Brenda Colameta, technology coordinator for the SAU 12 district, has already received feedback on Safe Stop, one of the IT Department’s innovations for 2017. “One parent told me she received a ‘yellow alert,'” Colameta said. “Her child’s bus was going to be three minutes late.”
They can reach thousands, or one worried parent. Colameta appeared in the Jan. 17 School Board meeting to update the board and television audience on the latest tools to keep students, parents and educators connected.
The school district has initiated the use of two new notification systems, serving different needs. Colameta introduced the systems, Safe Stop and School Messenger, in a December meeting and piloted them in January.
Safe Stop is connected to school buses and bus-and student-specific, according to Colameta. Parents can register on line, and receive an easy-to-use mobile app. The app will notify them when their child’s bus is going to be late or has some other issue, Colameta said.
The directions for signing up for Safe Stop are on the district Web site, Colameta said.
School Messenger is a more general notification system covering everything from emergencies such as shelter in place to unplanned early releases to school plays and concerts.
Over 800 staff members were trained on School Messenger, Colameta said, with messages appearing in text, e-mail and voice mail. It was a successful test and the training will continue with families, she said, noting that a family test was planned for Thursday, Jan. 19.
Colameta warned that interested families should update their contact information.
“What is the process for changing your contact information?” Board Chair Nancy Hendricks asked.
Colameta said it could be done by logging on to the Aspen parent portal.
Colameta said all administrators are being trained on how to send out information on School Messenger.
Board member Jenn Ganem asked how the two new systems would work with parents who have children in all three schools. “Do we get three different messages?” she wondered.
Colameta said with the Safe Stop bus alert, if there’s an issue involving three buses, the parent will receive a message specific to each bus. School Messenger will send one notification, she said.
“One all the testing is done, we are ready to go,” Colameta said.