7 obstacles & text messaging solutions for K-12 school communications
Updated September 2020
Importance of engaging families in children’s education
Family engagement not only increases student achievement and positive personal development, but good communication strategies are also critical to communications planning. Children whose families are involved and invested in their education on average enjoy far better emotional, social, psychological, and academic outcomes. Parent engagement and student success go hand in hand. Children with parents or guardians involved in their education are more likely to “earn higher grades or test scores, graduate from high school and attend post-secondary education, develop self-confidence and motivation in the classroom, and have better social skills and classroom behavior” (Waterford.org). These students are also less likely to develop behavioral issues and low self-esteem.
Despite the importance of close communication, 40% of parents say their school or district doesn’t effectively communicate with them. Forty percent of parents also express a desire for text-based communication. K-12 schools have their answer to better family engagement: text messaging.
Obstacles to (and text messaging solutions for) engaging K-12 families
Studies show a variety of barriers to parent involvement that text messages can help to dismantle.
Seven considerations for K-12 communications:
- Lack of teachers’ time can be a barrier to starting much-needed conversations with students’ families. When teachers turn to text messaging with Mogli on Salesforce, they don’t have to craft long emails; they can send a quick text message and engage their families with a high success rate.
- Teachers and staff in charge of school communications might lack understanding of parents’ communication styles. Perhaps the parents are busy, so they’d prefer the school or teacher to text them, or maybe you need to reach them in their native language, which Mogli can do. Mogli also makes it easy to report on your text campaigns directly within Salesforce, so you can see which types of communications work best for your parents. If your school uses Pardot, you can use the engagement studio to examine performance across multiple channels, and you can use Mogli automation to streamline those communication efforts with triggers, flow, and process builder.Are you a Pardot user? Engaging K-12 school families with text messaging in Pardot >>
- Parents might have limited resources like time and transportation. Empower parents at home by updating them on their child’s curriculum, progress, and provide conversation starters for parents or simple learning activities that parents can use with their kids at home.
- Parents feel that teachers waited too long before telling them about a problem and that they only heard from teachers when there was bad news. Send bulk messages to entire classes or grades to keep parents in the loop about all the positive things children are doing collectively at school. Automate text messages to parents celebrating improved or exceptional scores. Teachers can initiate one-on-one conversations with parents to offer good news or to quickly schedule a difficult discussion about the child, as well!
- Family mobility affects schools’ ability to communicate with students and their parents or guardians. If families rent rather than own properties, they are more likely to move. While the mailing address or work email might be harder to keep up-to-date, cell phone numbers in the United States rarely change. Text them to stay in touch!
- Parents have a lack of vested interest because they don’t feel they can make a difference. Texts are a great way to offer parenting and pedagogical education in small, non-threatening, and consistent doses.
- Parents feel unable to connect and get involved with their older children’s social and academic lives. Kids often seek more autonomy in middle school and high school and travel farther distances to school as they grow older. Support parents in parenting their tweens and teens, helping them to find common ground, and providing them with tools to stay involved at home in ways that keeps their kids receptive.
K-12 Kit: How schools use Mogli in Salesforce
Mogli built its SMS and WhatsApp capabilities for the nonprofit and education sectors. Mogli supports all Standard and Custom Salesforce Objects Salesforce, so you can leverage text messaging in conjunction with the K-12 Kit data architecture, automating SMS or WhatsApp messages based on grades, attendance, or contact groups like student, parent, or guardian. Mogli serves and is responsive to the needs of some of the top ten largest school districts in the country. K-12 schools and districts use Mogli features like one-on-one conversations, bulk messaging, and automated surveys to better communicate with parents and other stakeholders.
Teton Science Academy uses Mogli to communicate and manage school closures. Excel Academy uses text messaging to engage families of students in need. Houston Independent School District, the seventh largest school district in the USA, sends over a million texts per year with Mogli, primarily utilizing one-on-one conversations for college enablement and scholarship programs.
Seven common ways K-12 schools on Salesforce use Mogli text messaging for communications
- Send and receive one-on-one text messages to and from any Custom or Standard Salesforce Object for personal and direct communications.
- Schedule & send two-way bulk messages with SMS or WhatsApp templates and campaigns for reaching a large population of staff, students, or parents efficiently and at the right time.
- Create and send automated surveys to obtain parent and student feedback for real-time decision making.
- Send MMS (multi-media messages) like videos or PDFs to engage or provide positive instruction in easily-absorbable ways. Visuals from videos and infographics transcend language barriers.
• How to add value to professional conversations with MMS in Salesforce >>
- Send TTS (text-to-speech) messages so that families with almost any native language can listen to, instead of read, your message. Mogli can also send text messages based on the recipient's preferred language.
- Parents and students can text keywords into Salesforce to sign up for events, and receive information on school programs, from academics to sports tryouts, to daily hot lunch menus--and with MogliPay, students and parents can text-to-pay for lunches, fees, and incidentals!
- Mogli neatly stores all messages in Salesforce for easy reporting, automations, or institutional knowledge.
Some Mogli clients, interestingly enough, bridge the nonprofit and education worlds. Richmond Promise is a nonprofit out of the San Francisco Bay Area that provides scholarships, FAFSA support, college readiness resources, college counseling, and post-graduation mentorship. They are deeply involved and vested in students’ academic journeys and success. Family Connections of South Carolina is another nonprofit program dedicated to promoting an early education through family and reading. Both organizations use Mogli to educate and engage families of young children to ensure the best outcomes for the emerging generation.
Just as teachers need to “meet students where they are,” school administrators and teachers using Salesforce can also meet parents where they are, in turn, helping both the students and the school thrive.