Madison County Schools and Morgan County Schools Launch Parent Notification Systems for 2008-2009 School Year

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SchoolMessenger Partnerships Provide District and School Officials with a Quick, Reliable Way to Reach Parents Anytime, Anywhere

Morgan County Schools and Madison County Schools today announced that new district-wide parent notification systems have been implemented for the 2008-2009 school year. The districts, which together serve more than 35 schools and over 30,000 students, will each use the new technology to improve home-school communications. Although primary importance will be placed on better, more informative communications when inclement weather conditions or on-campus emergencies occur, officials also plan to use it to improve the quality and frequency of communications with families throughout the school year.

"We live in a world of 24/7 access to news and information, and parents expect nothing less from their local schools, especially when it comes to the safety of their children," said Mr. Terry L. Davis, Superintendent of Madison County Schools. "Our new SchoolMessenger system not only allows us to provide parents with fast, accurate information in an emergency, but will also help us build a strong home-school relationship over time. Studies show that when schools and families are connected, a special trust develops and student achievement benefits."

The new systems, provided by SchoolMessenger, a leading U.S. parental notification company, deliver two communications options. For non-threatening conditions, such as tornado warnings serious enough to require school closure or early dismissal, officials simply 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 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 Robert L. Balch, Superintendent, Morgan County Schools. "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."

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 success that these districts have had 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 to keep parents informed in times of crisis, but also more involved in activities taking place on their child's campus throughout the year."

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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