Welcome to the AlertNow Information Page for the Gateway School District --
Gateway's rapid communication system for parents and students to keep you informed.
Click HERE to download and print AlertNow Sign Up form
Sign Up form should be downloaded, printed, filled out, and returned to Cara Zanella, c/o Gateway School District, 9000 Gateway Campus Boulevard, Monroeville, PA 15146 before the beginning of each school year.
AlertNow Notification System
AlertNow Information Page
The Gateway School District is implementing a new parent notification system – AlertNow – that will allow the school district to send important information quickly via phone and/or an e-mail account, to parents and guardians of students, about emergency situations and school delays or cancellations due to inclement weather. At the school level, it will allow staff to remind parents about various events and circumstances such as report card distribution, open house, delayed buses, class field trips, and more.
Contact Information for the AlertNow System is obtained from our student information system
If your contact information changes, please contact the Gateway School District to update your child’s contact information.
How will AlertNow be used?
AlertNow will allow the school district to send important information quickly – not only to parents but to staff as well – via phone and/or e-mail about emergency situations and school delays or cancellations due to inclement weather. In addition to notifying parents about school closings or delays, AlertNow will allow every school to contact parents about important school information and events, testing schedules, report card distribution, open houses, delayed buses, field trips, and more.
As a parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the Gateway School District, will I need to register or sign-up to receive messages from AlertNow?
If you are a parent or guardian of a student enrolled in Gateway School District, you are not required to register for the AlertNow parent notification system. ALL parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school system are automatically enrolled in this wonderful communication system.
How will parents/guardians be notified by Alert Now?
As the parent/guardian of a student, it is important for you to understand how messages will be delivered to you.
For non-emergency messages, you will receive a telephone call most likely to your home phone.
Should a school emergency occur, in addition to being called at home, you will also be notified through the various phone numbers you have included on your child's registration form.
In addition to being notified by phone during a school emergency, you will also receive messages via e-mail.
This new notification system has the capability of calling five of your phone numbers (home, alternate or cell, and work) and sending messages up to five different e-mail accounts for parents/guardians identified as residing with the student or identified as receiving copies of student reports.
Multiple phone numbers and e-mail addresses will only be used to notify you during a school emergency, closing, or cancellation.
How will AlertNow messages be delivered to staff?
AlertNow will be used to communicate with staff in a timely manner during an emergency, school closing, or cancellation due to inclement weather. However, since AlertNow will also be used for non-emergency situations, it could be used to communicate with staff on an as-needed basis. For all staff members, AlertNow messages will be delivered as follows:
Non-emergency messages - you will receive a telephone call most likely to your home phone. In most cases, such a message would be school-generated. If you have Caller ID, your assigned school’s main phone number will appear in the display.
Emergency, cancellation, or delay messages - you will receive multiple messages that will be sent to your home phone, cell phone, and personal e-mail (if provided). In these cases, such a message would be generated by the school district. If you have Caller ID, the number 413-372-5300 will appear in the display.
How will I know that I have received a message from AlertNow?
Here is what you need to know about receiving a phone call via AlertNow:
If you have Caller ID, for a non-emergency message, the school’s main number will appear in the display.
If you have Caller ID, for an emergency message, 413-372-5300 will appear in the display.
If you have Caller ID, for school closings, cancellations, or delays due to inclement weather 413-372-5300 will appear in the display.
AlertNow will leave a message on any answering machine or voicemail.
If the AlertNow message stops playing, press any key 1-9 and the message will replay from the beginning.
If an e-mail is sent the subject line will read the Gateway School District
As a parent of a student, what should I do if I do not receive a phone call on the AlertNow "test" date?
Since the 2009-2010 school year is the first year the school district is using this communication tool, we ask for your patience and understanding. One of the reasons you may not receive a phone call is that this particular information may be outdated. If you do not receive a call via your home phone, on your school's "test" date, parents are asked to call 412-372-5300 or email; AlertNow@gsd.us and give us your name and home phone number.
As a staff member, how do I update my AlertNow emergency and non-emergency notification information?
Updating your AlertNow information can be accomplished by emailing; AlertNow@gsd.us Please include name, home phone, cell phone, school, and employment position with District (if applicable).
An AlertNow message was delivered to my phone, I said "hello" and no message played. Why?
The AlertNow system plays the message as soon as the phone is picked up or answered. However, errors can occur if the person repeatedly says "hello" or answers in a noisy environment (i.e. traffic, children playing, loud music or television, dogs barking, etc.). Generally, if a person offers an extended greeting such that it overlaps the AlertNow message, the system pauses, waits for silence, and replays the message from the beginning.
With background noise, it is possible that the system is unable to detect the end of the "greeting" and thus the message did not initiate. In a noisy environment, call recipients can press any number (1-9) and the message will play from the beginning without interruption.
How does the AlertNow system distinguish a live person from an answering machine?
In short, AlertNow utilizes the industry's most Advanced Answering Machine Detection (AAMD) software. The system starts the broadcast immediately upon telephone pickup; simultaneously, it is listening for interruptions. If the system is not interrupted by noise or someone speaking within the first 3.5 seconds, the message is delivered in its entirety. If the system detects a greeting longer than a few seconds, the system treats this as an outgoing message from an answering machine and will wait for a pause (usually after the beep) before delivering the message to be recorded.
What if the line is busy or there is no answer?
The AlertNow system will make up to four attempts (depending on account settings) to reach each number, with three minutes in between each call. If the message is not delivered by the fourth attempt, it is considered a failed number. Failures happen when a phone number is busy, disconnected, invalid, etc. If you are aware of a message that was delivered, but you did not receive a call, please contact AlertNow@gsd.us.
Why is my answering machine recording only half of the AlertNow message?
If your answering machine greeting is sporadic with varied periods of silence, the system will read this as a live person and begin playing the message, even though the machine has yet to start recording. This will result in a recording of silence (if the AlertNow message finishes playing before the machine begins recording) or if just the last portion of the AlertNow message runs over, this will also result in message cutoff. The recommended solution is to have parents set their machines to record for a longer period.
For voice mailboxes where it is necessary to enter a mailbox number, AlertNow is unable to leave a message.
My Caller ID showed that the school had called but there was no voicemail/message? Why?
If there is a break or a substantial silence in the outgoing message, the system determines it has reached a live person and begins the message prior to the voicemail recording is engaged. Please make sure that the greeting is seamless to facilitate successful message delivery.
Are there other reasons why I did not receive a message on my answering machine?
AlertNow will leave a message on the contact's voicemail or answering machine. However, the system is set to ring each line six times. If your answering machine is set to pick up on seven or more rings, the message may not be delivered to your machine. Therefore, we encourage you to set your machine to six rings or fewer.
Why doesn't the school's phone number appear on the Caller ID of my phone?
AlertNow passes the caller ID information to the local telephone carriers, but it is up to those carriers to pass it along to their customers. Furthermore, different local telephone companies process Caller ID information differently. Some provide the name associated with the number, while others do not. For example, a telephone company may require an individual to subscribe to "Advanced Caller ID" in order to receive the school name along with the phone number. Unfortunately, we have no control over this feature.
Will the AlertNow system call phone numbers with extensions?
The AlertNow system only works with direct-dial phone numbers. The system is unable to navigate menus or extensions.
I have a telemarketer screening device. How will that affect the call?
If a contact has a device on their telephone line designed to prevent automated phone systems from connecting (e.g. TeleZapper, privacy Manager, Privacy Director, etc.), they may not receive the call. For example, with Privacy Director all unidentifiable incoming calls are rerouted and the callers must identify themselves for the call to go through. Because our system is automated, it will not identify itself; thus the call will not get through to the recipient. For screening systems that are dependent on Caller ID's, recipients can authorize access for their school's phone number through their device. Note that calls identified with the school's number on the Caller ID generally have no trouble getting through Privacy Manager type systems.
Have a question, suggestion, or comment about AlertNow?
It is important for us to hear from parents and staff about how we can improve the delivery of this notification system. As a parent or staff member, It is important that you contact us when things go as planned and when we need to make adjustments. Should you have a question, suggestion, or comment about AlertNow, please e-mail us at AlertNow@gsd.us.