School Security News

Washington Schools Get Free Taste of Notification Services

An agency in Washington will be offering free emergency notification services until the end of June 2010 to school districts in the state that use the organization's data system. The Washington School Information Processing Cooperative (WSIPC), a public agency that provides information services to school districts, has signed an agreement with Reliance Communications, which sells SchoolMessenger, a parent notification service. Districts are also being encouraged to extend and expand their subscriptions past June with special pricing.

The cooperative said in a statement that its goal is to put communication capabilities in place at 1,400 Washington schools during this school year. The service will enable school administrators to quickly alert parents, students, and staff when emergency situations arise, including inclement weather, on-campus incidents, school closings, and early dismissals.

"In today's world of 24/7 news and information, parents expect nothing less from their local schools, especially when it comes to the safety of their children," said Marty Daybell, executive director of the cooperative. "We believe this technology is no longer a 'nice to have,' but a mission-critical communication service that parents, students and staff can rely on. It not only ensures that community members be alerted as threatening incidents occur, but helps curb the spread of misinformation and enables important updates to be communicated as the situation unfolds."

The vendor's complete notification package includes automated attendance calling, child nutrition low balance alerts, and other announcements intended to "engage parents."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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