SMS texting is the most cost-effective and convenient technology to use in strengthening ties with parents, the author argues

textingA written note home can get lost, “eaten by the dog,” or sit on the kitchen counter to be used as a coaster for weeks on end. eMails get sent to spam, accidentally deleted, or aren’t read in a timely manner. And, honestly, how often do people pick up the phone anymore?

Students touch their cell phones 43 times a day and send about 60 texts, showing that mobile technology is the best way to reach them. And with 91 percent of adults owning cell phones, texting is actually the most efficient means of communication with parents, too—especially for schools.

Here are six ways that SMS texting can help improve your school’s communication with both parents and students.

Parents

1. Reminders: With one push of a button, you can send instant text reminders and details to parents about upcoming events, assemblies, and teacher conferences. Who’s bringing what snack? What time is the play? Keep parents engaged in school activities by making sure they have all the relevant information.

(Next page: More ways to improve communication via texting)

2. Urgent messages: Whether it’s a school closure owing to weather conditions, a student illness, or sports practice cancellation, SMS texting ensures that parents receive the information in a timely manner and are able to act accordingly. What better way than texting to inform arriving parents of the field change for the game?

3. Progress updates: Why wait for the next parent/teacher conference to update parents on their child’s academic progress? Use text messages to notify parents of exceptional behavior or flag issues before they become a problem.

Students

1. Access: Schools can use texting to provide students with updated links to find assignments, grades, and other course information throughout the semester.

2. Involvement: From pep rallies and football games to AP testing times and Spanish Club meetings, a mass text message is the most efficient way to make sure students and various groups have updated information to stay involved in campus activities.

3. Deadline reminders: Students are busy juggling multiple classes and extracurricular activities. Even though they own a day planner, it doesn’t mean they use it or remember to turn in their books on time. SMS texting is an easy way to ensure that students avoid consequences such as library fees and missed deadlines.

Whether you are looking to strengthen ties with parents, keep students informed, or communicate urgent information, SMS texting is the most cost-effective and convenient technology for schools to use.

Barbara Palmer is the chief revenue officer for CallFire, which provides voice and text connectivity to more than 100,000 businesses and schools.