

Websites are always works in progress; this is especially true for new sites. And, in our case, we have launched a bit earlier than is ideal, since we want everyone to have an opportunity to get acquainted with the site well before the beginning of the next school year. Launching early, though, means that a few things aren't quite finished yet, so we ask that you "pardon our cyber-dust" as we tend to those things.

An important work in progress is student grade reports. At the end of the school year, we will be directing you to the old myPCDS to access these. Details will follow.

We invite you to come on in and explore. The second post will provide an overview of the site and describe how to log in for full access...