Connecting with Text Messages


I’m a big texter. I think its fair to say that most people rely on it stay connected with friends and co-workers. As a communication medium, it quick and a great go-to tool.

My objective in communicating with my stakeholders is to provide, accurate and timely information while using multiple mediums to make sure I am reaching all [or as many] of my stakeholders as possible.

We dedicate substantial effort to make sure we are communicating quality information through our callouts and the school’s website. These tools are staples for our community. Discussing these tools with some parents recently brought up the topic of connecting with text messages. There were 4 sets of parents in our group discussion. All said they receive our regular call outs. After some friendly prompting, some even admitting to not always picking up the call when it first comes in or not listening all the way through once we go through our initial menu at the beginning of call. Only one parent attested to visiting our website regularly [when she is at work and can spare a minute]. But all the parents expressed appreciation for our work.

Given an opportunity, I will always ask about social media [Facebook is blocked for us but our school does have a Twitter account]. None of the parents were following us on Twitter but one of our parents did say she was getting text message updates. When she said this, all the parents enthusiastically asked how they could subscribe as well. I was very happy to hear this and immediately shared how our school connects:

  1. Twitter/Text Messages – This is how the parent was connected to our school. We shared how parents could get text message updates from our school by texting to the number ‘40404’ the message ‘Follow SLMSBroncos’. Those familiar with this know that this enables followers and non-followers of our school’s Twitter account to receive our Tweets as text messages. Given that we have very few followers for our Twitter account, we have a number of parents who get our Tweets as text messages. While we communicate our intent is only professional and informative, some parents are still hesitant to create Twitter accounts. While I have a personal/professional goal to show the value of Twitter, I have an obligation as a principal to make sure our stakeholders are getting the good information. I also use Hootsuite to schedule upcoming Tweets
  2. ParentLink – This is a new communication tool to our district but a popular tool in the education landscape. Of its many features is  a texting tool that we can send out school wide. We have used this texting feature many times, not just for stakeholders but staff and faculty as well. The app for this really facilitates its use as well.

We have to use a team approach to manage our tool and coordinating text messages involves good, consistent communication amongst the team. My secondary goal [and hope] is that our parents will begin to dive into social media and we will begin to see our Twitter followership grow but until that happens we will happily utilize both as a means to spread the good things happening at Spring Lake with text messages.

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