Located in Central Texas, Clifton Middle School serves approximately 225 students from grades 6 to 8. In the spring of 2017, Clifton ISD Technology Coordinator Barbi Ernst was on the lookout for a new service to replace their previous text messaging platform. After she discovered Remind, she teamed up with Principal Andy Ball to pilot a School plan at their campus—and found new ways to support and protect the entire community.
Closing the digital divide with text messages
A tech-savvy approach to communication isn’t new for Clifton. Before Remind, educators shared information on the school website, Facebook, Twitter, and Celly, a platform that allowed them to send text messages to students and parents.
Text messaging was an essential part of Clifton's communications strategy: not everyone in their community had access to the Internet at home, but almost everyone owned a cell phone. Texting was a promising way to address the digital divide. But when Celly began phasing out text messaging support in the summer of 2016, Barbi needed a new solution.
Piloting the Remind School plan
Remind came enthusiastically recommended by several teachers at Clifton, and the Remind School plan immediately caught Barbi's attention. With the text messaging capabilities they were looking for as well as schoolwide support, the recently introduced School plan looked like a good fit for the school's needs.
Once they joined the pilot program, Barbi turned her attention to implementation. Rolling out Remind to the entire school community only required exporting roster information to a spreadsheet to automatically generate user accounts and classes. Even longtime Remind users were surprised at how quickly classes were created and ready to use—no setup necessary.
"A Remind School plan removes the burden of getting parents to sign up and getting teachers to create their classes.”
– Barbi Ernst, Technology Coordinator
For Principal Andy Ball and other district administrators, the School plan pilot also provides access to valuable community engagement statistics. These let them see which families aren't reachable via cell phone—often, the ones that need the most support—and work with teachers to get them involved. “I do a school board report every month,” Andy says. “A School plan allows me to measure how many parents we’ve reached each month.”
A connected—and protected—community
Middle school is often a time of change, and a Remind School plan helps Clifton make the transition as smooth as possible. As students assume more responsibility for their learning, parents can still check in about upcoming tests, field trips, and after-school events. “I've had parents on our elementary and high school campuses ask how we can get their teachers using Remind,” Barbi says. “They want all of their communication this way.”
Advanced controls also allow Clifton to address any issues or concerns that might arise. When a student forgot to remove their old phone number from Remind, it continued receiving messages from teachers—and the person with the recycled number responded with inappropriate messages. As an administrator with a School plan, Barbi was able to retrieve a full log of the teacher's messages to resolve the incident with the district.
Reaching more families with rostering
After participating in the pilot for several months, word of its success spread quickly. Other schools in Clifton ISD started rolling out Remind on their campuses, and Andy decided to extend the experience by purchasing a School plan for the upcoming school year. Along with the features in the pilot, he plans to take advantage of SIS integration to hit the ground running. Nightly syncs via Clever make sure that contact information stays current across the board—helping the educators at Clifton stay connected with even the hardest-to-reach families in their community.