October 3, 2023

Key points:

  • School district communications can be complicated by multiple languages and how families prefer to receive messages
  • Flexible communications can help districts resolve a number of issues, including parent outreach and delinquent accounts
  • See related article: Language barriers still impede home-school communication

Fairfield City Schools is a suburban district with approximately 10,000 students. About 40 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch, and we have large populations of Spanish- and Nepali-speaking students.

With so many students coming from a range of backgrounds, school district communications can be challenging for us. To complicate matters further, the communication system that we previously used made it appear as if our messages had been sent when they had not. It caused an onslaught of complaints from families that took me and other staff away from doing our jobs. Here’s how we make sure that we are able to deliver the correct messages to the people who need to hear them while regaining time to focus on other tasks.

Deploying a reliable school district communications tool

Like any district, we often need to communicate with our families about upcoming events, days schools might be closed, or details about crises, among other things. With such a large and diverse population of families comes varied needs and preferences for how they’d like to be reached, and even in what language they would prefer to be addressed. Through a few school district communications surveys, we found that most families texted and preferred to be reached that way instead of by phone calls or emails, so that was a top priority in finding a new communication platform.

Our data and technology coordinator is always on the lookout for tools that can help us carry out district business, and he suggested looking at Remind, which sends text messages without revealing the number of the sender or receiver. Some of our coaches were already using the free version, and they were very pleased with it, so we thought we’d try it.

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