HCPSS News FAQs
What is HCPSS News?
HCPSS News is a simple and efficient way for you to keep up with school events, education news, weather-related closings and emergency information. As a subscriber, you will receive messages from your child’s school and the Howard County Public School System via e-mail and SMS (text).
Using HCPSS News, the system and schools can easily send email and text messages to thousands of accounts in a matter of minutes—a valuable resource in case of emergency.
HCPSS News is powered by SchoolMessenger, a notification service provider.
What is SchoolMessenger?
SchoolMessenger is the notification service provider that powers HCPSS News.
What kind of messages will be sent?
Schools send regular updates on school events and happenings, as well as alerts regarding bus delays, field trip notices and more. The system sends a weekly email notifying parents of systemwide activities and achievements, upcoming events and other important information.
How do I sign up for HCPSS News?
Parents/Guardians do not need to sign up for HCPSS News. Contact information is uploaded from our student information system, Synergy, each morning.
All other audiences can fill out the appropriate form.
What contact information was uploaded into HCPSS News?
Parents/Guardians – Contact information is uploaded from our student information system, Synergy each morning. We upload the following contact information: Parent’s/Guardian’s home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, and email accounts.
Non-HCPSS Parents/Guardians and Employees – Contact information is uploaded each morning and includes any contact information that has been submitted using the online form.
What happens when my child leaves their school or graduates?
As contact information updates in Synergy, so does a parent’s SchoolMessenger subscription. Parents of graduating seniors are automatically unsubscribed from their child’s school once the Synergy data is refreshed in late-july.
If a parent has a child who moves schools during the school year, then they will be automatically subscribed to the student’s new school as soon as the change is made in Synergy. For rising 5th and 8th graders this change occurs once the Synergy data is refreshed in late-July.
How do I update my contact information?
Parents/Guardians – If your home phone number, cell phone number, or email address has changed from when you filled out the Emergency Card at the beginning of the school year, please notify your child’s schools in order that all records are accurately maintained. Once the information has been updated in Synergy, it will take one school day to be updated in SchoolMessenger, the HCPSS News service provider.
Non-HCPSS Parents/Guardians and Employees – Login to the online form and update your contact information. Once the information has been updated in the online form, it will take one school day to be updated in SchoolMessenger, the HCPSS News service provider.
I am receiving calls or email messages from the system and I don’t have a child attending any of your schools. How do I get my number/email address off your list?
If you are receiving calls mistakenly, please send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include the phone number or email address to which you are getting the mistaken notifications. We will make the correction.
I accidentally clicked the “Unsubscribe” link in an email message I received from the system; how do I start receiving messages again?
If you have mistakenly unsubscribed from messages, please email email@example.com and request to have your email address unblocked from HCPSS News.
How can I opt-in to receiving text messages?
Text the word “YES” to 67587 from the wireless device you wish to receive texts on.
I received a text message that says it’s from SchoolMessenger? What does it mean?
An opt in invitation message was sent by HCPSS using SchoolMessenger from 67587 and said:
Howard County Public Schools alerts. Reply Y for aprx 5 msgs/mo. Txt HELP 4 info. Msg&data rates may apply. See schoolmessenger.com/tm
To continue receiving text messages, reply with Y. If you don’t reply, you will not receive any future texts alerts from SchoolMessenger, the HCPSS News service provider. Text alerts include weather-related closings and emergency information.
How do I know if it worked?
After you text the key word, YES, to the short code (67587), the system will respond back:
Opt-in Response: You are now registered to receive aprox 5 msgs/mo. Txt STOP to quit, HELP for help. Msg&data rates may apply. schoolmessenger.com/tm
Help or Unknown Key Word Response: Text alerts by SchoolMessenger. Reply Y for aprox 5 msgs/mo. Text STOP to quit. Msg&data rates may apply. schoolmessenger.com/tm
What if I didn’t get that response?
Contact your school to see if HCPSS News has the correct number on file. If not, your child’s school will be able to change it. Once it’s changed, you can text YES to 67587 the next business day.
Another measure is to contact your carrier’s retail store to check and see whether or not SMS Shortcode messages are blocked from your account. If they need to unblock SMS shortcodes, try texting YES to 67587 after a few hours.
If SMS shortcode messages are not blocked from your account, please email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- your name
- cellphone number
- your child’s name
- your child’s school.
How can I opt-out to receiving text messages?
Text the key word STOP to the short code (67587), the system will respond back:
Opt-out Response: You are now unsubscribed. Reply Y for aprox 5 msgs/mo. Text STOP to quit. Msg&data rates may apply. schoolmessenger.com/tm
Will I be charged for the text messages that I receive from SchoolMessenger?
SchoolMessenger does not charge recipients for the text messages that they receive; however, wireless providers may charge for individual text messages depending on the plan associated with the wireless device.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
Please email email@example.com or call the HCPSS Public Information Office at 410-313-6682.