Communicating student attendance policies via text message is an important step in reducing chronic absence.
Attending school is one of the most important aspects of a young person’s life, but if getting students to class was simple we wouldn’t have the growing national problem of chronic absence. The routine of daily in-person class all but disappeared in 2019 for many districts – making the act of getting students to school an even more complex scenario.
Students must manage hybrid schedules, learning portals, and virtual instruction, provided they have the space, discipline, and resources to do so. This leaves students, school districts, and parents in a precarious balance. Keeping parents and guardians engaged and informed is what makes that balance cohesive.
Emails go “unread,” and calls can be missed, but one way of reaching out to families ensures that parents will be informed – text messaging. Text messages are a nearly universal way of communicating now. Doctors send appointment reminders, stores send order information, shippers update us where our packages are. So why aren’t schools leveraging the technology to make a huge difference in their attendance numbers?
Last year, IES published Can Texting Parents Improve Attendance in Elementary School? (NCEE 2020-006, U.S. D.O.E.) to determine if using text messages made a difference in reducing chronic absence. It absolutely made a difference.
Most parents aren’t “keeping score” of attendance, so reminders of their student’s missed days help them address any problems and keeps the importance of attendance top-of-mind. Texting can open the door to wider communication when two-way texting is enabled. Using an automated chatbot informed by AI requires less input from school officials and allows parents to get answers to frequently asked questions. By reaching students and families using methods that ensure awareness leads to engagement, and ensures that students are attending school as often as possible.
Having attendance officers texting students and families is labor intensive. If your district does go the one-to-one texting route you will see attendance benefits but it will be at a cost – time and resources will need to be allocated every single day. This is where AllHere comes in. AllHere chatbot provides school districts with the ability to text students and families. It not only automates the outreach process, it can help students and families engage even further by soliciting responses and processing what is being communicated using Artificial Intelligence (“AI”).
Text messaging using an automated chatbot informed by AI requires less input from school officials and allows parents to get answers to frequently asked questions. Districts can set up scripts for attendance, school events, or missed days. They can also use the system to understand what is keeping students from attending school.
As an example, the chatbot texts a guardian that their student missed school. Once that text message is read, a follow-up message can be sent, “Is there anything we can do to help your student make it to school tomorrow?” The parent can respond that they do not have a computer at home. In this scenario, AllHere chatbot understands that there is a tech resource issue and can begin texting information about obtaining a school-issued laptop.
The act of text messaging attendance information and communicating what attendance requirements look like benefits all students. Texting can open the door to wider communication when two-way texting is enabled. We have the opportunity to ensure that attendance is never not addressed because of a missed call or unread email. The IES has proven that texting works. AllHere Chatbot can help your district simplify the process.