SR uses Nixle to inform of changes

Wanda English Burnett

A program recently offered to South Ripley students and parents was put to the test on Tuesday when officials closed school early due to the weather.

Nixle - a web based service used to pass time sensitive information - has been implemented at South Ripley schools, according to Dan Goris, transportation director for the corporation.

Nixle was put into place and letters were sent home to parents last week. They now have the option of adding this service to services already in place, such as radio and television, to get information about school closings, delays and emergency related issues.

Nixle allows text messages and emails to be sent to anyone choosing to embrace the new program at South Ripley. Of course, any fees associated with texting apply. In other words, if you don’t have free text on your phone, you would be charged.

Goris stressed that radio and television will still be used to publicize delays, closings, etc. This information (Nixle) is very helpful if a bus is delayed due to a traffic accident leaving parents wondering where their children are. It is also very useful to working parents who must provide a safe place for their children to go when school is closed early as it was on Tuesday. If the parent cannot get to a television or have access to radio, the message could come directly to their cell phone.

Goris noted that Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills initiated the program with Batesville’s transportation director Ed Krause following suit soon after.

Sheriff Grills learned about the program in the spring of 2009 at the National Sheriff’s Institute. He looked into Nixle and after doing some testing with the system had the sheriff’s office up and running with it by September of that same year.

“I have had a great response from the community on the program,” Sheriff Grills told The Versailles Republican. He continued, “Road closures, weather alerts, or attempt to locates that are sent out gives the community ‘real time’

information on any emergency.” This is helpful for both residents and law enforcement.
The sheriff described it as a affordable mass communication tool.

Goris, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement knows the importance of communication on many different levels In his new position as transportation director, he thought Nixle would prove to be a valuable tool to assist in communicating with parents and students.
After gleaning information and talking with the sheriff and Batesville transportation director, Goris talked about the possibility of the program with Dr. John Mehrle, superintendent of South Ripley schools. With all parties on board the program was launched.

You can log on to From the Nixle home page you can navigate the site by entering your city’s name or proceed directly to resident registration. After completing and submitting the registration page you will be able to customize your account by choosing the locations and settings of your notifications.

The settings tab is one of the most important, as it allows users to determine the agencies and organizations from which they will receive notifications. It also permits users to choose the levels of the messages received (alert, advisory, community, traffic). If South Ripley is not listed at the bottom of the page there is a search setting. Type in South Ripley Community School Corp and it will show up. Note that the COMMUNITY options must be selected in order to receive text and email notifications from South Ripley.

Goris said Tuesday was a good test for those who have signed on for the program. Also, Tuesday evening, he sent out a message about a two-hour delay for Wednesday. If you have signed on and didn’t get the messages, you might want to check your settings or check with the school.