This blog post is part of our “Focus On: Communications” series, based on the stories we collected while assembling our 2016–2017 Impact Report.

Proactive, encouraging words from a teacher make students feel valued and elevate parents to the role of partners, and the strength of these relationships can be critical to resolving any issues that arise throughout the school year. With long rosters and limited hours, though, it’s tough to stay in regular contact with students and their families.

“So many students, so little time,” sums up Bronx high school teacher Ms. B. “I have only one day each week to do parent outreach; I can make make some phone calls, but not nearly enough to reach my 150 students’ parents.”

Educator perspectives on how Kinvolved helps

Ms. F., an afterschool program coordinator in Harlem, shares that she only offered positive feedback if she happened to see a parent during dismissal: “I rarely used email, and never used text messaging. KiNVO makes it easy and casual to send positive messages.”

For Bronx teacher Ms. S, having KiNVO technology at her fingertips helps positive communication flow naturally: “Sometimes I’ll be at home in my apartment and think, let me send these three kids’ parents messages to let them know their kids are doing a great job.”

Harlem Community Schools Director Ms. A appreciates that now teachers connect with each other about student performance from class to class: “I can send a message to my colleague about a student we share, something like, ‘Aaron had a really good day in math. He completed all his questions. Keep it up.’”

Teachers also use KiNVO’s direct-to-student messaging to send quick, uplifting texts that show they care, and many teacher embrace the mass messaging feature to reach many students at the touch of a button. “I’ll text my students in the morning with something like, ‘It’s a beautiful day to come to school,’ or a motivational message,” says Ms. N in the Bronx. “My students feel more connected than before; they know they can text me anytime and I will respond as soon as I see it. When they have that sense of belonging, I think it motivates them to come to school.”

Putting it into practice

Here’s are a few suggestions for how any teacher can communicate with positivity and efficiency:

  • Set a positive tone for the day by sending a positive or motivational message to students who need extra support.
    • KiNVO pro tip: Choose the “Recurring” option to automate messages and reminders.
  • Develop a set of differentiated mass messages, separate students and/or parents into groups, then alternate which groups receive which message each week. This adds a sense of personalization to your communications.
    • KiNVO pro tip: Set up a customized template with student names—like “{{Student}} did an awesome job in Spanish today!”—to easily show you care without an extra lift.
  • Choose one student per class, per week and send to him or her a unique, non-mass message with a positive tone (e.g. highlighting an insightful comment made during discussion or wishing good luck on an extracurricular activity).
    • KiNVO pro tip: To keep track, simply move down your roster in alphabetical order and mark in “notes” after you sent the individualized message.

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