BCSC changing mass-notification system by fall

Customized messages targeted to certain groups of individuals are among the benefits a new mass-notification system that will be implemented in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., officials say.

The district plans to transition to a new notification system for the upcoming school year through its website-management provider, Blackboard, that will help improve the process of enrolling and managing subscribers, said Mike Jamerson, director of technology for BCSC.

Currently, the district uses a software system known as SchoolMessenger, which sends out text or email notifications to subscribers about school closings, delays and other matters. School board members on Monday approved a three-year agreement for the Blackboard mass-notification software.

The software will cost $14,750 per year, in addition to a one-time fee of $2,200 for implementation and training. The transition will take place in the summer to ensure it is ready by the fall, Jamerson said.

The school district’s current notification system has more than 10,000 subscribers, although not all of them are operational, Jamerson said.

The new mass-notification software is expected to improve BCSC’s ability to send out messages, which will be distributed via Blackboard’s service. The new system will integrate with Blackboard’s website-management system and provide better functionality, Jamerson said.

“It will give us the ability to fine-tune some of the messages to groups of people, such as high school parents, so that we can send a message specifically to them,” Jamerson said.

Notifications also will be available through the new system by text and e-mail.

Jamerson said information will be made available about how to subscribe when students register and during open houses in the fall. It will also be posted on the district’s website.

Current users will be required to resubscribe once the new system is in place to ensure BCSC has the cellphone numbers of subscribers, who will then receive a new password, Jamerson said.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com