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CMSD reaching more families with digital communication

CMSD NEWS BUREAU
5/22/2015

Cleveland Metropolitan School District principals are reaching their families more often and in more ways than ever, including through texts and emails in an increasingly mobile world.
 
This Saturday, that will include a broad initiative by the District to send a text to all families with cell phones on file at their children's schools.
 
The opt-in text will ask those users to "Text YES to 68453" when they receive the notice. If they respond "Yes" to the request from a phone on file with the District, they will be able to receive text messages regarding matters such as snow days, other emergencies or upcoming events, for example.
  
Some users have already opted in to the program on their own in advance of Saturday's direct appeal. 

This is the content of the reminder message being sent Saturday to all cell phone numbers on file. The message will read:

“Cleveland Metropolitan School District text messages.
Reply Y for aprx 3 msgs/mo. Txt HELP 4info.
Msg&data rates may apply. See schoolmessenger.com/tm.”


The District will send reminders throughout the school year to encourage recipients to opt in. Information about text messaging is available on the District’s website at clevelandmetroschools.org/TextYES 

Communicating more effectively with families is a big part of The Cleveland Plan, the state-approved blueprint for education reform in the city.
 
"Partnering with our parents and caregivers is very, very important," said Denise Urban, principal at Marion C. Seltzer K-8 School on West 98th Street. "For our scholars to be successful not only academically, but socially and emotionally, we need for that partnership to be regular and flexible. We need to meet them where they are."
 
"We need to get ahold of them by multiple means," she said. "We need to reach them by every way possible and more and more by digital means."
 
Those digital communications have already been getting a boost as the District, through its vendor SchoolMessenger, has been asking CMSD families and staff to “Text YES to 68453” on their cell phones to ensure they can receive important texts from their schools or from the District.  Now, on Saturday, the District will directly reach out to the cell phone users to ask them to text Yes in response to a message sent directly to their phones.

To opt in, they should simply text “Yes” to 68453 from each mobile device at which they wish to receive text messages. Families should make sure the numbers of their preferred cell phone or cell phones are on file with the emergency contact information at their children's schools.
 
If they no longer wish to receive messages, they should text “STOP” to 68453.
 
Most of the District’s nearly 100 principals have been trained and are familiar with reaching their families through automated phone calls placed through SchoolMessenger, but they are now equipped to send group texts and emails to their families and staff. The District, through Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon’s office or the Communications Department, also sends voice and email messages to families, staff and stakeholders. 

Now, those same families, employees and community partners may begin receiving text messages – but only if they first opt in, or agree to allow the District to send the occasional, short messages to cell phone numbers they now have on file with the District. Standard text messaging rates may apply, based on the individual's cellular plan.



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