Lauderdale County Schools Launches Parent Notification Program for 2008-2009 School Year

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SchoolMessenger Partnership Provides Quick, Reliable System to Reach Families Anytime, Anywhere in an Emergency

Lauderdale County Schools today announced the launch of a district-wide parent notification system. The district, which serves 12 schools and more than 8,700 students, will use its new technology to improve communications when inclement weather or other emergency situations impact local schools.

The new system, provided by SchoolMessenger, a leading U.S. parental notification company, delivers two communications options. For threatening, localized conditions, such as tornado warnings serious enough to require school closure or early dismissal, officials access the company's Web-based service to send a message anytime, day or night, from anywhere. For more serious conditions requiring immediate notification, such as an on-campus incident or serious weather emergency, massive calling capabilities allow officials to send thousands of messages in a matter of minutes.

In each case, the notification software allows school or district administrators to create personalized and timely voice or text messages, or emails, that can be delivered in any language. Since there is no limit to the number of messages the district can send, officials can use the system as often as necessary to keep parents, students and staff fully informed and updated on any incident.

"We want the community to know that we are constantly evaluating our emergency plans and adopting proactive measures to keep families informed should an incident arise that could impact their child's safety," said William Valentine, Superintendent of Education. "Our new emergency notification capabilities allow us to send a clear message as quickly as possible. Doing so reassures families that the situation is under control, helps curb the spread of misinformation that can cause confusion and unnecessary concern, and allows us to provide important updates as the situation unfolds."

This week Emergency Contact forms will be sent home. Parents are encouraged to review them carefully to be sure all telephone and email information is up to date and accurate. Two emergency contacts from each family are entered into the notification database, which is automatically, regularly updated throughout the year and always emergency-ready. If at any time contact information changes, parents are advised to notify the school immediately so that records can be updated.

"We want to applaud the district's success in creating an organized, strategic program that places a clear priority on parent communications and student safety," said Julie Abbott, vice president of Sales for Reliance Communications, the parent company of SchoolMessenger. "By leveraging our notification service, which is designed exclusively for K-12 schools, district and school administrators are well prepared for almost any emergency. In today's connected world, with 24/7 access to news and information, I believe parents expect nothing less from their local schools."

About Reliance Communications, Inc. and SchoolMessenger:
Reliance Communications, Inc. is a leading provider of automated notification solutions for education, government, health care, business, and non-profit organizations. More than 8,000 organizations depend on the company's solutions to connect and effectively communicate with millions of people every day. Founded in 1999, the privately-funded company is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California. For information, visit http://www.relianceco.com and http://www.schoolmessenger.com.

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Carleen LeVasseur
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