St. Mary's Co. Public Schools News Briefs

School Messenger Texting

St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) will be expanding its use of School Messenger and activating a new communication feature that provides parents and staff with text message notifications.

Text message recipients must opt-in to receive text alerts. The text alert feature will be available beginning the week of December 3, 2018. Parents and staff will receive an opt-in text message from SMCPS through the new School Messenger notification tool. The message will come from the short code, or short set of numbers, 67587, to all parents and staff members who have provided SMCPS with a cell phone number.

To opt-in, users must text YES or Y to 67587. Text STOP to 67587 at any time to stop receiving text message alerts from SMCPS. Standard text message rates by cell phone carriers apply.

Through this system, parents and guardians who opt-in for text messages will be able to receive brief school announcements and system messages. Text messages will be sent on a limited basis, and examples of messages may include:

• Weather closings

• Emergency announcements

• Schedule changes

• Links to weekly messages

These text messages will be sent to cell phone numbers on file with the school. Parents who change cell phone numbers during the school year should update their contact information with their child's school. Once the number is updated with the school, parents should receive a new opt-in message from 67587.

The School Messenger notification system uses data from the SMCPS student information system. Therefore, the system cannot send messages to community members who do not have children in SMCPS.

For additional information, visit the SMCPS website at Contact the Office of Strategic Planning and Communications at 301-475-5511, ext. 32133, or your child's school with questions about School Messenger notifications.

St. Mary's County Public Schools and Offices Closed to the Public During Winter Break

All St. Mary's County Public Schools and Offices will be closed to the public from Monday, December 24, 2018, through Tuesday, January 1, 2019. All schools and offices will reopen on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

Forrest Center Hosting Annual Tech Expo Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Dr. James A. Forrest Career & Technology Center (Forrest Center) will host its nineteenth annual Forrest Center Tech Expo on Thursday, January 17, 2019, 5:30-8:00 p.m., at the school site located at 24005 Point Lookout Road, directly across from the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds in Leonardtown, Maryland.

The purpose of the Forrest Center Tech Expo is to familiarize students and parents with Career and Technology Education (CTE) career options offered by the St. Mary's County Public Schools. This is an opportunity to meet the staff at the Forrest Center and to learn about the 23 completer programs (including the MIFRI Fire and Rescue/EMS program at an off campus location) and the four elective classes currently offered. Middle school and high school counselors will be available to answer questions about career clusters and to assist students in planning their academic program. The Forrest Center will provide special presentations for parents to explain the registration process and how to incorporate Forrest Center programs into their student's schedule.

For more details, contact the Dr. James A. Forrest Career & Technology Center at 301-475-0242. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date for the Forrest Center Tech Expo will be Thursday, January 24, 2019, from 5:30-8:00 p.m.

The event may be recorded and presented on SMCPS Channel 96, the school system's educational cable channel, and the Internet.

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