School district's response to Katrina rewarded
Innovative communication system helps district win $10,000
Superintendent Lafon and Dir. of Public Information Rochelle Cancienne (right) accept the Grace Under Fire Award
Of all challenges, Hurricane Katrina's effect on area communications proved to be the largest. According to AASA, "Lafon and Cancienne used innovative technology, served on the area-wide emergency operations center, augmented communication through a close relationship with local radio and TV stations and actively cooperated with a variety of local agencies before, during and after Katrina to communicate with staff, parents and other key community stakeholders."
Vital to that communication was Connect-Ed, a web-based phone system that allows the St. Charles Parish School District to contact all parties connected to the district, enabling LaFon and Cancienne to send regular phone messages in midst of a crisis. Connect-Ed stores up to six phone numbers of staff and students, then system spreads out like a web ensuring a connection.
In 2004, when Cancienne began the search for a communication system, she said that finding one that would handle the daily challenges, such as informing a parent of an absentee student, to a crisis like a hurricane evacuation were all part of what she wanted. Connect-Ed provides that flexibility.
During Katrina, Cancienne said getting the message out was essential. "The key was having one voice, which is what (the school board) prides itself on," she said, adding that this helps cut down on confusion. Cancienne said that the projection of a unified message also eases anxiety from those displaced.
"The great part about this system is once the calls go out I get a report, Cancienne said, allowing her to know exactly how many people have been reached.
Of the message that went Saturday night from Superintendent Lafon, 86 percent of staff and students heard the message, and Cancienne was informed how many were live connections how many were answering machines.
Costing about $38,000 per year, Cancienne said that the system is worth every cent.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
Destrehan Plantation has received a major donation that will go toward construction...
Redfish have invaded Lake Salvador, making it easy for anglers to catch their...
As qualifying for parish and state elections takes place this week, a few longtime...
At this time last year, toddler Noah Townsend was near death....
After a heated battle that lasted through the spring and summer, Destrehan head...
The FBI has seized more records from the St. Charles Parish courthouse that appear...
Mizu Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar offers a wide variety of Japanese and Chinese dishes along with sushi, sashimi and hibachi. Lunch or Dinner, Dine in or Take Out.
Des Allemands man struggles to regain memory after ATV crash - 3029 views
After a particularly cold winter, Richard “Bud” Crochet was excited to get back outside and enjoy spring. Little did he know that a fun day riding four-wheelers on April 9 would have tragic consequences.