Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How a Text Message Helped Keep Me Sane!

I was on my way to lunch duty, when my phone buzzed in my pocket.  I pulled it out and saw a text from my daughter's school.  Nothing out of the ordinary, till I opened the text.

"We received a bomb threat by phone about 30 minutes ago..." 

These are not words you expect to read.  You know evil is out there, and you know other schools have been targets in the past.  You just don't expect it to hit this close to home.

For the next two hours, I went about my normal duties, but with my phone in my hand, ready to hear the next piece of news. We got a total of four messages from scary start till successful finish.  All the while, I felt like the school was sharing the information they could share and I could sanely go about my day.

Remind made this all possible. At the beginning of the school year we were invited to join the schools' Remind contact list and have been getting school announcements via text since the start of school.  However, the administration utilized Remind expertly yesterday, sending out messages in real time so parents knew what they felt we needed to know.

I've known about Remind for a while, but never saw much use for it till the aftermath of the bomb threat. That made me think of uses we could have in our school.

  • Parents want to know what's happening during an actual calamity event. Our own children are rarely far from our minds -- especially when we know there is danger.  Remind could put parents' minds at rest and help them know the school and staff are on the job.  (Seriously, somehow I was relaxed with each text message.)
  • Sometimes teachers need to know information that students don't need to know.  If we had a teacher contact list, that information could be relayed to teachers and keep the kids outside the loop.  
At this point, I've told our administration about Remind, and we'll see what happens.  But I'm so glad that Remind was on my family's side yesterday!


On the non-techie side of the story, all is well.  
  • There was no bomb.  In fact, her school was one of about a half dozen that got similar calls all around the Cincinnati Area about the same time.  The FBI is looking into it. 
  • My daughter's teacher rocks!  She made the decision to not tell the kids what was happening and instead told them it was a drill.  No stress for the kids, even though they were displaced for two hours.  
  • Big applause for a couple of middle school students who joined the first graders the whole time and played games with them to keep their minds off the very long "drill." 
  • The district provided the students (1500 of them) with bag lunches.  This excited my little first grader, which amazes me. She missed stromboli! 
Don't know what Remind is?  Remind is an app that allows educators to text an entire group at a time.  This is one-way communication, so replies are not possible.  It can be used as a means of making announcements (Sign up for parent/teacher conferences) or other reminders.  If you haven't heard of Remind before, check it out. 

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