TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Faster is Better When Schools Spread Word

Faster is Better When Schools Spread Word

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 4 Dec 2005 13:43:47 -0500

By Ron DePasquale, Globe Correspondent

School officials in several of Boston's western suburbs are using new
communications systems that allow them to make hundreds, or even
thousands, of phone calls to parents almost instantaneously.

Proponents of the 'school-to-home' communications systems, which are
seeing use by a growing number of districts nationwide, say they can
be invaluable in reaching out to parents for both routine messages
and in emergencies.

"It's quite a remarkable system. It's really something special.
There's the security of parents knowing what's going on right away,"
said Wrentham's superintendent, Mick Janelli. Plainville and Weston
are also using the systems.

School officials record a message. The systems can then forward that
message to everyone in the school community or subsets of people,
school officials said.

If a school bus breaks down, for example, the school can notify just
those parents affected. Last-minute reminders for field trips, PTO
meetings, or parent-teacher conferences can also be sent, instead of
being forgotten in a 7-year-old's backpack. Teachers who are driving a
long commute to work on a snowy day can be called on their cellphones
and told that school has been canceled.

Officials said the systems could also be helpful in case of
emergencies, such as an attack on a school or a health emergency.

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