New System in Action

The Francis Howell School District (FHSD) Board of Education

(BOE) recently approved a new communication system called SchoolMessenger. This rapid notification

system is designed to deliver a large mass of messages to a variety of medium (voicemail, e-mail, text messages, home phones, etc.) The SchoolMessenger will notify parents,

students and faculty about upcoming events or when school closings occur. It also can be used for attendance notifications. The system goes into effect in late November.

“The District needed some sort of mass communication system,” FHSD Chairman of Technology Ray Eernisse said. “This will have more usage with a better budget.”

The system the BOE approved will leverage the investment the District has made with the current phone system by allowing for non-priority messages (attendance or events) to be delivered through the

current phone lines. All priority messages (school closures or other emergencies) will be routed through the Internet portion of the system.

“It’s a way to improve communication,” FHN mom Michelle Curran said. “It’s direct contact.”

Although SchoolMessenger costs $14,000 per year it will end up saving the District thousands of dollars. In addition, the old electronic news system was less effective because it only sent to those who subscribed to the Enews system. The people with phone numbers in the FHSD system will automatically be signed up for SchoolMessenger, and the District web page will also have information for people to sign up and make preference changes. When this new system takes place, the District hopes to have a more organized and accurate communication system.

“I think since the District is going directly to the phones on record and not relying on watching for school closings on television,“ teacher Jon Travis said, “It will be quicker for people to find out the information.”