BISD embraces technology to aid communications
Parents spoke and Burleson Independent School District listened. As part of new school year registration, parents were asked how they prefer to receive communications from the school district. Overwhelmingly, parents said they preferred text message.
“We got over 10,000 responses from that survey,” said BISD Chief Technology Officer Steve Logan.
Logan and BISD started working on the plan for a mass-communication texting system in the summer of 2017.
“We teamed up with Blackboard, the company we use to send our communications and emails to come up with a plan,” Logan said.
The first mass text was sent out Nov. 6, asking parents to either opt-in or out of the service.
“We didn’t want to force parents into this if they didn’t want to,” said Logan.
So far, the response to the mass-communication text has been a positive one.
“We have several campuses that use the messaging feature regularly,” Logan said. “Additionally, it’s not a distracting phone call. Parents can see something immediately while they are sitting in a meeting at work. Emails can get lost in your in box. It’s very convenient for a parent.”
Parents can receive texts in the event of a security or safety concern, power outage, severe weather event, school closure, pictures or a free dress day.
However, these texts don’t act as an alert for something personal such as a student visiting the nurse’s office.
“That would warrant a phone call and this system is not a substitute for something like that,” Logan said.
BISD is committed to keeping up-to-date with new technology for not only students, but faculty and staff as well.
“We rolled out our Chromebook initiative earlier this year and we now have about 10,000 Chromebooks in student hands,” Logan said. “That was very exciting. We are trying to provide the tools of today for our students. We are also rolling out new laptops to our staff and this week we will roll out new laptops to teachers.”
All of this was possible after feedback from the community and BISD parents.
“We are always looking to improve,” Logan said. “I think it’s pretty cool how we get to go out into the community, ask them what they want to see and then we are able to deliver.”