Many people agree that when a gunman opened fire on students at NIU, the school's response was quick and effective. Rockford schools hope to establish an efficient system of its own to notify parents in times of a crisis.
The recent shooting at NIU and the tornado in Boone County remind us that our schools need to be prepared for an emergency. A school board committee met tonight to discuss among other things recommending to the school board the establishment of an electronic notification system. In the event of an emergency the system would send parents of children at the effected school a brief description of the situation followed by directions for the parents. School board member Jeanne Westholder had this to say.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll be meeting the need of the community and the parents for emergency response and parental notification." The goal here is to establish a system that will notify parents of a school crisis as quickly as possible in whichever way is most convienent to the parents. For example, if a parent checks their email often, they can choose to have an email sent to them, or if they are not computer savvy, they can choose a phone call as their primary notifiation method. School board member Fred Diehl had this to day about the system.
"So we don't want it to reside in our servers. We want it to be off-site because obviously there's infrastructure cost plus there's the maintenance cost and it would be more beneficial to the district currently if we did it off-site." It is important to note that this system will be added to the existing system of notification and will not replace it. Parents will still receive letters of notification after the crisis occurs, administrators are just looking to get the word out sooner.
The board members say they have talked with other school districts with electronic notification systems and they give them high remarks. Administrators hope to have the system in place here in Rockford by next school year.