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School system will use Instant Alert system for more rapid communication capabilities

Posted Monday, January 24, 2005

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Chatham County Schools, which serves 7,400 kindergarten through twelfth grade students in Chatham County, N.C., announced that it will begin using Honeywell Instant Alert™ for Schools to improve communication with parents and guardians. The Web-based notification service allows the district to deliver both emergency and routine messages within minutes via phone, cell phone, pager, e-mail and personal data assistant (PDA).

“We see limitless potential for this tool to assist our administrators in more quickly communicating with our families and employees. We appreciate the support the Board of Education and our school administrators have given to this system as we work to bring it to our school community,” said Dr. Larry Mabe, Superintendent of Chatham County Schools.

To use Instant Alert™, a designated representative for the district initiates a message through a secure Web site or by phone. That message is then instantly broadcast to all contact points provided by a parent or guardian. Contact information can be updated via the Web or at one of the schools in the district, and parents can specify how they want to be reached - e.g., e-mail for a routine message, and e-mail and cell phone for emergency communications.

In addition, schools in the district can develop an unlimited number of subgroups, including clubs, committees and parent organizations, and send customized messages that are relevant to these groups. They also can send alerts to individual parents. This allows the district to notify families about situations that range from serious like absenteeism to more routine, such as a field trip permission slip that needs to be signed.

Instant Alert™ also provides reporting features that let school officials know their messages are reaching parents. Within minutes of initiating an alert, administrators can generate reports showing who was contacted and by what method, as well as reports that indicate who is authorized to pick up each student in case of a school emergency.

“Instant Alert™ was developed for emergency communications,” said Laura Schultz, vice president of Global Marketing for Honeywell Building Solutions. “But the everyday value of the service lies in its ability to connect schools and parents on a regular basis - an increasingly difficult task given that parents are often on the go and hard to reach.”

Parents and employees are currently in the process of registering for Instant Alert™ in Chatham County Schools. There is a link on the school system website at www.chatham.k12.nc.us. Schools are providing assistance to families who may not have Internet access at home. The Bilingual Parent Resource Center (663-4833) at SAGE Academy in Siler City is also open to families who wish to register with the help of the school system. Instant Alert™ will gradually replace the flow chart calling system of notifying employees of school closings, etc. Chatham County Schools will use red, yellow, and green alerts to communicate with families and/or employees. Examples include:
Red: inclement weather related school closing, emergency situation
Yellow: upcoming teacher workday
Green: PTA meeting reminder

 
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Related info:
Honeywell Instant Alert for Schools
 
News Unofficial Chatham County Schools site

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