Schools stress importance of current contact information

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"If that changes then obviously we've got an issue," Rick Schaeffer said.

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — After recent severe weather, school districts are stressing the importance of keeping all contact information up-to-date.

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After a long tornado warning at the end of a school day in parts of Northwest Arkansas on Friday, January 10, schools are urging parents to make sure their child’s school has current contact information.

“As timing would have it the storm moved in at the time we were releasing school, so we did hold the busses and took all the students to the storm shelter,” Decatur School District Superintendent Steven Watkins said.

When an emergency hits, something as simple as a wrong number could put your child in jeopardy. That’s why school districts like Springdale and Decatur are emphasizing the importance of always updating your information.

The key is if the school has the proper information then the parents are going to get the information.

RICK SCHAEFFER, SPRINGDALE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Springdale Public Schools Communication Director Rick Schaeffer said the first concern is always safety so to ensure your child is out of harm’s way, they need to be able to reach you.

“You want to be able to reach the parent,” he said. “If the child has a medical emergency and we need to get a hold of that parent right away — that’s why it’s so important for them to have information in the office so we can reach them.”

Springdale Public Schools just implemented a new system this year that notifies parents through text, call, and email.

Schaeffer said the system will continue to work well if parents continue to keep their contacts up-to-date.

“If that changes then obviously we’ve got an issue because we are unaware of those kinds of changes,” he said.

Decatur Public Schools also added a new notification system.

According to Watkins, it’s also been pretty successful.

“We feel that it is a great tool to enhance that communication piece between the school and the parents,” he said.

Both of these systems are not just for safety though.

They are also a way for teachers to contact individual parents.

“Let’s just say a certain student has done really well on something,” Schaeffer said. “A teacher might want to send a note and say, ‘Hey, Bob or Sally did a really great job on his or her test today.’

“We are (sending) text messages to the parents for a remind type of communication for parent-teacher conferences, ball games, and award ceremonies,” Watkins said.

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