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The Power of Text Messaging in the Classroom

 

Gain a better understanding of how parental text messaging can improve student performance and reduce absenteeism.

Even in the earliest years of schooling, student attendance is predictive of subsequent educational outcomes. Nationally, more than one-third of four-year-olds are chronically absent in preschool, and these students are six times more likely to be chronically absent in kindergarten. On average, children who are chronically absent in the early years exhibit low levels of academic achievement and are more likely to drop out of high school. Encouragingly, interventions to increase parents’ awareness of absenteeism can be effective in increasing student attendance (e.g., Epstein & Sheldon, 2002; Rogers & Feller, 2016).

This topic describes a new intervention called 'Connect-Text' to increase daily school attendance among pre-K and early elementary school students through improved school-family text message communication. We utilized a two-way text-messaging system that serves several purposes. First, the messaging system provides families with important school-related information. Second, the system provides families with feedback on their child’s attendance. Critically, the messaging system also served as an additional mode of communication between families and schools.

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The Power of Text Messaging in the Classroom

Faculty

Ken Smythe-Leistico, MSW, LSW

Ken Smythe-Leistico, MSW, LSW

Seton Hill University

  • Faculty and Field Coordinator, Seton Hill University; Doctoral Candidate, University of Pittsburgh
  • Creator of “Ready Freddy” program, a National Head Start listed “Promising Practice” for Kindergarten Transition and Parent Engagement, replicated in more than 30 states
  • Recognized by the Harvard Family Research Project as an “Emerging Leader”
  • Named by Pittsburgh Magazine one of their 40 under 40
  • President and CEO of RISE Educational Consulting, Inc., leading over 100 nationally invited workshops, key note addresses, and professional development sessions. Advisor to numerous national organizations, school districts, and nonprofits on: Kindergarten Transition and Parent Engagement; School Attendance: Evidence informed strategies to reduce absenteeism; Effective Communication Strategies for Nonprofit and Schools
  • Author or co-author to a journal article, curricula, children’s book, and training materials and assessment measures for kindergarten transition. Commissioned by Harvard Press to write a chapter on attendance texting in process
  • Can be contacted at 412-860-8425, [email protected], on Twitter® @rise2educate or on Facebook® https://www.facebook.com/RiseEdConsulting
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The Power of Text Messaging in the Classroom

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