FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

  1. As a parent, how can I stay informed about everything going on in the Lakota West band program?
  2. I notice that most band communication is handled through the web site. What’s the best way to make use of this site?
  3. What is the Upbeat Club and how do I get involved?
  4. What is the difference between a “general fundraiser” and a “student fundraiser?”

Charms Questions

  1. What is Charms?
  2. How do I get log-in information for Charms?
  3. What happens if I forget my Charms password?
  4. How can I learn to use the Charms site?
  5. How can I make trip, band camp, and band fee payments within Charms?
  6. Who do I contact if I have a question about the posting of a fundraiser to my Student Account in Charms?
  7. Who do I contact if I have a question about the posting of band camp, trip, or band fee payments in Charms?

Web Site Questions

  1. Where can I find maps and directions to band events?
  2. How can I share my photos on the web site?
  3. Where on the web site can I pay for band camp, trips and other band fees?
  4. Where can I buy Spirit Wear? CD’s and DVD’s? Kroger Rewards Cards? Fundraising items?
  5. I’ve heard that the calendar on our web site is “interactive.” What does that mean and how can it help me?
  6. What does “PDF” or “PDF Format” mean?
  7. What can I do if the text size on this web site is too small (or too large) for me?

General Questions

  1. As a parent, how can I stay informed about everything going on in the Lakota West band program?There are two major ways to stay informed:
    • The primary way to stay informed is www.lakotawestbands.org, which we half-jokingly refer to as “a band parent’s best friend.” For some reason, it always takes new parents awhile to discover that the latest band information is always posted right here. The web site provides weekly director announcements, schedules, fundraisers, band photos, etc. You can also pay band fees, make trip payments, and buy marching band DVD’s using your credit card or PayPal account. If there is ever a question about a new event or change in schedule, it will be posted on the web site. As an example, a few years ago, there was a major overnight snowstorm that led to the cancellation of Solo & Ensemble contest. We had the information posted by 6:00 a.m., and by 7:30 a.m. almost 400 people had visited the web site to learn about the cancellation. As a band parent, please recognize that this is YOUR web site. If you are aware of any information that should be shared or if you see an error on the web site, contact web@lakotawestbands.org.
    • The second way to stay up to date, of course, is to get active in the Upbeat Club and attend our monthly meetings (the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the band room). There are so many different talents needed in this organization, and so many ways – large and small – that you can contribute. Don’t be shy! Come and observe a couple of times, and before you know it, you’ll be full-fledged member of the family.
  2. I notice that most band communication is handled through the web site. What’s the best way to make use of this site?Be sure to check our web site at least once a week for the latest band news and information. Announcements tend to be posted on Mondays but may be added throughout the week.
    • Check “All Recent Posts” in the right column of the  Home Page for critical updates and special announcements for parents.
    • Read the director announcements for your band(s).
    • Subscribe to the Lakota West Band News email list to receive weekly director announcements and other critical updates during the summer and the school year.  You can also subscribe via our RSS feed or Twitter.
    • For detailed information about an event, go to the Calendar page and click on the event name. This is where you will find a description of the event, special instructions, time, location, web site links, and maps/directions.
    • Enjoy our latest photos. Especially during band camp and marching season, new photos are posted regularly. If you’d like to share your own band and guard photos, check the photo page for instructions.
    • Manage student finances in the “Finances” area. You can pay your band fees and make trip payments online by credit card through our secure PayPal account.
    • Visit “The Upbeat Shoppe” to buy band CD’s and DVD’s — and to see the latest in spirit wear.
    • If you are ever in doubt about an event (is it cancelled? has the time changed?) check this site. The latest information will always be posted here first.
    • If you see something wrong on our web site or if you know of an event that should be posted, please send an email to web@lakotawestbands.org.
  3. What is the Upbeat Club and how do I get involved?The Lakota Upbeat Club, Inc., is a booster organization established to provide physical and financial assistance for the band program and to promote community participation and awareness of the program. It consists of two separate operating divisions: the Lakota East Upbeat Club and the Lakota West Upbeat Club. The members of the Upbeat Club are the band directors, assistant directors, and the parents of band and guard students in grades 7 – 12. There are NO dues required to be a member of the Upbeat Club.  The Upbeat Club provides financial help for the band program through fundraising, as well as lots of “arms and legs” to support band activities.
    • The best way to get started is to attend our monthly meetings (the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the band room).
    • There are so many different talents needed in this organization, and so many ways – large and small – that you can contribute. You can make a real difference for the students in our program AND make great friends along the way. Complete the Online Upbeat Club Volunteer Interest Form and be sure to watch this web site for other special volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
    • To learn more, visit the The Upbeat Club page.
  4. What is the difference between a “general fundraiser” and a “student fundraiser?”  The Lakota West Upbeat Club conducts a number of general fundraisers (such as Tag Day and Kroger Reward Cards) that support the band program overall. We must raise approximately $60,000 to $70,000 a year to offset uniform, instrument, and other expenses. No school funds are used for band camp or trips. We can no longer offer student fundraisers due to tax laws governing 501(c)3 organizations.

Charms Questions

  1. What is Charms? The Charms Music Office Assistant is an online system used to manage all student and financial information for the Lakota West band program. To log in, click the Charms logo on the left side of each page on our site or CLICK HERE. Charms offers several valuable features for students and their parents:
    • Finances.
      View your trip payments, band camp payments, band fees, fundraiser earnings, and student account (Student Miscellaneous Ledger). If you choose, you can make trip payments or pay band fees using your credit card or PayPal account within Charms.
    • Handouts.
      View and print Marching Band music, Marching Band Directory, Handbooks, Charms User Manuals, and other important information.
    • Student Info.
      Review and update your student and parent contact information (be sure to enter your birthday!). Charms lets us have a single database of student information used in all aspects of our program (director communications, uniform assignment, Upbeat Notes mailings, etc.) So, please make sure we have your correct information!
  2. How do I get log-in information for Charms? At the beginning of your Freshman year, you will be given a Band ID and log-in information for Charms. If you misplace this information, send an email to membership@lakotawestbands.org with student and parent names, address, phone number and band instrument (you will then be contacted to verify your identity). After logging in for the first time with your Band ID, be sure to change your password to a unique letter/number combination.
  3. What happens if I forget my Charms password? If you forget your password or need log-in information, send an email to membership@lakotawestbands.org with student and parent names, address, phone number and band instrument (you will then be contacted to verify your identity). Your password will be reset back to your Band ID.
  4. How can I learn to use the Charms site? If you have questions about how to navigate the site, please read the User Guide (PDF Format) before contacting web@lakotawestbands.org. For more information, CLICK HERE.
  5. How can I make trip, band camp, and band fee payments within Charms? Now you can make payments for trips, band camp, and band fees (such as uniform items, guard accessories, Winds dresses) directly from your Finances page on Charms (using your credit card or PayPal account). When you make a payment through Charms, it automatically updates your Charms account to reflect the payment (no waiting for manual posting). You can see how to do this in the User Guide for Students/Parents or in the User Guide for Chaperones (PDF Format). AND remember, you can always continue to make payments through our web site in Finances! Best cases to make payments through Charms:
    • If you are making a payment for just one traveler and for just one trip (there is no Shopping Cart built into Charms).
    • If you are making a partial payment due to a previous overpayment. When you pay through Charms, YOU enter the amount you are paying and select the appropriate trip.
  6. Who do I contact if I have a question about the posting of a fundraiser to my Student Account in Charms? We are no longer doing student fundraisers or making credits to student accounts due to IRS regulations governing 501c3 organizations.  If you have questions about using the credits in your account, please contact finance@lakotawestbands.org.
  7. Who do I contact if I have a question about the posting of band camp, trip, or band/guard fee payments in Charms? Please contact finance@lakotawestbands.org with any questions related to the posting of band camp, trip and band/guard fee payments.

Web Site Questions

    1. Where can I find maps and directions to band events? You can find the most complete information for any band event by going to the Calendar page and clicking on the event name. Then, click the event location to get a Google map and directions. You can take advantage of a helpful feature by clicking on “Hybrid” in the upper right corner of the map. This will show you a satellite image of the location – and that’s particularly helpful if you’re trying to find a stadium layout or a parking lot!
    2. How can I share my photos on the web site? Join the fun and sense of family in the Lakota West Bands by sharing your photos of band events. The Lakota West Upbeat Club has a Flickr Pro account so we can post unlimited photos! If you have a small number of photos, you can just email them to the webmaster for posting.  If you have a large number or expect to be a frequent contributor, please contact the webmaster for information on how you can upload your photos directly to our Flickr account. Send your email to web@lakotawestbands.org.
    3. Where on the web site can I pay for band camp, trips and other band fees? You can pay for band camp, trips and other band fees using your credit card or PayPal account in Finances. Just click on the Finances menu tab at the top of this page. You will also find information about payment schedules and alternative payment methods.
    4. Where can I buy Spirit Wear?  CD’s and DVD’s? Kroger Rewards Cards? Fundraising items? You can find the latest information and purchase some items using your credit card or PayPal account in The Upbeat Shoppe. In fact, for anything related to “buying stuff,” check The Upbeat Shoppe first!  Just click on the Shoppe menu tab at the top of this page.
    5. I’ve heard that the calendar on our web site is “interactive.” What does that mean and how can it help me? Our calendar, developed and hosted by Trumba Corporation, provides a variety of customizable features. For instance, you can take the following actions:
      • View the calendar in several formats (month, day, week, table, etc.)
      • Search for calendar events.
      • Add events to your personal calendar.
      • Set email and text message event reminders.
      • Forward event information to friends.
      • Arrange to be notified if events change.

To learn how to use all of our calendar features, CLICK HERE.

  1. What does “PDF” or “PDF Format” mean? Much of the information on this site is provided in Portable Document Format (PDF) files. This has become the industry standard for web site documents. Using Adobe Acrobat, it is possible for a web master to convert virtually any file format (such as Word, WordPerfect, PowerPoint, etc.) to a PDF file. That way, any computer containing an Adobe Reader can access the PDF file, rather than having to be loaded with all the various other software products. PDF files can be read by MAC computers, as well as computers operating under Windows or other operating systems. The great thing is that an Adobe Reader can be downloaded to your computerfor free! When you click on the Adobe Reader link below, you will need to know your computer’s operating system (Windows XP, Mac OS, etc.). You can then download the Adobe Reader setup file for your particular system. Once you have downloaded that file, just click on the file to execute the setup and follow any directions given by the setup program. After that, you should be able to view any of the PDF files on our web site. Get Adobe Reader.
  2. What can I do if the text size on this web site is too small (or too large) for me? Most browsers provide keyboard shortcuts like CTRL+ and CTRL- for zooming.  You can also click CTRL (hold it down) and scroll the mouse wheel.

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