Parents are busy people. They need to get information on what is happening in their students’ school sent to them, especially if there is an emergency. Leonard Independent School District ensures that parents are in the know for the routine as well as emergencies and bad weather closing/delay notifications.
School Messenger is the district’s main tool for immediate outreach.
While the District’s website is a great place for parents to go to find information, parents don’t know when there is new information posted. School newsletters may only go out every week or even every month. The tool that Leonard Independent School District uses when it needs to let all parents know that something is happening is School Messenger. This communications system allows the district to send mass telephone, e-mail and text messages to hundreds of parents and guardians in a timely fashion.
The district has developed some protocols around how and when this tool is used. This page describes some of those uses and what parents need to know.
Who gets the call?
The contact information from the Student Enrollment sheet that parents/guardians must file each year is put into the district’s student information system. Once a day, new information from that system is downloaded into School Messenger’s secure and confidential system. So within 24 hours of being entered, a new family may begin receiving communications.
Routine calls – Caller ID (903)587-4060 - are made to the first telephone number on record for the first family listed. These recorded message calls may come from the district office or the student’s school. They are often reminders, such as when curriculum night is being held, or new information parents may need, such as a change in school schedule. The system does mark duplicates, so parents with more than one student will not get duplicate calls. If the telephone is answered by an answering machine, the system will leave a message.
Daily Attendance calls – Caller ID – (Campus Main Phone Number) - are made if your child is marked absent from school, regardless of the reason.
Food Services Account Balance calls – Caller ID – (903)587-4012 – are made at scheduled times if your child’s account balance drops below -$20.00.
Non-School Hours Emergency calls - Caller ID - (903)587-2318 - are made from the District Office only. This kind of call may be made, for example, to tell families that school will be closed because of a power outage, or bad weather school delayed opening or closing.
School-Hours Emergency calls - Caller ID - (903)587-2318 - are made from the District Office only.
In a true emergency, such as a tornado or fire, the district or school may need to get to parents quickly. Parents may need to come to the school to pick up their student. Or they may be asked not to come to school or to go to a different location to be reunited with their student. In the case of a true emergency, School Messenger will send a message from the district in all of these ways:
- A recorded message to every telephone number on record for a student
- An e-mail to each e-mail address on record – with a file that can be played of the telephone message
- A text message to each cell phone on record, if the cell phone’s owner has previously opted in to receiving those messages (see instructions below)`
District and school staff has strict instructions to use this emergency tool in a true emergency only.
In case of bad weather
To ensure that all families know when school has been cancelled or delayed, Leonard Independent School District will place a call to all parents via School Messenger usually beginning about 6 a.m. on those days. If you need to know whether school has been cancelled or delayed before you get a call, the information will also be available on the District’s website or area television stations. The calls are made early in order to provide have enough time to get to school.
Text message permission
Cell phone carriers will not let School Messenger send out mass text messages unless it can show that it has permission from each recipient. When a cell phone number is added into the student information system and then uploaded into the School Messenger system, which triggers an opt-in permission text message to the phone with that number.
This text message will say the following:
“Leonard Independent School District alerts. Reply Y for aprx 3 msgs/mo. Txt STOP to quit, HELP for help.”
Carrier Message and Data rates apply. Visit schoolmessenger.com/tm
That’s the approved message that all cell phone carriers require and it is sent to all School Messenger clients, no matter what their usage really is. While some school districts use the text message service for routine messages, Leonard Independent has decided to use it only for emergency messages: parents will not get approximately five messages per month but instead may only get one or zero text messages per year. As noted, cell phone carriers may charge message and/or data rates for these messages, depending on the cell phone plan. That issue is outweighed in our minds in an emergency, when text messages may be the only kind of message that can get through.
To get text messages in an emergency, reply to this text message on receipt. Just type y, or yes, or opt-in when replying to the message. If you did not receive the message or forgot to respond, simply text message the number 68453 with the message “opt-in” or “yes.” A return text will confirm that School Messenger has registered this cell phone number for text messages.
Schools, especially, may use this system to send out routine information and reminders through its mass e-mail system. Those e-mails go to the e-mail address on file with the district.
Changing your numbers or e-mail addresses
Because this information is housed in our student information system, changes must be made at your child’s school. Simply contact the school office to let them know if you want to change which telephone number is listed first. Some parents who do not want early bad weather calls to go to their home number may choose to list a cell phone first.
Leonard Independent School District can block a specific telephone number from getting calls but that will block it from getting any calls. We discourage parents from blocking their student’s first telephone number listed since that will block all mass calls from their school or from the school district.
These procedures are subject to change without notice. Last Update – 25 January 2011