Learn the basics of sending text messages to your students’ parents and the benefits it provides.
Good communication between schools and parents is vital for student success. Parents want to know about their child’s education, progress, and changes that could affect learning. But even for something as important as their child’s education, keeping up with emails and letters from school can be difficult for busy parents.
This is where school SMS services can make a difference.
With instant school SMS alerts about attendance, grades, behavior, and upcoming events, parents can stay up to date with just a quick glance at their phone. Plus, text messages have a high open rate, so you can be confident that your updates won’t go unnoticed.
In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of using school text messages for both parents and staff, provide tips on how to choose the right SMS platform, and even suggest types of messages that schools can send. Let’s dive in and discover how SMS alerts can make communication in education a breeze.
One of the top advantages of school SMS services is the instant notifications parents receive about their child’s attendance, grades, and behavior. Real-time information makes it easier for parents to keep up with their child’s academic performance and help them promptly address any problems.
SMS services for schools can also remind parents about upcoming events and activities, such as parent-teacher conferences, extracurricular activities, and field trips. These alerts can help parents plan their schedules accordingly and ensure they don’t miss any important school events.
Another benefit of using SMS services in an educational setting is the higher open rate of text messages compared to other forms of communication. Text messages have a 98% open rate, which is significantly higher than emails (which hovers just above 35%) and phone calls. A higher open rate means parents are more likely to read the messages sent to them through the school SMS service and stay well-informed about their child’s education.
You can send various messages to parents to keep them informed about their child’s education and school activities. Here are some of the most common messages schools send to parents.
Send school reopening messages at the beginning of the academic year or after a summer break. This will let parents know of the school’s reopening date, any changes in school start or end times, and any other important information about the reopening.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, we are excited to announce that our school will be reopening on [date]. Please read the attached document carefully to learn about the school’s reopening guidelines and protocols.”
Sometimes classes and activities must be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances such as inclement weather or staff shortages. Send a school cancelation message promptly through an SMS platform to ensure that parents and students can plan accordingly.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, due to [reason], school will be canceled for [date(s)]. Please make arrangements for your child’s care on those days.”
If a student is absent from school, your staff can send an SMS message to the parent or guardian to inform them of the absence.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, your child was marked absent today. Please call the school if you believe this is an error.”
Use SMS text messages to remind parents of upcoming fees or dues, which can help to ensure timely payments and reduce the administrative workload on your faculty.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, this is a friendly reminder that the [fee] is due on [date]. Please ensure that the payment is made on time to avoid late fees.”
Communicate time-sensitive information, like changes in class schedules or project deadlines, quickly through SMS. You can also send reminders for upcoming events, such as parent-teacher meetings, school plays, and sporting events to increase attendance.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, this is a reminder that the parent-teacher conference is scheduled for [date and time]. Please ensure that you have confirmed your attendance with your child’s teacher.”
Use SMS messages to send emergency alerts in the event of inclement weather or other emergencies. This can help parents and students take necessary precautions for their safety.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, due to severe weather conditions, school will be closed today. Please ensure that your child stays safe and warm at home.”
Automated SMS messages can inform parents when grades are posted online. These alerts help parents track their child’s academic progress and allow them to follow-up on any concerns they may have.
Sample Message: “Dear parents, your child’s grades for [semester or term] have been posted. Please log in to [platform or website] to view the grades.”
Before sending SMS messages to parents, there are several elements to keep in mind so parents will see and respond positively to your texts. Here are five tips for schools when sending SMS alerts to parents.
Appropriately timing your SMS messages is critical. Schools should aim to send messages to parents during non-intrusive hours. Generally, the best days and times are weekdays between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Avoid sending SMS alerts early in the morning, during the weekend, or on holidays.
Be mindful of laws and regulations regarding SMS messaging, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Be sure to obtain parental consent before sending any text messages and to provide a clear way for them to opt out of your messages.
SMS text messages come with a character limit, so you’ll need to keep your texts to parents brief and clear. Always use simple and concise language and avoid jargon or technical terms they may be unfamiliar with. Make sure that your messaging is easy to read and understand.
When possible, personalize your messages to parents to help to build a more open relationship between parents and faculty. Use custom fields to include the parent and child’s name in the SMS alert to make it more personal in a scaleable way.
Create a schedule for updating parents and stick to it. Sending weekly or bi-weekly updates helps parents know when to expect messages and creates a routine for your staff.
School SMS services provide a fast and effective way for school staff to engage with parents and students. Whether you’re sending a quick reminder about an upcoming fundraiser or feedback on a student’s performance, SMS facilitates instant communication that helps teachers keep parents and kids engaged.
School SMS messaging can also assist faculty in quickly distributing important information. It helps avoid the need for mass emails and paper-based communication, which often go unnoticed.
School SMS services can also help staff automate tasks and reduce their workload. For example, teachers and faculty can avoid manually sending out attendance notifications or grade reports by setting up an automated SMS message to send regularly. They’ll appreciate having time added back into their day for other important tasks.
Choosing the right SMS platform for an entire school campus can be challenging. When selecting an SMS platform, the easiest place to start is writing down the features you need.
For example, you may need a platform that allows you to communicate with parents and students in different languages or gives you the ability to schedule messages in advance.
Reliability is another crucial component to consider when shopping for an SMS platform. Look for a service with a good reputation for delivering messages promptly and reliably. See if the SMS platform you’re considering has a high uptime rate and a track record of successful message delivery. Failing to send an important message or update could spell disaster in the future.
Find out whether the SMS service you’re considering helps its customers stay compliant with federal and industry regulations. For example, you have to have a express written consent to text someone, so look for SMS platforms with built-in methods of collecting your contacts’ permission.
Another consideration is the pricing and contract terms. Look for a platform that offers transparent pricing and contract terms that meet your school’s budget and requirements. Consider any additional fees, such as a message or setup fee, and make sure they are reasonable.
Finally, choosing an SMS platform that is easy to use can save time and reduce frustration for teachers and other faculty. Look for a service that has a user-friendly interface and provides adequate support and training for users.
Using a school SMS service can provide enormous benefits for parents, students, and staff. These benefits include improved communication, efficient dissemination of important information, and reduced workload by automating tasks.
If you need a starting point in your search, we offer an SMS platform with a user-friendly interface, reliable delivery of messages, compliance with data protection laws, and transparent pricing and contract terms.
Try us free or book a demo to learn more today!
Dani Henion is the content team lead at SimpleTexting and is continuously looking for ways to make text messaging strategies and tips more accessible to SMBs. When she's not writing or planning new SMS content, you'll find her decorating elaborate sugar cookies or thrifting in Atlanta.More Posts from Dani Henion
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