Carmel Clay adds texts to communication tools

With more parents on mobile devices, school districts are looking at ways to get messages to them faster.
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If your children go to school in Carmel, you may have received a text message earlier this week from the District Office. It is all part of an ongoing effort to figure out the best way to connect with parents on social media.

Your kids probably text every day, and you do, too. Now Carmel Schools will be texting you important messages.

A telephone recording was sent out to Prairie Trace parents Thursday morning: "I am calling to let you know the telephone and fax lines at Prairie Trace have been interrupted due to construction on River Road."

Carmel Schools have tried to keep up to date with the communication tools their parents are using. Dr. Steve Dillon is the Director of Student Services at Carmel Clay Schools.

"Our families will receive a phone call, an email message, a text message. It will be posted on Twitter, posted on Facebook and it will be posted on our web page," he said.

A test text went out earlier this week. Tricia Reynolds spearheads communications for the district and explained how the system works.

"As you can see here, we sent out 9,331 text messages," she said.

15,900 students attend Carmel Schools. That's 9,000 families.

Christi Cloud is the Director of Instructional Technology and Data Solutions, which is a responsibility that is becoming extremely challenging.

"We can make a phone call in this district to all 15,900 parents in about 15 minutes but we can text message them almost immediately," she said.

"We want to make sure in an emergency situation we reach you so we shotgun out all sorts of communications so we get one of those pieces to everybody," said Dr. Dillon.

So are Carmel Police, who have resource officers in Carmel Schools. Officer CJ Schoaff is a school resource officer with the Carmel Police Department.

"We have ongoing communication with school resource officer unit and the school district anyway. This is just another tool to have a head start on all this is going on inside the schools," said Schoaff.

Even if the message is as simple as a telephone disconnect at Prairie Trace: "Please know that even though communication is limited today Prairie Trace will still be able to contact emergency personal if needed."

At the end of the day when kids are going home, no doubt they are texting once again. Carmel so far has used this option twice - once for a snow closing and another for a two-hour delay. They are hoping they won't need it again, but they are ready if they need it.