Since adding the ability to text parents from SchoolStatus last year, educators have sent over one million text messages to parents; an incredible step towards bringing parents and educators together. “There’s about 27 years of research going into the fact that when parents and teachers talk, children do better. Period,” said founder and CEO Russ Davis. “We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year looking for the 'great silver bullet'. We spend a lot of money on assessments, tutoring programs, and after school things. At the end of the day one of the most important things that you’re empowered to do today is to reach out to a parent and have a real conversation.”
Our millionth parent text message was sent by Kirsti Turner, a first year 7th grade science teacher at Tupelo Middle School in Tupelo, MS. SchoolStatus celebrated Kirsti’s monumental text as well as the efforts of all the teachers in Tupelo School District with a surprise event. According to Kirsti, "Its really important to call [parents] or to text, even just to send out a text to say “Hey your kid is doing great." The parents need to know and also it helps with self esteem."
Hitting the one million mark was a tremendous milestone internally at SchoolStatus, but identifying and celebrating the teacher who sent the text added to the excitement of the monumental occasion. "At the end of the day, we can create software- we’re passionate about that. We’re passionate about connecting parents and teachers; we’re passionate about getting you guys ingrained with the data and having great conversations with parents, but ultimately if it isn’t you guys, then it’s no one," Russ tells teachers.
In the beginning, SchoolStatus wasn’t specifically focused on communication with parents. Our focus was on making data truly usable (accessible in a timely manner, with analytical tools anyone can use) so that educators could make meaningful connections with students and smart, data-driven decisions throughout their K-12 journey.
Suffice it to say, we did that. We built tools for integrating all a district’s data in one place and analytics for everyone from teachers to superintendents. But it wasn’t long before we realized that we hadn’t brought every stakeholder to the table, so to speak. We were missing a connection with parents.
We decided we needed communication tools, but not just any communication tools. We wanted to provide a way to connect with parents that met our high levels of security, as well as our signature ease and powerful analysis. By adding the ability to call, text, and email with parents from the SchoolStatus login, we did just that. A parent text app that protected teacher privacy makes the process even easier. Russ puts it this way: “We had a very simple idea: if we put a little green button next to the parent contact and it looked like a phone icon, and you clicked it and they could hear ringing, that people would start talking. And they really, really did. And then later, last year we added text messaging as well.”
To find out more about parent communication with SchoolStatus, parent engagement tips, and strategies for communicating with parents, visit us at www.schoolstatus.com!