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Schoolreport glitch continues

More tests scheduled for new system. District to use listserv as backup

A technical problem with the Mercer Island School District’s emergency notification Web site, Schoolreport.org, has prevented the district from receiving automated e-mail from the site.

The problem, which was discovered earlier this year, is currently being looked into by Schoolreport.org Web technicians. A test e-mail conducted on April 4 failed. Follow-up testing is scheduled for next week.

“Schoolreport.org has not yet been able to isolate what could be happening on their system to prevent Mercer Island messages from going out,” a notice on the district’s Web site reads.

Mercer Island is the only district unable to receive automatic e-mails through Schoolreport.org. All other subscribing districts, which include 100 public schools, colleges and private schools in the Puget Sound region, have not reported any trouble with the emergency notification system. It is the first technical problem that MISD has encountered since joining the network in 2004.

The Web site’s technicians are currently trying to recreate the e-mail glitch with another school district, Wright said. So far, such attempts have been unsuccessful.

“There are a lot of variables involved. We’re trying to see whether the problem is on the receiving or sending end,” said Schoolreport.org team member Kerry MacDonald. “We’re very committed to getting this resolved as soon as possible.”

As a Puget Sound service, Schoolreport.org immediately posts schedule changes due to adverse weather conditions and other emergency situations for its registered school districts, colleges and private schools. Through its computer network, member schools relay timely and accurate emergency-related information through local radio and television broadcasts and the Internet.

As part of the system, an automated e-mail is sent out to all districts when news is updated. It is this feature that MISD has had trouble with this year.

The district has remedied the problem by sending out its own emergency notification via listserv, a mass e-mail system that has replaced the PTA-organized “phone tree.”

The listserv system was successfully used during the Feb. 26 bomb threat hoax at Mercer Island High School, Wright said.

“As soon as we knew what was going on, we used the listserv to get the information out,” she said, adding that MIHS students also used their cellphones to notify others of the news.

If a weather-related emergency were to occur before Schoolreport.org fixes its technical problems, the district would again use its own emergency listserv, Wright said.

Meanwhile, updates on Schoolreport.org technical developments have been — and will continue to be — posted regularly on the district’s Web site. Islanders can also access emergency information on their own by visiting www.schoolreport.org. The Web site offers individual notification accounts for those interested.

Parents should not grow anxious over the current technical glitch, Wright urged, as the district takes all measures to distribute emergency information — whether through e-mail or other means of communication — as efficiently and quickly as possible.

For technical updates go to: www.misd.k12.wa.us.

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