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Alerts to Reminders: Mass Notifications Uses for Schools
Connor Gleason

Mass notification systems are an incredibly versatile tool for schools, and while their primary role has been to share urgent information quickly, the potential of these systems to keep school communities engaged and informed goes far beyond sending snow day announcements (remember those?)

Whether it’s a reminder about an upcoming school event, a notice about a schedule change, or a congratulatory message for a team’s achievement, mass notification systems ensure your entire school community stays in the loop.

It’s their versatility that’s made them an important part of every school’s mass communications toolkit, and with 71% of school districts, colleges, universities, K-12 schools, and others indicating they plan on deploying or upgrading their mass notifications solution — a 20-point increase since 2017 — their popularity is only growing.

By embracing the lesser-known and alternate uses of mass notifications, your school can alert, support, and celebrate its school to build a positive and inclusive environment — now THAT's a message worth sharing.

The Versatility of Mass Notifications for Schools

Mass notification systems keep everyone connected, enhance participation in school activities, and strengthen community among students, parents, and educators during critical events, not just when an emergency alert is needed.

Urgent Alerts

A recent report from the Pew Research Center detailed that nearly a quarter of teachers (23%) reported experiencing a lockdown in the 2022-23 school year. That's alarming, but when urgency strikes and every moment counts, parents need to know what's happening and what to do.

School Events and Reminders

Schools are constantly busy with big events like home games, theater performances, and parent-teacher meetings. Mass notifications can remind everyone about these events and attract more fans, sell more tickets, and see fewer no-shows.

Important Announcements

If the school schedule or pick-up location changes at the last minute, push notifications to an app, a text, or a voice message to a phone can reach everyone or specific groups simultaneously, making sure nobody misses the update.

mobile app notification mockup

Closures or Delays

One minute, it's sunny, and the next, there's a snowstorm — schools are even closing when the temperatures soar during a heat wave. Weather can be unpredictable, and mass notifications inform families about the closure, delay, dismissal, or the move to virtual learning. Even when we know the exact path and impact of a rare solar eclipse, schools are closing and need to get the word out to parents.

Keep Reading: 8 Weird (But True) Stories When Schools Needed a Mass Notification System

Building a Stronger School Community

Mass notifications create a more connected, informed, and engaged school community by sharing news about students' and teachers' successes and achievements. Celebrating these moments brings your communities closer, and keeping the lines of communication open makes everyone feel included.

Keeping Parents in the Loop

Parents want to know what's happening at their child's school but might not always have the time to check emails or the school website. A mobile app notification sent directly to a parent’s phone with an update about a school event, a change in the school schedule, or even a reminder to fill out a form is an easy way to make sure parents have all the information they need without making them search for it.

Keeping Students Informed

Students have a lot going on, too, and it's easy to miss announcements made during the day. These days, nearly every teenager has a phone by the age of 15, so schools can send reminders about graduation reminders, club meetings, or special spirit days.

notification on an apple watch

Streamlining School Operations

Mass notifications make running a school much smoother, which is always a plus for busy school leaders and administration.

Reduce Staff Onboarding

Countless hours are spent onboarding new staff on different systems and processes. Your school or district office can save time and resources by training employees on just one system to send all communications.

Managing School Events

Schools are busy places, and sometimes always, schedules change. Whether it’s a championship game, a school dance, or a fundraiser, planning school events takes a lot of work. Your school can send reminders about when events are happening, what students need to bring, and when there are any last-minute changes. 

Attendance Alerts

Since the pandemic, chronic absenteeism has been an issue among districts nationwide. School leaders reported their average daily student attendance rate was 90% in late 2023, and 15% of public schools were “extremely concerned” about student and teacher absences.

text alert mockup about attendence

With a mass notification system to alert families, schools can start addressing unexcused absences and begin to see clear patterns in how students attend classes. Users can choose when to send alerts, like immediately after attendance is recorded for each class or at a specific time each morning.

Policy Updates and Agreements

Student handbooks, safety procedures, technology agreements — even your school’s AI policies are constantly in flux. The next time you need a parent to acknowledge and understand they’ve received the latest important information, send a notification to catch their attention and keep them informed of your school or district’s policies.

Keep Reading: How to Choose a Mass Notification System for Your School

AI Writing Assistant

For busy communications offices, admins can take advantage of the generative AI of Finalsite Intelligence to help write messages for each communication channel. No more searching for the right words—simply write one prompt, and Finalsite's AI writing assistant will customize messages for each of your communication channels.

mockup of Ai writing assistant

Pairing Your School’s Mass Notifications with More Communication Tools

When your school or district integrates its mass notification systems with its student information system (SIS) and other communication tools, it leverages the power of a fully integrated system to streamline processes, ensure data accuracy, and help ensure that everyone gets the message in the way (and language) that works best for them.

Messages XR’s ability to send messages via email, text, voice, mobile app notification, website alert, and social media posts—all from one place—makes your job easier and your families more connected.

Here's how Messages XR fits into the larger picture:


Email is a great way to share longer information, such as newsletters, updates about what’s happening at school, or explanations of new school policies. Compose your email with the help of Finalsite Intelligence, then create your versions for texts, voice, and mobile app notifications with just a few clicks.

screenshot of Messages XR

Mobile App Notifications

Many schools now have mobile apps, and Messages XR can send notifications directly to a user’s phone based on their notifications settings. Whether it’s a reminder about the latest newsletter, changes in the school schedule, or updates on school events, notifications can quickly catch users' attention while on the go.

Automated Workflows

An email workflow creates custom journeys for each constituent based on behavior, a predetermined schedule, or engagement rate. Create a message to trigger a workflow to create automated and personalized email campaigns that nurture prospective and current families.

Website Notifications

Whether you want to boost event attendance, aid fundraising efforts, or alert website visitors of an important announcement, Messages XR makes it easy to alert and engage your school’s website visitors. Send a pop-up to any (or all) pages across your school or district’s site and get your messages front and center.

Keep Reading: Mass Notification Systems & COPE Strategies for Schools

Key Takeaway

A mass notification system goes far beyond simple snow day announcements. Whether they’re sent through an email, text, call, social media post, mobile app, or website notification, your school's messages can keep everyone updated and involved, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.

Messages XR Tour

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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