The Wm. S. Hart Union High School District is updating its communications system through a Twitter account and an electronic message system which allows parents and community members to choose the kind of information they want to receive from the district through e-mail messages.
The district Twitter page already contains "tweets" letting subscribers know where to find information about the latest Governing Board meeting, the award-winning physical education program at Sierra Vista Junior High, and a cost-saving collaboration between Placerita Junior High and Golden Oak Adult School. Another message directs followers to the district's Web site where information and maps are posted about attendance boundary adjustments currently being considered for the 2010 school year.
Internet users who go to http://www.hartdistrict.org/enotify/  can sign up to receive information in five categories. The "General" category includes information on the CADRE drug/alcohol program, budget, boundaries and job opportunities in the Hart District. The "Instruction" category includes the community calendar, new classes, awards and honors.
Subscribers to the "Modernization Construction Projects" category will receive breaking information on the current modernization projects underway at Hart High and Placerita and Sierra Vista junior high schools. Subscribers to "New Construction Projects" will receive updates on such projects as the Castaic area high school, performing arts centers at Saugus and Canyon high school, theater build-outs at golden Valley and West Ranch high schools, and expenditures of funds from voter-approved measures V and SA.
"Publications" subscribers receive news releases and community telephone messages, "What's Good in Education" news briefs, Board Roundup following each Governing Board meeting, and the district's "News & Views" publication. Subscribers will receive messages only when there is breaking news in the categories for which they have enrolled.
Twitter messages are restricted to 140 characters and will most often direct followers to the district Web site or other sources of more complete information. In an emergency, the addition of Twitter will allow the district to send instant messages to follower cell phones as well as computers. The district will also use its telephone instant messaging system, its iContact list of subscribers, its own Web site and the local media to spread the word on emergencies that affect individual school sites or the entire district.
Local residents can sign up to follow the district's Twitter messages at http://www.twitter.com/hartdistrict  by clicking on the "join today" box.
As part of its updated communications program, the district's Technology Department is also working on a redesigned Web site which will make it easier for searchers to find the information they need. The new site is expected to launch at the end of this month.