A Saturday School in Canada (name withheld) had to remain shut on 5 October 2019, due to the talks held by education union CUPE with the trustees’ association. The decision to close the school was taken the day before, and students and parents had to be alerted with a quick correspondence that guaranteed the message would be read.

The school used CallHub’s mass texting software to send a broadcast message to 960 contacts on 4 Oct. 

Their message read: 

school-sms-template-holiday-broadcast

Such messages can be turned into school SMS templates and be used to alert contacts, engage in meaningful conversation with them and initiate internal communications. Let’s look at how a school can text students, parents and staff members.

Different ways schools can use texting:

school-sms-template-statistics-chart
Data Source: Vermont.gov

Mass texts for school-to-home communication

84-86% of students who use text messaging services from their schools agree that SMS alerts, nudges, and broadcasts sent by the school help them stay up-to-date with tasks and assignments.

School-to-home mass texts can help you

  • Send out a message to a large group in a very short time.
  • Stay assured that your messages are read (texts have a 98% open rate).
  • Increase submission and attendance rate.

Mass Text Messaging Service for Personalized Outreach Campaigns from Schools

Two-way school SMS service

A two-way texting service can mitigate conversations like attendance confirmation, surveys, or complaint registration. Here are three reasons:

  • Texts are quick and have high open and response rates (98% and 45%, respectively).
  • They don’t require an internet connection or a smartphone– and hence have better reach.
  • 58% of teens say they prefer texting as their main form of communication. 

Adopting a text message service to text a parent or send school texts can thus lead to better response rates and engagement levels with the administration. 

Engage parents and students in meaningful one to one conversations over text.

Internal messaging

When communicating with staff members, quick and convenient correspondence is absolutely essential. This is where text messages help. Two statistics show how:

  • 82% of consumers say they keep text message notifications on at all times. 
  • The average response time is 90 seconds.

For school internal messaging, that means you can send out a text message at the last minute and still get your message across and if necessary, timely responses. 

For instance, say a teacher had to take sick leave, and you now require a substitute teacher. Would you rather

  1. Call every teacher on the payroll and ask if they can fill in the position,
  2. Send out an email (which gets a 20% open rate), or
  3. Send out a text blast, asking those who can fill in to respond with a simple “YES.”

You are most likely to go for option C and text your teaching staff– precisely for it’s high open and response rate.

There are a myriad of use-cases under each of these three categories for schools. Let’s look at them with text message text message templates for each:

Mass texts for school-to-home communication

A school’s noticeboard serves as a broadcast to all those who read the pamphlets and posters on it. Think of mass texts or broadcast messages as an online noticeboard, except they:

  1. Reach everyone who has a mobile phone and has opted in (no need to stop at a board).
  2. Are easier to personalize (use a text messaging tool to segment lists and auto-add personalization tags to your scripts)
  3. Can get responses from your audience faster and in a more convenient manner. 

Here’s how to use mass text messaging for schools.

Promotional messages

Use Cases:

  • Event promotion
  • Admissions
  • New classes or courses
  • Holidays
  • Results

School SMS templates for promotional mass texts:

– Event promotion
Hi {first_name}, this is Rex from Liberty High. Our charity fair is scheduled for 16 & 17 May, 4 pm onwards. Tickets available on libertyhigh.edu/fair.

– Admissions 
Liberty High: Admission for e-classes (Grade 1-3) now open. Few seats left! Register your ward on libertyhigh.edu/admissions21.

– New classes/courses/opportunities 
Liberty High is starting classes for musical instruments this year 🎼. Reply GUITAR/VIOLIN/DRUMS to register. Hurry! Few seats left.

– Holidays
Dear parent, Liberty High will remain CLOSED on 15 & 16 Dec 2020 due to heavy snowfall. School to resume with regular timings on 17 Dec. Regards, Admin office.

– Results
Dear {ward_name}, results for Class 6-8 out now! Check out your grades on libertyhigh.edu/results. All the best 😄

Transactional conversations

Text blasts can be used to send transactional messages like:

  • Reports
  • Requests
  • Notices
  • Reminders

School SMS templates for transactional mass texts:

– Sending reports
Dear parent, your ward, {ward_name} has 3 detentions this month. Kindly meet the Principal this week to discuss. Reply YES to fix meeting date & time.

– Requesting documents/fee/information
{ward_name}, your seat for the field trip to the Natural Museum is confirmed. Request you to pay $40 for the same at the finance office before 2 Aug. Thanks.

– Notices
Dear parent, please visit Liberty High admin office between 10 am-5 pm on 6 Sept to collect an e-learning kit for {ward_name} (Grade 4, morning batch). Reply NO to request another date.

– Reminders
{ward_name}, this is to remind you about your scheduled meeting with the Principal. Date: 24 Jan. Time: 11 am -12 noon.
Hello {ward_name}, please pay your outstanding balance of $15 to participate in the cultural contest before Thurs, 30 Nov. Thanks, admin office. 

Attendance messages

Use Cases:

  • To report monthly attendance

Text message template for students’ attendance:
Dear parent, {ward_name}’s attendance for Feb 2020 is 20 days with 0 day(s) leave. Regards, Liberty High.

Parent-teacher meetings

Use broadcast texts to send messages for:

  • Scheduled meetings
  • Unscheduled meetings
  • Parent-teacher orientations

School SMS template for messages about meetings:
– For scheduled meetings
Dear parent, the next parent-teacher meeting is scheduled for 16 July, {time}. We request you to bring along {ward_name}, to discuss their performance. Regards, Liberty High. 

– For unscheduled meetings
Dear Parent, request you to meet Ms. Rose (Grade 4 teacher) and the Principal tomorrow, 26 Nov {time}, to discuss academic issues of {ward_name}. Reply YES to confirm.

– For parent-teacher orientations
Dear Parent, as your ward enters a year of e-learning, we request you to join an online orientation on 3 Sept, 4-6 pm. Reply with ward name & grade to confirm.

Fees message

Use Cases:

  • School fee messages for parents
  • Transport fees for parents/students
  • Event registration/ticket fees

Text message template for students’ fees:

– SMS template for school fees
Dear parent, please pay an outstanding fee of $641 for November for {ward_name}. Please contact us on {phone_number} for more info. Thanks in advance.

– School SMS template for transport fees
Hi {ward_name}, you have an outstanding balance of $75 towards the transport fees. Please pay the amount in check or card before holidays begin (on 23 Dec). Regards, school admin.

– Message template for event registration
Hey {ward_name}, are you excited for the interschool charity football championship? Get your tickets for front row seats and help us collect $3000 for healthcare funds. Buy on bit.ly.i8hn

Emergency text alerts

Use Cases:

  • Emergency alerts due to weather, roadblocks, mishaps, etc.

SMS template:
ALERT: Today’s smoke haze has deteriorated air quality and visibility. Liberty High to REMAIN SHUT and commence tomorrow. Reply HELP if you require assistance.

Related Reading: Emergency Text Alerts: How to Send Urgent Updates in Times of Crisis

Best practices for school mass texting:

  1. Get parents and students to opt-in to SMS communications during the admission process.
  2. Shortcodes and keywords are easier to remember. Rent them for easy opt-in.
  3. Use text messaging tools that allow merge tags to personalize broadcasts.
  4. Use the ‘nudge’ feature on text marketing tools for contacts who don’t follow through.
Related Reading:
How Do Keywords Work?
How to Use the Tags Feature in Your Campaigns?
What is the Text ‘Nudge,’ and How to Use It?

Two-way school SMS service

When an adult school in Carmichael, California, got low student attendance, they decided to check in using the peer-to-peer texting tool on CallHub. They sent out the following text to 148 absentees and got 34 responses. 

school-sms-template-p2p-absentee-text

Similarly, you can use two-way texting with students and parents to indulge them in conversation and get quick responses that may otherwise take you considerable time and paperwork.

You can enable conversations in your school text messaging service this way:

Post-admission school texts

Message template:
Hi {first_name}, congratulations on confirming your admission for Grade 9! Kindly collect books from the admin office before 5 Sept (office time). If you need further assistance, please reply to this message (standard SMS charges apply).

P2P texts to encourage folks to join classes

SMS template:
Hi there {first_name}, we are starting an arts & hobbies class for elementary students this fall. We are looking for suggestions from active culture club members like you. Do reply here to let us know your thoughts.

Complaint registration

School SMS template to encourage complaint registration:
Dear parent, if your child was bullied at school and nothing was done, please contact Sara at [email protected] or text BULLIED at 545454. For further info, reply with query to this message.

Surveys

School SMS template for surveys:
Hi {first_name}, how did you find the switch to online classes? Was it easy? What more could we have done? Please help us understand. Reply ANSWER to take this survey and someone from the admin office will get in touch via text shortly.

To report absent days

Text alert template:
Liberty High: Dear parent, {ward_name} was absent on 7 Jan without prior notice. Please send an acknowledgment letter with the reason for leave by 10 Jan. Reply if you have questions.

To request documents

Text message template: 
Dear parent, {ward_name} was absent for 2 consecutive days citing illness. Please submit a doctor’s letter to the admin office, as per school policy. Thanks, Liberty High. Reply if you want to submit the letter online.

Related Reading: Send Text Surveys To Contacts – Here’s How

Best practices for two-way school sms service:

  1. Personalize conversations: Use a texting tool that integrates with your CRM to import and update contact data).
  2. Provide clear options for close-ended conversations.
  3. Encourage open-ended discussions by building a relationship with parents.
  4. Clarify the type and frequency of messages they can expect.

Internal messaging

While emails are an excellent formal communication method, some internal correspondence needs to be faster, more convenient, and less time-consuming. Text messages to the rescue! 

A text system employed for school-to-home communication can be used for internal communication as well. Here are some everyday use cases.

Text alerts and reminders

Template to text staffers:
Hi {first_name}, this is to remind you that school for Grade 2 ends at noon tomorrow. Parent-teacher meetings scheduled from 12.30 pm. Please organize your schedule accordingly.

Request for substitute teacher

SMS template:
Good morning, teachers! Mr. Adams is on leave today due to a family emergency. We need a substitute teacher to fill in (Grade 3: 12-1 pm, Grade 5: 3-4 pm). Reply YES to confirm availability.

Event RSVP and responsibilities

Text message template example: 
Hello {first_name}, the talent competition for Queens Elementary school is next month, 15 Feb. You are yet to confirm your availability as a volunteer, chauffeur, organizer, or otherwise. Reply to this text to confirm.

Surveys

Template for internal surveys:
Dear teachers, the newly introduced Value Education course will end this week (Friday, April 27). Take this survey to share your feedback about the same 😃  bit.ly.v7en8. Thanks in advance.

Best practices for school internal messaging:

  1. Get teachers to opt-in when they start their tenure or at the start of the year.
  2. Encourage them to use texts for communications with the administration.
  3. Make text messaging a practice by sending at least one SMS per week.
  4. Invest in a tool, like CallHub that allows mass texting (for greater outreach) and P2P texting for 1-on-1 conversations,

A school SMS template will help you fastrack broadcasts and personal messages with students, parents, and staff members. You can use these templates repeatedly for related correspondence from the school. 

The next step is to understand how to set up a text system for your school efficiently. Read: School Text Messages To Parents – What You Need To Know. 

Feature Image Source: Matthew Fournier/Unsplash.

Tags: ,