Countdown to 2014-2015: What’s new in HISD #3 — District to launch text message alert system Sept. 9

This is the eighth in a series of stories counting down to the start of school, spotlighting what is new in HISD in the coming year.

An emergency text is displayed on a smartphone, August 14, 2014. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)When it comes to their children, parents want accurate information, and they want it fast and at their fingertips. That’s precisely what they’ll get with HISD’s new text message alert system.

Launching on Sept. 9, the new text-notification system from SchoolMessenger will allow HISD officials to quickly notify parents, students, faculty, and staff members about district and campus emergencies and other important events.

“When time is of the essence, texting is the way to go,” said HISD Superintendent of Schools Terry Grier. “Text messaging is the quickest way to notify parents, staff, and students.”

The service is designed for HISD families — parents and guardians, as well as middle- and high-school students — and district employees. When administrators need to get the word out fast, they can harness the power of the system’s automated calling capabilities, delivering thousands of text messages in minutes. It will be used to notify users about school closings, lockdowns, stranger dangers, and other life-threatening events.

To sign up for the service, simply text “YES” to 68453 from each cell phone on which you wish to receive text messages. Parents may also register their secondary students’ cell phone numbers so that high-school and middle-school principals can text their students directly regarding emergency situations.

Parents and employees whose cell phone numbers are on file with the district will also receive an invitation to sign up for the system via text message on Sept. 9. They can decline the service by either ignoring the message or texting “STOP” or “NO” to 68453.

Please note that only cell phone numbers registered with HISD will receive emergency text messages. The service is free, but recipients should check with their cell phone provider to make sure that texting is included in their cell phone plan before signing up.

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