The Park City School District has big plans in the works for its new online alert system. Whether its updating parents on school closures, alerting them in the wake of an earthquake or other natural disaster or simply informing parents of an upcoming school event, the new system offers more features to stay in touch with parents and students.
The new system is replacing the older version, where the district had limited options on how to contact parents. Before, the system would only send messages to those registered, and the system would not allow for filters such as notifications by school or class.
"We've been talking about a new system since I've been here, and that was three and half years ago," said Kevin Orgill, the Safety and Security Coordinator for the Park City School District. "This notification system will do a lot of the different things we want it to. The new school messenger has bells and whistles that would make us more effective. This is not just for emergencies."
Whether there is a heavy storm that comes in and the district needs to cancel school or a situation arises on I-80 where children need to be moved, the system will be able to target the right parents using information given at registration.
"This system reaches out to parents," Orgill said, "telling them what is happening."
"It could even do event notification," he added. "It has the potential, but that depends on how much it is used and will be something we can look at more once the system is fully in place.
While the program is still under development the emergency notifications system is in place and operational it will still be a few months before the whole system will be up and running. But with the new system comes improved communication not just between the district and parents, but even teachers and parents.
The new program overlaps with an older system, PowerSchool, a grading system used by teachers in the district. Through that same program, teachers will be able to message parents and students directly. Every parent will be automatically enrolled to receive updates when they register students, using email, text or phone messages through the provided information. Students are also able to register to receive alerts and notifications.
"The system we had in effect before was limited," Orgill said. "The contacts we had were only those that voluntarily called in. It was limited resource, who we had in pool to contact. We also didn't have ability to isolate to certain school, so one message went out to the entire school district.
"This new system is better at isolating people we want for a specific message. We don't want people getting several notifications a week that did not apply to them. With this upgrade, we'll be also to use it a lot more."