Success Story: Clear School-Parent Communication During Gunfire/Lockdown Near Mare Island Technology Academy


MIT Academy is a 6-12 charter school in Vallejo, California that specializes in technology, innovative instruction, and project-based curriculum. MIT is the highest performing secondary school in Vallejo. For the third consecutive year, MIT Academy has been named by U.S. News and World Report as "One of America's Best High Schools." This prestigious award, which is awarded to the top 10% of American high schools, is based on academic achievement, graduation rate, and college-going percentage. 

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017 MIT Academy was on lockdown due to a gunfire near the school. Nobody from MIT was hurt or affected. Here's the story from Director, Matt Smith on how he communicated the situation to parents:

MIT Academy Director, Matt Smith

MIT Academy Director, Matt Smith

"We just had a lockdown yesterday (gunfire near the school, luckily nobody from MIT hurt or affected) and I used a series of ParentSquare missives to communicate rapidly with staff, parents, and students giving them regular updates and directions. At the end of the day, I approached several parents and they all indicated they had received my messages and how helpful they were. We also avoided a deluge of parents descending on the school to pick up their kids, which would have been a disaster! Nowadays, kids text their parents almost immediately during an emergency and it's critical to get the school's message out to the parent community almost instantly. In that regard, ParentSquare is a fantastic technology and a real game-changer for communication during an emergency." 

"Also, we also used ParentSquare extensively during the Napa fires because MIT Academy (in Vallejo, just a few miles from the fires) was enveloped in a thick blanket of hazardous smoke and we had to first go into a shelter-in-place, and then subsequently cancel school for two days. During all this time my primary communication device with parents was ParentSquare, supplemented by social media and local media. But the latter two were hardly necessary as ParentSquare did all the heavy lifting and we were able to communicate with parents and students quickly and efficiently. In fact, we were praised for our good communication, so ParentSquare not only did a terrific job, it made me look good, which is no easy task! We are very glad we brought ParentSquare on board, it's been an amazing technology for everyone -- our administration, our teachers, our staff, and most importantly our parents."