The Houston School District is currently setting up a text alert system that will notify parents of activity within the district. The text alert is voluntary and parents must register for the service by texting @HSDAlert to 23559. Charges from individual carriers may apply for receiving text messages.
Once the district-wide text system is in place, Technology Coordinator Shane Presley will begin setting up a system in each school to notify parents of specific events within the building.
But the district-wide system will be used to transmit information parents need about the district.
“This will enhance communication for principals, teachers and parents,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Coker. “One of the most important and practical features for parents that sign up to receive the text will be weather data regarding early dismissal for school closings. Other features would just be a reminder of various school functions and activities in each local school.”
Staff at Houlka Attendance Center implemented the AIM notification system at the beginning of the term and have found it useful as a means of communication.
The AIM system generates telephone calls to parents, staff and students based on information in the school’s computer system. The messages are recorded and sent to all phone numbers in the system, but can also be localized to specific groups.
“For early closings, the phone calls go out to staff, students and teachers,” said Superintendent Betsy Collums. “We’ve used it a lot to remind parents about early release days and things like that. But you can have different groups, like you could set up a group for the softball team to send messages to them.”
Although neither Coker nor Collums wants to have to use the system for safety alerts, having them implemented and ready is a safeguard for students.
“It serves to provide parents with immediate instruction and information should a safety emergency occur,” Coker said.