Greencastle Community Schools will begin using a parent notification system this semester which will allow school officials to deliver hundreds of messages within minutes.
A test of the system is planned this week on Thursday evening. Parents can expect an automated phone call in the voice of Superintendent Robert Green introducing the system. Any parent or guardian who does not receive a call should contact their child's school office to verify contact information after Thursday.
The school will use its new communications capabilities to reach families quickly in the event of an emergency, to report absenteeism, and to improve the overall quality and frequency of communications between its schools and the community. By partnering with SchoolMessenger, a leading U.S. parental notification company, the district or any individual school can communicate regularly with parents day or night, in any language, using voice messages, email or text messaging. The solution even includes a survey feature that allows officials to query families to get the pulse of the community on key issues.
If an emergency occurs on any campus in the district, SchoolMessenger's massive calling capabilities will enable thousands of messages to be placed in a matter of minutes, sending a clear message as quickly as possible in order to curb the spread of misinformation that can cause confusion and unnecessary concern and reassuring families that the situation is under control. For more routine attendance alerts and community outreach, school or district officials simply access the Web-based service, or call a toll-free number, to send families any number of personalized messages or reminders throughout the school year.
Emergency contact information provided by parents at registration has been entered into the system. As the system is tested, parents listed as the primary contact for students will receive a call from SchoolMessenger recorded in the superintendent's voice announcing the initial use of the notification system. Any parent or guardian who does not receive a test call during the month of January should contact the office of their child's school to verify phone numbers and email addresses. Two emergency contacts from each family are entered into the notification database, which is automatically, regularly updated throughout the year so that it is always emergency-ready. If at any time contact information changes, parents are advised to notify the school immediately so that records can be updated.
It is important to note that the SchoolMessenger solution will not replace current modes of school communications. Principals are still accessible for live visits, and a variety of publications and correspondence will continue to be sent home. Any personal information shared between families and the district will remain private, and is protected by multiple layers of data encryption, firewalls and other security measures.