CKSD expands districtwide parent notification system

The Central Kitsap School District (CKSD) will have a more efficient parent notification system for the 2008-09 school year thanks to “SchoolMessenger,” a pilot program designed to make electronic message delivery more reliable and efficient.

Capable of delivering thousands of messages in just minutes, the system reports emergencies, absenteeism, updates on school openings and closures and other districtwide news.

District officials said they believe the new system will improve the quality and frequency of communications between schools and the community.

“In times of emergency, it’s important to send a clear message as quickly as possible,” Superintendent Greg Lynch said. “Doing so reassures families that the situation is under control, but also helps curb the spread of misinformation that can cause confusion and unnecessary concern.”

More than 8,000 school districts nationwide use the same system. And with 18 schools, four alternative programs and more than 11,000 students, communication between CKSD officials, students, staff and parents is vital.

“Essentially, we’re able to contact all households across the district in approximately 15 minutes,” CKSD spokesman David Beil said.

Parents in the community received test messages when the school year kicked off, with Lynch sending out a back-to-school welcome message. The delivery went off without a hitch.

The system’s intelligence deciphers names and schools, meaning it doesn’t send out overlapping messages to the same household. If a family has more than one child in the district, for example, the system won’t send that family duplicate messages.

The new system will not replace current modes of communication, as principals are accessible for in-person visits and school newsletters are being sent home.

For more information on the new parent notification system, contact the district’s community relations department at (360) 662-1620.

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