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      Principal uses text to communicate with parents and students

      For the last two years, Escanaba High School has used an entry-level text messaging website to send out messages to students whenever there was a snow day.

      Many parents learned of school cancellations through traditional media, like TV, radio, and the newspaper.

      The school is now using an improved texting system that's efficient and free for students and parents.

      Principal Doug Leisenring can send out a mass text message on the computer or a cell phone. The program costs the district about $40 a month. Directly mailing parents costs $500 every time Leisingring does a mailing.

      The new method gets out messages of school closings, delays, and events much cheaper and quicker.

      â??I sent one to the kids reminding them, Wednesday is the first day of exams,â?? said Leisenring. â??I sent one to parents. So the first couple of texts just went out as reminders of exam week information."

      Michele Geyer is a teacher and also a parent.

      â??It's especially convenient because you don't have to rely upon guesswork,â?? explains Geyer. â??You donâ??t have to rely upon rumor. A lot of times my daughter will come up and she'll say, â??I just got a text from so and so saying that we don't have school today.â?? I don't know that for certain. But now I do because I get the text message directly from Mr. Leisenring."

      The service can also be used to communicate during an emergency situation, like a lockdown, where there might be a stranger on campus.

      â??A lot of kids want to get to their phone and let their parents know what's happening. Itâ??d be kind of nice if, at the time we go into a lockdown, we could let the parents know why we're doing it," Leisenring said.

      One-hundred-ffity parents and 400 students are currently signed up for the mass text message service.