Alpha School uses texting to connect preschool parents and staff directly. Through the power of two way communication, the Alpha team ensures everyone is informed within minutes.
There’s no such thing as a typical day at work for Ray Jaramillo, the Director at Alpha School For Young Children in Las Cruces New Mexico. He handles everything that comes up across his three pre-K buildings. Picture early childhood parenting times 35!
Of course, with children comes parents. More specifically, around 200 parents and 35 staff. So how does he share information all while fostering a sense of community within the program? For the last few years, Ray has turned to texting.
Alpha School thrives on schedules and organization, and their text marketing strategy is no different. Each classroom at the school is assigned a keyword, and parents with students in that room text in the keyword at the start of the year to ensure they’re kept in the loop.
Internal communications with teachers works similarly with the keyword “sunflowers” reserved for Ray to reach all of his staff in an instant.
“Texting has been instrumental in the way we’ve communicated,” notes Ray, “it’s transformed the communication in our preschool setting.”
And for the parents, it’s delivered peace of mind. From receiving texts that their baby has a low-grade fever, to the option to text Ray directly and rearrange their payment schedule based on their next paycheck—texting has transformed the Alpha School’s programming into a client centric model.
For Ray, making sure parents feel connected with the school has always been a priority. “As a director I often don’t get to see parents at pick up and drop off, and so the accessibility texting gives me is invaluable. Not only am I able to talk to them [parents] they feel like I am accessible to them at all times.”
After transitioning his SMS efforts from a competing platform, there came the opportunity to reinvent how far Alpha stretches their communication. That began with Ray using the autoresponder and data collection features to help him involve the entire family with his communications.
Now, when a new child joins the program and parents opt in to the service, they’re immediately prompted to reply with their child’s first and last name. After that, they’re cued to respond with an “M” if they are the child’s mother, “D” if they’re the dad, and “G” if they’re a grandparent.
This has helped Ray know exactly who he’s communicating with. Now, instead of having three contacts named “Jane Doe”, he can quickly find “Jane Doe M” or “Jane Doe D” and connect with the right parent the first time around.
The passion and commitment Ray has to the children, parents, and staff at Alpha is something to be admired. For a man so committed to his audience, texting has taken him closer to the ability to be everywhere, all the time. And since the SimpleTexting mobile app launched, Ray really takes his work with him everywhere.
“I really love the app,” says Ray, “With the app I always stay logged in. All I need is my fingerprint then boom, I can text parents back right away.”
The ability to stay connected 24/7 is important in his industry. Especially given the range and nature of the messages he sends.
Day to day he connects with parents providing check ups on their kids when requested. At times, he needs to send out emergency messages due to lockdowns happening in the area.
In an emergency situation one of the most dangerous things to have happen is for phone lines to clog up. With hundreds of parents wanting safety information at once, texting provides peace of mind in real time.
Ray also uses texts to send along helpful links to educational content for parents, sign up for events, and to ask for classroom item donations.
“Before we used to post things up or put it in newsletters…when we would ask for a piece of fruit because we were making something, we’d get a handful or so. But NOW, I send out a text message asking for fruit and we get tons! We end up having to share the fruit with other people because we get so much!”
Alpha’s texting program has become a selling point for parents shopping around for different preschools. With texting such a strong element to their infrastructure, it’s integral that they have a texting company who work just as hard as them.
SimpleTexting stood out to Ray because of our fair pricing and menu of features. A need for MMS, link shortening, and segmentation was a must. Not to mention a need for reliable support.
“We are constantly using our text messaging system and anytime I have a question I go to the live chat and you guys always answer really really quickly!”
Ray and his staff at Alpha School have big plans for the future. From creating custom keywords for university student teachers, to sending out their weekly menu in a nutritional education initiative.
We’re thrilled to see that texting is a part of each and every one of these plans. Our hope is that schools around the country will follow the example Alpha is setting. Communications is key and nobody knows that better than Ray and his team!
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