CallFire Releases Emergency Notification Case Study for Schools

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Learn How Schools Are Using Voice Broadcasting to Fight Chronic Truancy

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It is becoming ever more vital that government agencies prepare adequate strategies to remain stable and functioning during unexpected crises. The ability to mass notify the public is essential to any government agency or municipality. SMS and emergency telephone notification systems are integral to maintaining communication between government agencies and the public during an emergency.

CallFire, a next generation cloud telephone company, has worked intimately with numerous government agencies to develop organizational telecom strategies. Cloud based telecom solutions are rapidly being integrated into all aspects of government communications. As an emergency notification system, CallFire is instantly-available and easy to use. CallFire's platform has the capacity to handle large requests at a moment’s notice. Using CallFire, a government agency can notify 100,000 citizens in an hour

SMS text messaging is a quick and simple way to contact thousands of people and know that they will pay attention. With open rates averaging 98% – and 90% being opened in the first 3 minutes – there is nothing else like it in terms of reach rate. Also, SMS messages will go through even when voice channels are saturated, which often happens in emergencies. Together SMS and voice broadcasts increase the likelihood of proper message transmission.

A recent notification campaign to fight truancy in Boston schools shows one innovative way that schools are communicating with students to increase attendance and fight chronic truancy. Here's an excerpt from the case study:

"Wake up and get ready for class."

If you're a teenager, you might expect to hear this from your mom or dad. But from your principal?

That's exactly what happened to 500 chronically tardy students at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, MA.

The goal is to have 95% of students in class before the first bell rings. Last year, Durfee reached 89% attendance, when the goal was set at 92%. Administrators note that they do not rely solely on the automated calls; some go so far as to knock on doors. "We're looking to get whatever hooks the students," Ross Thibault, Durfee's vice principal, told

Durfee is just one of the many schools employing voice broadcast to combat absenteeism. In New York City, a campaign named "WakeUp!NYC" launched last month, where chronically absent students in 25 schools received automated calls from celebrities including Magic Johnson, Jose Reyes, Big Boi, Terrence J and Rosci, Trey Songz. "To make it big," Trey Songz warns, "you gotta go to school and get your education, just like I did. It’s the key to a better future, better job, better money, better life.”

“Through WakeUp! NYC we’re putting on a full-court press, using mass media and digital media to drive home the point that every student should be in school every day,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “It’s the next step in our efforts to cut absenteeism and put more students on the road to success, in school and in life.” Early results from the truancy program showed improvements in many participating schools. Elementary schools registered the largest improvement, with a collective 24% decrease in the number of absences. At Isaac Newton Middle School, the drop was nearly 39%. Among high schools, the High School for Teaching and the Professions in the Bronx showed the highest decline of 9%.

WakeUp!NYC is also including a "good news" component, where students will be congratulated by celebrity partners for strong or improved attendance, because research suggests celebrating improved attendance helps further improve attendance.

“We almost caused a stampede when we played the inspirational 'stay-in-school' messages from Trey Songz over the loudspeaker," Camille Jacobs, assistant principal at Pathways College Preparatory School in Saint Albans, NY, said. "My students thought a celebrity was in the building and ran to the office to see him. It really seemed to make an impression on them!”

If you are interested in implementing a similar program for your school, district, or non-profit group, CallFire is an eager and enthusiastic partner. CallFire's Voice Broadcast product makes it simple to upload a message and pre-schedule it to go out to a list of contacts. Call 877-897-FIRE to get started.

About CallFire: CallFire ( simplifies telephony, making sophisticated, expensive carrier class telecom capabilities available through an affordable, easy-to-use GUI and API platform. Any business, from start-up to enterprise, can reach its customers on any device, using text messaging or voice, with CallFire’s massively scalable, cloud telecom platform and SMS gateway. CallFire products include Voice APIs, Business Text Messaging, Voice Broadcast, Local Phone Numbers, Toll Free Numbers, IVR, Power Dialing for agents and more. Call analytics enable CallFire’s 50,000 users to reach customers more often using text marketing, virtual phone service, 800 numbers, dialers, and mobile messaging.

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Jake Weiss
Skyy Consulting Inc.
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