Raising Expectations

In the continued expansion of my duties at work, I have been assigned/volunteered to be the back for the the webmaster when it comes to emergency notification. This really gets me in deep with the what is happening. Essentially, if the webmaster is out of contact, I get the call to push out changes to the webpage/text messages. A lot of responsibility for lowly ole me.

The interesting thing about this is I get to be involved in the discussions surrounding the implementation of these emergency contact systems

In this vein, I have to discuss the false raising of expectations.

While trying to get our text message system up and running, the concept of a parents list has been heavy on everyone’s mind, specifically in the aftermath of Virginia Tech. Our definition of the parents list is exactly the same as a concerned member of the populace, no verification of child enrollment, no distinction in mesages sent.

I have a real problem with this approach, it raises the expectations of parents, leading them to believe that they will get special messages. This is false based on the protocols that have been established for text messages. With out divulging any secret information, parents will always have a different definition of a emergency that warrants a text message than the emergencies that have been defined. By creating a parents list, we are feeding that impression, which will create a problem the first time there is a “major” crisis.

By raising expectations, without increasing communications, we are making our chances of failure greater