By: EZ Texting
Leading schools have already recognized that technology has not only drastically changed classroom learning, but also how parents, teachers, and staff communicate. They’ve changed their methods to accommodate the shift. Have you?
If you haven’t started using text messaging as a communications channel, then you’re falling behind. Text messages are one of the best ways to make sure your messages are received because they are opened and read almost 5 times more than email (98% to 20%).
A lot of school administrators learn how to streamline these communications through trial and error, but you don’t have to learn your lessons the hard way. We’re here to give you some communications shortcuts that are perfectly positioned for the education industry. We’ll show you how schools are leveraging text messaging in 2019 and how you can get started as well.
Text Messaging for Schools Is Changing the Landscape in 2019
We’ve worked with hundreds of schools over the years and learned some situations where text messages have helped them communicate with staff, parents, and students. We narrowed that list down to seven common communication ideas that we think every school can use with text messaging.
Text messages can help you keep your staff up-to-date with the latest information. You can let them know about upcoming school events, staff meetings, holidays, and other essential information.
Severe Weather Alerts
Schools across the United States are impacted by a wide variety of severe weather. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice, rain, and more are always threatening communities.
When your school is affected, you can send out a quick text message to everyone letting them know how severe weather is impacting your school. You are able to let everyone know about delays, early-dismissals, and even when you issue lock-downs for extreme conditions like tornados.
If your school relies on fundraising to help you pay for school enrichment programs, equipment, field trips, and other essentials, then text messages can be a tremendous help. You can share links to your latest fundraising campaign so people can donate, signup, and keep up with deadlines. You can even integrate your text message marketing with Facebook, Twitter, and your website for increased parent engagement.
In an ideal world, parents should never have to worry about a student skipping class, but when it does happen, it’s important to keep the parents informed so they can intervene.
With text messages, you can send parents regular updates on their student’s attendance so they can help ensure that their student is at school when they are supposed to be. You can also send out just-in-time alerts as soon as you’ve taken attendance and marked them absent, so the parent knows right away.
Researchers Ben York and Professor Susanna Loeb of Stanford University found that text messaging increased parent involvement at home.
They found that parents enjoyed receiving education tips via text message. Parents were doing more activities with their children at home. Teachers reported an increase in parental involvement in school activities as well. Children whose parents received these text messages also began scoring higher on related assessments.
After Hours Support
Your staff and faculty can’t be available around the clock, but a lot of things happen outside the normal school day. Children get sick, students travel for field trips and sports, your school hosts after-hours events, parents have questions about their student’s accounts and grades — and the list goes on.
Text messaging can be available to parents, even if your staff is off-the-clock. Parents and students can send texts, then you can choose to have someone available to answer them, or you can send an automated response and follow up the next school day.
Text messages make it easy to send meeting reminders to all interested participants. This includes sending reminders to:
- Parents about upcoming parent/teacher meetings.
- Students about upcoming student meetings like club activities or school dances.
- Staff about staff meetings or other relevant faculty events.
Most students today carry cell phones with them to school and know how to send text messages. SMS can be a great way to communicate with students when bullying is happening. When children are empowered to speak out, they feel safer in their environment.
- Students can send a message to school administrators if they are in the process of being bullied or witness bullying so faculty can respond quickly before trouble escalates.
- Students can also report bullying anonymously after hours, or seek guidance and support if they are a victim.
Sports Team Communications
If you’re like most schools, you likely have a sports program. Your faculty coaches can easily use text message marketing to communicate quickly with students and parents.
They can do things such as:
- Sending out a message letting everyone know that a game or practice has been rescheduled.
- Asking for volunteers for people to do things like running the concession stand at a football game, or serving as a chaperone on a trip.
- Reminding parents and students about outstanding fees for uniforms or other requirements.
A Text Messaging for Schools Playbook
Many of the messages on this list are pretty self-explanatory and easy to get started sending. You already know that you need to communicate quickly and easily with your faculty, students, and parents. If you want to make those communications easier and ensure that more of your messages are received, text messaging is a clear choice.
- 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.
- The average response time for a legitimate email is about 90 minutes, compared to 90 seconds for a text message.
You won’t find numbers like those in other communications channels.
EZ Texting has been leading the text message marketing service industry for over a decade. We’ve worked with a lot of schools like yours, and we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.
We’ve compiled some of our best tips into a powerful Text Message Marketing Playbook for Schools, Colleges and Universities. Download your copy today and get started streamlining your communications using SMS technology.
Photo: Getty Images/PeopleImages